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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the arrest of human rights defenders in Sudan, notably the case of Sakharov Prize laureate Salih Mahmoud Osman

13.3.2018 - (2018/2631(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Michèle Rivasi, Judith Sargentini, Heidi Hautala, Florent Marcellesi, Bodil Valero, Barbara Lochbihler, Bart Staes, Ernest Urtasun, Igor Šoltes, Helga Trüpel, Jordi Solé von behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0159/2018

Menetlus : 2018/2631(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the arrest of human rights defenders in Sudan, notably the case of Sakharov Prize laureate Salih Mahmoud Osman


The European Parliament,

-having regard to its previous resolutions on Sudan,

-having regard to the awarding of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to human rights defender Salih Mahmoud Osman in 2007,

-having regard to the statement by the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Heidi Hautala and the Chair of the Human Rights Subcommittee, Pier Antonio Panzeri, on the arrest of Sakharov Laureate Salih Mahmoud Osman,

-having regard to the demarche on 12 February by EU Head of Delegation to Sudan to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

-having regard to the appeal by EUSR Lambrinidis in his speech at the 37th session of UNHRC on 27 February 2018,

-having regard to the EEAS statement by the Spokesperson on Sudanese human rights defender Dr Mudawi,

-having regard to the statement by HR/VP Federica Mogherini on President’s Al-Bashir visit to Chad,

-having regard to the EEAS statement by the Spokesperson on easing of US sanctions on Sudan,

-having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

-having regard to the Universal declaration on Human Rights,

-having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

-having regard to the outcome document of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sudan of 21 September 2016 by the UN Human Rights Council,

-having regard to the Report of 27 July 2017 by the UN Human Rights’ Council Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan,

-having regard to the Cotonou agreement,

-having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,


A. Whereas on 1 February 2018, Sudanese forces arrested Salih Mahmoud Osman, laureate of the 2007 Sakharov Prize and human rights lawyer,

B. Whereas his arrest was part of a wide crackdown on Sudanese citizens following anti-austerity protests, including arrests of opposition political party leaders, human rights defenders/activists, journalists, student activists and others, in relation to their involvement or suspected involvement in anti-austerity protests that occurred across Sudan,

C. Whereas Nahid Jabrallah, Director of the Sima Centre for Training and Protection of Women and Children’s Rights based in Khartoum, Mohamed Abdallah Aldouma, Chairperson of the Darfur Bar Association, Hanan Hassan Khalifa, human rights lawyer, Rawa Jaafar Bakhit, advocate for the rights of displaced families, Amjed Fareed, blogger and human rights defender, Ahmed Jadeen, journalist with Aljareeda newspaper, Mohammed Abdulmonim, freelance journalist, as well as Amel Habani, award-winning journalist and Coordinator in the No Oppression Against Women Initiative in Sudan, are among the victims of the latest acts of repression and are being detained incommunicado,

D. Whereas several of the human rights defenders detained have been subject to torture and ill-treatment;

E. Whereas in particular detainees in custody of the National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS) are at risk of ill-treatment; whereas NISS is known for ill-treatment and torture of detainees, and, under Sudanese law, has wide-ranging powers of arrest and detention for up to four and a half months without judicial review,

F. Whereas human rights defenders and civil society organisations, including lawyers and bar associations, play a central role in ensuring democracy, human rights, the rule of law, stability and sustainable development;

G. Whereas in mid-February, dozens of detainees were released by the Sudanese authorities, including Rawa Jaafar Bakhit, Nahid Jabrallah, Amel Habani, Hanan Hassan Khalifa and Mohamed Abdallah Aldouma; whereas several prominent human rights defenders remain in prison however, including Osman Salih, an advocate and human rights defender who was detained on 10 January in Al Obeid in North Kordofan state, Amjeed Fareed, a human rights defender who has been in detention in Khartoum since 18 January 2018 as well as Mohamed Salih Osman; whereas the persons detained have not been charged with any crime and have not been brought before a court of law,

H. Whereas Sudan’s head of the National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS), Salah Gosh, told Sudanese media the other detainees would only be released if the opposition parties promised to stop organising protests,

I. Whereas the January 2018 incidents are the latest examples of an ongoing pattern of abuse; whereas human rights violations including mass arbitrary arrest and prolonged and incommunicado detention of protestors, excessive use of force, torture and ill-treatment, have continuously occurred during protest settings,

J. Whereas Sudanese authorities prevented human rights lawyer Mohamed Aldouma, President of the Darfur Bar Association, from traveling and seized his passport while he was en route to Cairo for medical treatment on 8 March 2018, following ill-treatment in detention by Sudanese authorities in February 2018; 

