New York City
Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Ambassador Wronecka, for your briefing today on the important work undertaken by the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee and for your commitment to the work of the committee. As always, you have our continued support.
The October 24 briefing by the SRSG for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, to the Sudan Sanctions Committee underscored the ongoing problem of sexual violence by state and non-state actors in Sudan and the continuing need for international attention on this issue.
The SRSG’s reporting that perpetrators of sexual violence include members of the Sudanese armed forces and police, as well as armed non-government militias, is alarming. It is imperative that the Government of Sudan investigate and hold those responsible for such crimes accountable.
The Sudan sanctions regime allows for the designation of individuals who commit violations of international humanitarian or human rights law or other atrocities. As SRSG Patten recommended, the Panel of Experts should be provided more resources to investigate crimes of sexual violence and tasked to do so in the areas of Jebel Marra, including Nertiti, where several incidents were recently reported.
While significant work remains to address this ongoing problem, we appreciate the Government of Sudan’s engagement with the SRSG for Sexual Violence in Conflict and we urge the government to continue cooperating with her in the future.
Enhancing human rights protections and practices is one of the six key areas of mutual concern prioritized in the United States-Sudan Phase II framework for bilateral engagement agreed to last year. We welcome Sudan’s commitment to making progress on this issue, among others.
In this regard, we note our deep concerns about the Government of Sudan’s response to the recent protests in Sudan, which have resulted in a significant number of deaths and serious injuries, as well as the arbitrary detention without charge or trial of a number of political activists and protestors.
We urge the government to fully respect the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly, to release all journalists, political opposition leaders, activists, and any other protestors arbitrarily detained.
We also urge the government to ensure that a fully independent and transparent investigation into the deaths of protestors takes place as soon as possible followed by accountability for any excessive use of force.
With regard to the Panel of Experts’ reporting, we note with concern the continued clashes between the Sudanese Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) and Government of Sudan forces.
We are most concerned with the SAF response to SLA/Abdul Wahid hit-and-run attacks with large-scale military operations aimed at driving the group out of the area. This fighting has resulted in a significant number of casualties on both sides, as well as new displacement, humanitarian crisis, and human rights abuses. And across Darfur, women and girls continued to be subjected to conflict-related sexual violence.
The resulting human rights violations and abuses, indiscriminate shootings, looting, and destruction of property are unacceptable and we call upon all parties to cease hostilities.
While the decreasing financial and logistical support from South Sudan to Darfuri rebels is encouraging, we are concerned by reports of growing support from Libyan groups to Darfuri armed groups.
Furthermore, reported acts in defiance of the arms embargo by all armed groups and the Government of Sudan underscore the need for greater attention to the implementation of the sanction regime’s arms embargo.
The United States is concerned by Panel reporting that the Government of Sudan is interfering with the independence of the Panel by mandating government participation in Panel meetings with non-government interlocutors.
We fully support the independence of the Panel and call upon the Government of Sudan to cooperate in this respect.
The United States encourages all Member States to cooperate with the Sudan Panel of Experts and fully implement our obligations pursuant to the arms embargo, asset freeze, and travel ban measures. We also call upon Libyan warring factions to cease their cooperation with Darfuri armed groups.
We will continue to encourage the Government of Sudan, the Justice and Equality Movement, and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minawi to build upon their recent agreement on a negotiations framework and make progress towards a cessation of hostilities and a political agreement.
We also call on the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid al Nur to engage with the Joint Chief Mediator and to engage within a peace process.
Thank you, Mr. President.