The Sudanese government approved the ratification Tuesday of key international treaties which ban torture and enforced disappearance.
The Sudanese Minister of Justice, Dr Nasredeen Abdulbari, announced on Twitter that the Sovereignty Council of Sudan had approved draft laws to join the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) and the 2006 Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED).
By ratifying these instruments, Sudan makes a commitment to prevent torture and enforced disappearances, and to prosecute and provide a remedy to those who are subject to such injustices. Abdulbari stated that this move will be “[a] great step towards building a new Sudan, a Sudan of dignity, freedom, justice and peace.”
For years, the government under the leadership of President Omar al-Bashir used torture and enforced disappearances to silence terrorist groups and government critics. This led a number of activist groups to seek that the government ratify the international instruments to ensure that people are treated in a humane and dignified manner even when being questioned by authorities. Among these groups were REDRESS and Africa Center for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), which brought cases before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. One of these cases involves Safia Ishaq, who was raped by members of the National Intelligence and Security Service after participating in a demonstration. The activists also wrote a report that sought the ratification of the instruments, entitled A Way forward? Anti-Torture Reforms in Sudan in the Post-Bashir Era.
Redress and ACJPS have urged the government to come up with legislative, institutional and policy frameworks in order to effectively implement the treaties’ provisions. It is not yet known whether Sudan will ratify the instruments without reservations.