30 January 1998

Original: ENGLISH

Fifty-fourth session
Item 10 of the provisional agenda


Situation of human rights in the Sudan

Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Gáspár Bíró, submitted in
accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/59



I. Extrajudicial killings and summary executions

II. Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

III. Arbitrary arrest and lack of due process of law

IV. Slavery, servitude, the slave trade, forced labour and similar institutions and practices

V. Freedom of religion

VI. The rights of the child

VII. The rights of women

VIII. Improving the flow of information, the independent verification of reports and assessment of possibilities of technical assistance and cooperation in the field of human rights

IX. Reprisals

X. Conclusions and recommendations
A. Conclusions
B. Recommendations

"Andrew Tombe, an employee of the USAID, and Mark Laboke Jenner, who worked for the European Commission, were executed in August 1992 in Juba. The Government reported that their execution had taken place after a military court had sentenced them to death for treason. However, no details on the trial and its proceedings have been provided. Several cases of death in custody have been described to the Special Rapporteur. One report describes the execution of 18 young men, suspected in collaboration with the SPLA, who were taken from the military headquarters, the White House, in Juba at the beginning of August 1992, tied up, forced to lie down in a pre-dug pit and shot dead. ... Following SPLA attacks in June and July 1992 in Juba, around 200 civilians were reportedly killed in a house-to-house search by government troops. Young men, including boys aged 13 and older, were said to have been particularly targeted. With regard to the reports from Juba, the Special Rapporteur notes that many of these killings took place in the aftermath of the fighting, when the Government regained control over the city" (E/CN.4/1994/48, paras. 30-31 and 33).
"33. In a meeting with Mr. Gáspár Bíró (the Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Sudan) held upon his request, the fact-finding Commission explained many lists and, to save time and effort, the Commission prefers to have one list of all the persons whose fate is being investigated. The Commission requested the Human Rights Centre in Geneva to provide it with one accurate comprehensive list of all the persons whose fate is being investigated. The Commission had not received a reply until the time of the writing of the report. This was one of the reasons for the delay in the Commission's work.

"34. Therefore, the Commission compiled all the lists available, and incorporated them in one unified list, to be a reference for the inquiry on the fate of the persons listed, whose number was 240 persons. Henceforth, the Commission compared this list with the lists of those submitted to trial, and concluded the following:

"(a) Ninety-four persons were convicted by tribunals formed according to the law. The sentences ranged between execution and imprisonment;

"(b) The tribunals acquitted 11 persons.

"35. As for the rest of persons listed, the Commission concluded the following probabilities:

"(a) Killed in bombardment and exchange of fire or during the battles and armed skirmishes, as the numbers of those killed were very large and their bodies remained for a long time unburied and petrified to the extent that their features could not be identified;

"(b) Defection from the service of the various regular forces;

"(c) Voluntarily joining the insurgent movement;

"(d) Forcibly taken away by the insurgents after the attack;

"(e) Boarding the relief aircrafts which used to bring supplies to Juba and return empty to Khartoum. Not less than 500 persons were counted in one day;

"(f) Persons who chose to disappear and were arrested during and after the events. They were investigated and released. Later, it appeared from interrogation of others that they were involved and wanted for arrest;

"(g) Persons from the police force, game and prison guards with orders for their arrest, and lists of their names were sent to their unit headquarters in Juba, but could not be arrested as they were in areas out of Juba. On learning of the orders for their arrest and the actual arrest of their colleagues in Juba, they left their units and disappeared. Those were wrongly included among persons arrested and their fate was unknown."
"1. As regards Mr. Andrew Giftana Tombe, an employee of the office of USAID in Juba, the Commission found out that he was arrested and submitted to trial, being accused of joining an illegal organization, cooperating with the insurgents and aimed at the occupation of Juba by armed forces; of participation in guidance and transportation of explosives during the events; and using illegally communication sets to contact the insurgents. Confessions of these accusations were recorded before the Commission of Inquiry and before the tribunal. Hunting Guard Captain Henry Maw Samuel presented testimony that Mr. Tombe was tried and convicted by the major field tribunal and sentenced to death on 13 August 1992, that is, more than two months after the events, and was executed.

