UN Human Rights Council faces critical decision on accountability in Sudan and Russia

Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research, Advocacy, Policy, and Campaigns, Erika Guevara-Rosas, stressed the importance of upcoming votes at the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in addressing human rights issues in Sudan and Russia.

As the session nears its conclusion, member states will decide whether to establish a human rights monitoring mechanism in Sudan and extend human rights reporting in Russia.

Guevara-Rosas emphasized the significance of these decisions, highlighting that they test the Council’s ability to rise above political interests and effectively serve its purpose. The Council must not be constrained by geopolitics and must fulfill its commitments to protect human rights.

Notably, the Council had previously failed to table a resolution renewing the accountability mechanism for Ethiopia. Guevara-Rosas urged members not to falter in their commitment to safeguard human rights. She emphasized the necessity of establishing a monitoring mechanism to address violations by parties to the conflict in Sudan and extending the mandate of the special rapporteur on human rights in Russia.

“Having already  failed to table a resolution to renew the accountability mechanism on Ethiopia, the members of the Council cannot again fail in their commitments to protect human rights.  They must establish a monitoring mechanism on violations committed by parties to the conflict in Sudan and extend the mandate of the special rapporteur on human rights in Russia.

Guevara-Rosas drew attention to the ongoing conflict in Sudan, which has seen renewed violence resulting in a significant loss of life and displacement. Parties to the conflict have been implicated in war crimes, including sexual violence and the targeting of ethnic communities.

“Six months since renewed violence in the ongoing conflict in Sudan, thousands have been killed and injured and more than two million displaced. Parties to the conflict have also committed war crimes, including sexual violence and the targeting of communities based on their ethnic identity,” Guevara-Rosas added.

UNHRC member states were called upon to demonstrate their solidarity with civilians in Sudan and Russia, who have endured severe violations amid a culture of impunity. The resolutions under consideration are intended to hold perpetrators of war crimes and human rights violations accountable, ensuring no state remains exempt from independent scrutiny.

The 54th session of the UNHRC, running from September 11 to October 13, 2023, sets the stage for these critical decisions. Civil society organizations, including Amnesty International, have urged UNHRC member states to renew the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) and establish an investigative mechanism to address human rights violations in Sudan ahead of the sessions.

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