K. Whereas in August 2017, several human rights defenders benefitted from a presidential pardon,

L. Whereas two arrest warrants for President al-Bashir were issued in 2009 and 2010 by the International Criminal Court (ICC), accusing him of responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide, and whereas, although Sudan is not a state party to the Rome Statute, UN Security Council Resolution 1593 (2005) requires it to cooperate with the ICC,

M. Whereas the EU has reengaged with Sudan in the framework of the EU-Horn of Africa migration route initiative, the so-called Khartoum process,

N. Whereas the EU is currently implementing migration projects with Sudan, with a clear aim of supporting Sudanese security forces in reducing migration to Europe,

O. Whereas Salih Mahmoud Osman has visited EU institutions, including the European Parliament, in September 2016 in order to express strong reservations on the EU’s reengagement with Sudan, in particular in the framework of the Khartoum process,

P. Whereas the EEAS has considered the easing of sanctions by the United States as an important step in the reintegration efforts of Sudan into the international community and has signalled that the EU stands ready to accompany Sudan in this process,



1. Urges the Sudanese authorities to immediately release Salih Mahmoud Osman, as well as any other human rights defenders and civil society activists;

2. Condemns in the strongest possible terms the practice of torture and ill-treatment towards any detained persons, including human rights defenders; insists that all detainees’ conditions comply with international standards, including the United Nations’ Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment;

3. Calls on Sudanese authorities to investigate all allegations of torture and ill-treatment, and bring perpetrators to justice; emphasises that any purported information collected as a result of torture and ill-treatment must never be admissible as evidence in legal proceedings;

4. Welcomes the release of human rights defenders Amal Habani, Rawa Gafar Bakhit, Hanan Hassan Khalifa, Mohamed Aldouma, Nahid Jabrallah who had previously been detained; reiterates that Sudanese authorities must cease targeting all human rights defenders and activists and guarantee in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions and harassment;

5. Urges the HR/VP, Member States, EU Delegations and embassies to prioritise and increase the support and protection of human rights defenders at risk, as key actors for societal resilience, the rule of law, human rights and sustainable development;

6. Calls on the External Action Service to continue to improve its implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, fully utilising all means at its disposal, such as full use of emergency funds available at the level of EU delegations; emphasises that EU delegations must prioritise support for those human rights defenders most at risk in their EIDHR local calls for proposals, resulting in effective and targeted support;

7. Requests the EEAS and EU delegations to report back to the Parliament on actions taken to provide protection and support to human rights defenders;

8. Calls for united EU and Member State action in support of human rights defenders at risk;

9. Underlines its continued commitment to the protection mechanism for human rights defenders at risk;

10. Calls on the government of Sudan to take concrete measures to reform the current legal framework, which infringes on the exercise of political and civil rights and fundamental freedoms; considers that priority should be given to withdrawing enforcement powers, including arrest and detention, from officers of the National Security Service, in line with the information-gathering and advisory role envisioned by the Sudan National Dialogue, and to ensuring its compliance with international standards;

11. Calls on the Sudanese government to review its National Security Act, which allows the detention of suspects for up to four and half months without any form of judicial review, and calls also on the Sudanese government to reform its legal system in accordance with international human rights standards,

12. Reminds Sudan about its obligations as a UN member and urges it to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1593 (2005) which requires cooperation with the ICC,

13. Is concerned that EU and individual Member States’ cooperation with Sudan on migration will embolden the regime and reinforce its ability to control and oppress people, for example by strengthening surveillance capacities, including at borders and by supplying equipment, such as biometric equipment,

14. Calls on the EU and Member States to return dialogue with the government to working level, and not ministerial status, until such time as there is clear and verifiable proof of significant improvements of the human rights situation in the country,

15. Strongly requests the EU and Member States to ensure that the implementation of projects such as ROCK and “Better Migration Management” observe the principle of “Do no harm” which would rule out the cooperation with actors responsible for human rights violations,

16. Urges the EU and Member States as well as agencies implementing EU-funded projects not to cooperate with Sudanese security forces who have a record of human rights violations, including the Rapid Response Forces and the NISS,

17. Shares the concerns expressed by Salih Mahmoud Osman that the current focus on migration will actually divert the EU’s attention from human rights matters, which could potentially result in even more repressive measures from the Sudanese regime,

18. Calls therefore on the EEAS to resume issuing statements in response to widespread human rights violations by actors of the state and militias, as well as concerning the shrinking space for civil society, in order to demonstrate that the EU remains very concerned about the human rights situation in Sudan,

19. Invites the EU and its Member States to provide support to those within Sudan who are genuinely seeking change and provide civil society organizations with technical assistance and capacity-building programmes to improve their human rights advocacy and rule-of-law capabilities and to enable them to contribute more effectively to the improvement of human rights in the Sudan;

20. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the Vice President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government of Sudan, the African Union, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Pan African Parliament.


Viimane päevakajastamine: 13. märts 2018
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