Annual Report: Sudan 2011

Report
May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Sudan 2011

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Head of state and government: Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir
Death penalty: retentionist
Population: 43.2 million
Life expectancy: 58.9 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 117/104 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 69.3 per cent

In Darfur and south Sudan, hundreds of thousands of civilians continued to suffer the effects of armed conflict and restricted access to humanitarian aid. The conflict in Darfur escalated and included attacks on villages which resulted in thousands of newly displaced people. Sexual violence against women remained rife in and around camps for the internally displaced. Abductions and attacks on humanitarian convoys also increased. Human rights violations, mainly by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), continued to be committed with impunity. Perceived critics of the government were arrested, tortured or ill-treated and prosecuted for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. Death sentences were handed down, including against juveniles. Women, young girls and men were arrested and flogged in the north because of their "dress" or "behaviour" in public places.

Background

Presidential and parliamentary elections took place in April. President Al Bashir was re-elected amidst reports of fraud and vote-rigging, which prompted some of the main opposition parties to withdraw from the elections.

Preparations for the referendum on self-determination for south Sudan, scheduled to take place on 9 January 2011, were marked by disputes between the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). Contentious issues included voter registration and border demarcation, particularly in the area of Abyei, an oil rich region and one of three transitional areas (together with Blue Nile and South Kordofan).

In February, negotiations resumed between the government and a number of Darfuri armed groups in preparation for peace talks in Doha, Qatar, under the auspices of UN-AU joint mediation and the government of Qatar. A Framework Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in Darfur, similar to one signed in 2009, was signed in Doha on 23 February by the government and the armed opposition Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

On 1 October, the UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan.

In October, a UN Security Council delegation visited Sudan in connection with preparations for the referendum.

An International Donors and Investors Conference for east Sudan was held in Kuwait in December. East Sudan continued to suffer marginalization, arms proliferation and insecurity. In addition, hundreds of refugees arrived each month from neighbouring countries, namely Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.

International justice

On 8 February, the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided not to confirm the charges against Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, leader of the United Resistance Front, a Darfur-based armed group. Bahar Idriss Abu Garda had been summoned in relation to three war crimes in an attack on Haskanita in 2007 against peacekeepers from the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS). He appeared voluntarily before the ICC on 18 May 2009. The pre-trial chamber rejected the ICC Prosecutor's appeal on 23 April 2010 and again refused to confirm the charges.

On 17 June, Abdallah Banda Abbaker Nourein, Commander in Chief of the JEM Collective Leadership, and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus, former Chief of Staff of the Sudan Liberation Army-Unity who then joined the JEM, appeared before the ICC. The hearing to confirm the charges against them took place on 8 December.

On 12 July, the ICC issued an additional arrest warrant against President Al Bashir for genocide. The pre-trial chamber found there were reasonable grounds to believe that President Al Bashir was responsible for three counts of genocide against the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa ethnic communities.