"2. As regards Mr. Bedwin Angelino Tally, who worked as a storekeeper in the office of USAID, he was arrested and committed to trial accused of shielding an illegal organization and participating in its activities. His confession was recorded. In addition, Mr. Andrew Tombe presented testimony against him. Accordingly, he was tried and convicted by a major field tribunal in Juba and sentenced to death on 14 August 1992, that is, more than two months after the events, and was executed.

"3. As regards Mr. Dominic Moris Olaya, an employee of the office of USAID, he was arrested and submitted to trial, accused of participation in the activities of the above-mentioned illegal organization. His confession was recorded before the tribunal, which convicted him according to his confession and the reports and sentenced him to death in August 1992, that is, more than two months after the events, and he was executed.

"4. As regards Mr. Sisilim Lako Lombe, a gardener in the office of USAID, he was arrested and submitted to trial accused of participation in all the activities of that illegal organization. In August 1992, the major field tribunal sentenced him to death after convicting him according to his confession and the reports, that is, more than two months after the events, and he was executed.

"5. As regards Mr. Mark Laboke, who was working as a Chief Clerk in the office of the European Commission in Juba, he was arrested and submitted to trial, accused of participation in all the activities of that illegal organization and using an unlicensed communication set to contact the insurgents. His confession was recorded before the tribunal and Mr. Andrew Tombe testified against him. The tribunal sentenced him to death after being convicted on 12 August 1992, that is, more than two months after the events, and he was executed.

"6. As regards Mr. Michael Motton Attija, an employee of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Juba, he was arrested in the first days of the events and was released after investigation and lack of evidence against him. Later, after sufficient evidence was found against him, it was decided to rearrest him. But it was not possible to find him and the authorities are still searching for him. Information obtained by the Commission from different sources indicates that he belongs to the border tribes between the Sudan and Uganda and that he was an officer in the Ugandan Army during the regime of ex-President Idi Amin. He came later to Juba and worked with the UNDP office. The sources explain his disappearance that he might have crossed the border to Uganda after his release. Of course, there is a probability that he might have been killed during the random bombardment.

"7. As regards Mr. Rocko Konir Biro, who was a driver working in the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) office of Juba, reports indicate that he was arrested with others and released for lack of evidence against him. Probably he was among the victims of the random bombardment, particularly as he was residing in Lulogo quarter for the displaced, which was burned during the second attack, causing the death of many persons."
"In conclusion, the Advisory Council for Human Rights affirms that its declaration of the results of the investigation comes within the responsibility of the Government of the Sudan to protect and develop human rights, in compliance with the international instruments adopted in this respect and within the framework of its cooperation with the international community and its competent mechanisms."
"In September 1992 government officials admitted that Andrew Tombe, a Sudanese employee of USAID and Mark Laboke Jenner, who worked for the European Commission, had been executed in Juba in mid-August 1992 after they had been convicted of treason. However, in respect of the vast majority of cases, as of July 1993, the authorities had either provided contradictory information, information which had been subsequently disproved or had simply failed to account what happened to the prisoners. For example, in November 1992 the authorities in Juba told the UN's Independent Expert that Michael Muto Atia, a senior UNDP official in Juba arrested on 31 July 1992, was awaiting trial in Khartoum. The authorities in Khartoum said that he had disappeared" (pp. 17-18).
"At about 2 o'clock in the afternoon of Sunday, the 16th of March 1997, three members of the Security attacked me and pushed me by force into a taxi. This took place in the Central Market Area of Khartoum, near the Green Gubba Bookshop. The taxi drove to a cafeteria near the Feisal Bank, in the Ali-Abdellatif street. I was told I was arrested and had to wait until another car would bring me to another place. Being guarded, I waited in a room behind the cafeteria. After 15 minutes I was blindfolded and brought to a place unknown to me. It seemed to me that this place was an unoccupied students' hostel. There I heard that a person was brutally tortured, apparently a member of the Umma Party. I had to take off all my clothes, until I stood naked. All my clothes were thoroughly searched. They started to beat me with hard rubber hoses and sticks on my head, my arms and my back, until my head, arms and back were bloody and swollen. Then I had to dress again, but the beatings, threats and the brutal threat that they would torture me with electrical shocks continued. (...) They then threatened me with their 'usual practice for students' to shave off the hair of my head, my moustache and my eyebrows. They ordered me to appear at 10 o'clock in the morning of Tuesday, the 18th of March at the same place in the Central Market Area, near the Green Gubba Bookshop. They would wait for me with a car and I would have to ride in the car with them. In case I would fail to appear at the indicated time and place, they would know how to arrest me. In that case - if I would not appear by myself - they would sexually abuse me. They continued to threaten me: the country was in a state of emergency and war and they could shoot me at any time. Or, being a university graduate, they would force me into military service at the front and there they would let me die as a hero. At about 6 o'clock in the evening of the same day, i.e. four hours after my arrest and continuing ill-treatment, I was blindfolded and brought in a car to the Industrial Area of Khartoum, near the Sudan University, to a place known as Al Rhaba, where I was pushed out of the car. (...) After that, I made an X-ray examination of my head and arms in a private clinic and went then to the official government police-hospital. There I was (again) examined."

