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Thursday, 18 December 2014 - Strasbourg
Sudan: the case of Dr Amin Mekki Medani

European Parliament resolution of 18 December 2014 on Sudan: the case of Dr Amin Mekki Medani (2014/3000(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Sudan,

–  having regard to the report of 18 September 2013 by the UN Human Rights Council Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan,

–  having regard to the EU statement of 15 July 2014 on the release of political detainees in Sudan,

–  having regard to the EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Sudan of 11 November 2014,

–  having regard to the report of 4 September 2014 by the UN Human Rights Council Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan,

–  having regard to the Agreements on the National Dialogue and Constitutional Process signed in Addis Ababa on 4 September 2014,

–  having regard to the ‘Sudan Call’ declaration on the ‘Establishment of a State of Citizenship and Democracy’,

–  having regard to Sudan’s national human rights plan adopted in 2013, based on the principles of universality and equality of all people,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2014 on the EU and the global development framework after 2015(1),

–  having regard to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) of 18 December 1979,

–  having regard to the Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1996/39 (1996),

–  having regard to the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005,

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

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 6 December 2014, the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested Dr Amin Mekki Medani, a renowned human rights activist and former President of the Sudan Human Rights Monitor (SHRM), at his house in Khartoum;

B.  whereas there are serious concerns for the safety of Dr Medani, who is 76 years of age and in poor health; whereas the NISS allegedly refused to allow him to take his medication with him when he was arrested;

C.  whereas Dr Medani symbolises a strong commitment to human rights, humanitarianism and the rule of law, having held high-level positions within a range of different national and international institutions, including the Sudan judiciary, the democratic transitional government of Sudan (as Cabinet Minister for Peace), and the UN; whereas he has represented victims of violations and has persistently spoken out against abuse of power, and was awarded the ‘Heroes for Human Rights Award 2013’ by the EU Delegation in Sudan for his local and international efforts in promoting human rights;

D.  whereas Dr Medani was arrested shortly after his return from Addis Ababa, having signed the ‘Sudan Call’ on behalf of civil society organisations – a commitment to work towards the end of the conflicts raging in different regions of Sudan and towards legal, institutional and economic reforms; whereas Farouk Abu Issa, leader of the opposition National Consensus Forum, and Dr Farah Ibrahim Mohamed Alagar were arrested in a similar manner, on 6 and 7 December 2014 respectively, following their involvement with the ‘Sudan Call’;

E.  whereas the declaration, which commits signatories to end wars and conflicts, was signed by representatives from political and opposition parties, including the National Umma Party, the National Consensus Forces and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF); whereas this declaration is an extension of the Paris Declaration of 8 August 2014, signed by the SRF and the National Umma Party, the latter represented by Sadiq Al Mahdi;

F.  whereas Dr Medani’s arrest is representative of the repressive policies exercised by the Sudanese authorities to prevent legitimate peaceful political debate, which they have used to restrict freedom of opinion, expression and association, and is yet another example of unlawful arbitrary detention exercised by the NISS;

G.  whereas governments have the prime responsibility to address the political, economic and social concerns of their citizens; whereas conflict between government and citizens must be solved by political means through negotiations;

H.  whereas Sudan is at a critical period of political dialogue, for which figures such as Dr Medani are very much needed to bring their expertise to the reform process;

1.  Strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest and detention of Dr Medani and other peaceful activists as an unlawful breach of their peaceful and legitimate political and human rights activities; calls for their immediate and unconditional release;

2.  Remains concerned about the ongoing detention and condition of opposition party members, youth activists, human rights defenders and journalists in Sudan; urges the Government of Sudan to guarantee the peaceful exercise of the freedoms of expression, association and assembly; calls on the Sudanese authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment and intimidation against human rights defenders and political activists and to comply with the relevant international norms and standards;

3.  Calls on the Sudanese authorities to restore and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms under international law, including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, women’s rights and gender equality; emphasises the importance of an independent, impartial and accessible judiciary to enhance respect for the rule of law and the fundamental rights of the population;

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

5.  Welcomes the signing of the Agreements on the National Dialogue and Constitutional Process urging all groups to renounce violence as a means for political change and committing to national dialogue and negotiation without delay; stresses the importance of the National Dialogue process, which is the best opportunity to make progress towards national peace, reconciliation and democratic governance in Sudan;

6.  Remains deeply concerned, nevertheless, at the ongoing conflicts in Sudan, notably in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and the accompanying violations of humanitarian and human rights law, together with a serious humanitarian emergency, which continue to cause enormous human suffering and internal displacements, and pose a risk to regional stability;

7.  Reiterates, in line with the National Dialogue, that there should be meaningful dialogue with participation of the opposition parties and civil society, including women’s groups; stresses that the dialogue should include stakeholders from all of Sudan’s regions and reflect the full ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of Sudan;

8.  Encourages all parties to address Sudan’s internal conflicts, issues such as socio-economic marginalisation, unequal distribution of resources, political exclusion and lack of access to public services through the National Dialogue, including identity and social equality of all groups; supports, in this context, new and inclusive governance arrangements, a definitive constitution and a roadmap for the holding of national elections;

9.  Underlines the fact that the National Dialogue will only succeed if carried out in an atmosphere where the freedoms of expression, the media, association and assembly are guaranteed; calls, therefore, for all political prisoners to be released and arbitrary detention practices immediately stopped; calls on the Sudanese Government to abolish the death penalty, which is still in force, and to commute death sentences to appropriate alternative sanctions;

10.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to continue their support for dialogue between Sudan and South Sudan and neighbouring countries, to implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement in full, as well as the 2012 Addis Ababa Agreements, and to address any outstanding issues;

11.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to support the National Dialogue, the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and the Joint UN-African Union Special Representative in Darfur, and commends President Mbeki for his efforts to promote a genuine National Dialogue;

12.  Expresses its concern about the continuing and frequent violations of women’s rights in Sudan, particularly under Article 152 of the Penal Code; exhorts the Sudanese authorities to sign without delay and ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;

13.  Calls on the Government of Sudan, the opposition and the armed movements to use the momentum of the National Dialogue to demonstrate the leadership necessary to put Sudan on a path to peace, prosperity and justice; underlines, once again, the importance of fighting impunity;

14.  Expresses concern about the worsening humanitarian situation in numerous regions of Sudan, and in particular the access restrictions still imposed on international humanitarian agencies and organisations; calls, once again, on the Government of Sudan and on armed movements to guarantee safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to all areas by humanitarian agencies, in particular to conflict-affected areas, in line with international humanitarian principles;

15.  Denounces the government’s NGO bill, which restricts the ability of NGOs to deliver much-needed humanitarian relief to Sudan and compounds the already difficult circumstances NGOs face in the country – an increasingly worrying trend of harassment and interference targeting humanitarian workers, as well as crackdowns on civil society and democratic freedoms;

16.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to continue its commitment to supporting Sudan and the Sudanese people in their transition to an internally reformed democracy;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, 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 (PAP).

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0059.

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