Death penalty retentionist
Population 42.3 million
Life expectancy 57.9 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 117/104 per 1,000
Adult literacy 60.9 per cent
Widespread human rights abuses by the government and armed groups continued. The conflict in Darfur was less intense than in previous years but nevertheless continued, with attacks on civilians and humanitarian convoys among violations of international humanitarian law committed by all sides to the conflict. Hundreds of civilians were killed. Violence against women, including rape, remained widespread, particularly during attacks on villages and near camps of internally displaced persons (IDPs). In Southern Sudan, armed clashes escalated as did ethnic conflicts, resulting in more than 2,500 deaths and the displacement of more than 350,000 people. In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against President Omar Al Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Following this, the government stepped up repression of human rights defenders, political opponents and ordinary civilians, and expelled and closed down international and national humanitarian organizations. More than 60 people were sentenced to death, 54 by special counterterrorism courts, and at least nine were executed. Torture and other ill-treatment were widely reported. The use of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments persisted; at least 12 women were flogged after police arrested them mainly for wearing trousers.
Tensions mounted between the National Congress Party (NCP), the ruling party, and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), the ruling party in Southern Sudan, particularly over legal reforms and the demarcation of Abyei's borders that were defined in July by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which sits in The Hague. The Court decided that the oil fields of Heglig and Bamboo belonged to the North, which was contested by the SPLM.
Disputes also continued between the NCP and the SPLM over aspects of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the South Sudan Referendum Bill, which was passed in December.
The national elections, which were supposed to be held by April, were delayed until April 2010. The voters' registration process, which lasted from November to December, was impeded by several factors, including lack of access to registration points.
In June, the UN Human Rights Council did not renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Sudan and decided to replace the Special Rapporteur with an Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan. Mohamed Chande Othman, a former judge from Tanzania, was appointed on 2 October.