The memorandum is dated 17 March 1997, and copies were sent to the Chief Justice, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General and the Minister of Interior. The victim expressly requested the widest publicity of his account.[back to the contents]

(a) The Special Rapporteur maintains all his findings as described in previous reports, as well as the conclusions and recommendations formulated therein regarding the question of slavery, the slave trade and similar institutions and practices in the Sudan. The Special Rapporteur based his conclusions not only on independent and reliable sources, but also on testimonies taken between 1993 and 1997, including during his September 1997 mission to Khartoum, from victims of these practices and institutions and eye-witness accounts of several other individuals who have witnessed such practices in various parts of the Sudan. These testimonies, accompanied by written accounts and other documents, such as copies of correspondence between local chiefs and authorities in the former states of Kordofan and Darfur, and documents on cases of retrieval of abducted children raised before courts in various locations in northern Sudan, were corroborated by a large number of independent sources;

(b) The Special Rapporteur again draws attention to the fact that in his reports the concepts referred to in this regard are clearly defined by the relevant international instruments to which the Sudan is a party. Therefore, not only should the concept of "slavery" as such, in many cases implying only chattel slavery, be taken into account, but all practices and institutions similar to slavery, the slave trade, servitude or serfdom and enforced labour as defined in international instruments should, in the light of the facts reported, also be taken into account. The Special Rapporteur would like to refer to article 1 of the 1926 Slavery Convention, which provides:

"(1) Slavery is the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised.

"(2) The slave trade includes all acts involved in the capture, acquisition or disposal of a person with intent to reduce him to slavery; all acts involved in the acquisition of a slave with a view to selling or exchanging him; all acts of disposal by sale or exchange of a slave acquired with a view to being sold or exchanged, and, in general, every act of trade or transport in slaves."

(c) The Special Rapporteur recalls that he made several recommendations to the Special Committee on Allegations of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and Reported Cases of Slavery regarding its methodology of work and the importance of guaranteeing the largest possible publicity to it and the necessity of an open debate on this issue in the Sudan (see A/51/490, paras. 8-16). The Special Rapporteur also notes that some of the questions raised, for example in relation to the status of those Nuba individuals who work in the households of army officers, have not yet been entirely clarified;

(d) The Special Rapporteur also wishes to underline that most of the locations mentioned in previous reports about slavery have not been accessible to foreign visitors, for example, the villages situated along the railway between Babanusa and Wau. The Special Rapporteur has no information indicating that the cases reported from this area were ever investigated. The locations mentioned in the 1994 report to the Commission on Human Rights (i.e. Al Dhein, Kor Thagat, Gomelai, Jalabi, Kelekela, Muglad or Shahafa) also were not visited.[back to the contents]

"The rebels prefer children of 14 to 16, but at times they abduct children as young as 8 or 9, boys and girls alike. They tie children to one another, and force them to carry heavy loads of looted goods as they march them off into the bush. Children who protest or resist are killed. Children who cannot keep up or become tired or ill are killed. Children who attempt to escape are killed. (...) If one child attempts to escape, the rebels force the other abducted children to kill the would-be escapee, usually with clubs and machetes. Any child who refuses to participate in the killing may also be beaten or killed. The rebels bring their captives across the border to a Lord's Resistance Army camp in Sudan." [back to the contents]


"9. (1) (a) One of the doors and 10 (ten) seats on public buses shall be assigned for women on State routes;

"(b) Men are categorically prevented from sitting in places assigned to women, while women are not allowed to sit in places assigned to men;


"(2) In the case of public vehicles, other than those mentioned in paragraph (1) (a), 25 per cent of the seats shall be assigned to women.


"Chapter five

"Women's hairdressing salons

"Obtaining licences

"13. (a) No one shall practise the hairdressing profession without obtaining a licence from the authorized locality on the recommendation of the authorized People's Committee.

"(b) The application for the licence shall be made on the form prepared by the locality, after acquiring the commercial and health licences.

"Regulations of work at women's hairdressing salons

"14. (a) Women's hairdressing salons shall not employ men.

"(b) Men shall not enter women's hairdressing salons.

"(c) A sign shall be put in front of the salon stating the provisions of subparagraph (b) of this article.

"(d) The salon shall have one door opening to the road, except salons located at multi-floor buildings.

"(e) The director or the owner of the salon shall comply with the required health terms and safety measures.

"Granting of licences for men

"15. (1) Men may own a women's hairdressing salon in accordance with the conditions and regulations issued by the authorized locality.

"(2) In case of awarding the licence in accordance with paragraph (1) of this article, the salon shall be administered by a woman.

"Eligibility of women employed at women's hairdressing salons

"16. (a) Owners and directors of salons shall not employ any woman to work at the salon, except after getting assurances that she is of good conduct.

"(b) The woman worker shall be technically qualified and hold a certificate from an authorized body.

"(c) The age of the woman director of the salon shall not be less than 35 years.

"Inspection of salons

"17. The licensing authority and public order police may enter hairdressing salons at any time for the purpose of inspection of the application of the provisions of this Act, provided that the inspection is made by women.

"Women's dress tailoring places

"18. (a) Women's dress tailoring profession shall not be practised except after obtaining a licence from the local authorities.

"(b) The local authorities shall formulate regulations guaranteeing public discipline for workers of the place.

"Separation between men and women in queues


"20. Any business whose dealing requires citizens to stand in queues shall separate between men and women and the public shall comply with the same.




"26. Anyone who violates provisions of this act shall be punished by one or more of the following punishments:

"(a) Imprisonment of not more than five years;

"(b) Fine;

"(c) The two punishments;

"(d) Flogging;

"(e) Confiscation of items used in the violation;

"(f) Withdrawal of licence or permission or closing the business for a period not exceeding two years.

"(Issued under my signature: on Q Zul-Quadia, 1416 H, corresponding to 28 March 1996) Badr-Eddin Taha - Wali of Khartoum State."

"9. Flogging, amputation and stoning, which are recognized as penalties for criminal offences, are not compatible with the Covenant. In that regard, the Committee notes that:

By ratifying the Covenant, the State party has undertaken to comply with all its articles; penalties which are inconsistent with articles 7 and 10 must be abolished.

"10. ... The Committee is deeply concerned about the practice of female genital mutilation in the Sudan, particularly because it is practised on female minors, who may suffer the consequences throughout their lives. This practice constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and violates articles 7 and 24 of the Covenant. ...

"11. The Committee notes that under customary arrangements a woman's consent to marriage is mediated by a guardian, and that recourse has to be made to the courts to override any prohibition within the family on a woman's choice of a husband. Such restrictions, whether by practice or legislation, are incompatible with articles 3, 16, 23 and 26 of the Covenant. Therefore:

The State party should repeal all legal provisions hindering women's free choice of spouse, as well as all other rules differentiating between men's and women's rights to marry and within marriage. The Committee is also concerned about the absence of a legal provision on a minimum age for marriage, and strongly recommends that such a provision be adopted forthwith.


"16. The Committee is of the view that a system of prompt trial for petty offences may be compatible with the provisions of the Covenant, but continues to be concerned at the system of trial in the Public Order Courts. Therefore:

Training should be given to judges on appropriate penalties and on procedural safeguards which must be observed. Lashes should be excluded as a punishment, and an appellate procedure should be introduced to review convictions and sentences.


"22. The Committee expresses concern at official enforcement of strict dress requirements for women in public places, under the guise of public order and morality, and at inhuman punishment imposed for breaches of such requirements. Restrictions on the liberty of women under the Personal Status of Muslims Act, 1992 are matters of concern under articles 3, 9 and 12 of the Covenant. Therefore:

It is incumbent on the State party to ensure that all its laws, including those dealing with personal status, are compatible with the Covenant."[back to the contents]

(a) The direct and accelerated exchange of information between the Consultative Council on the one hand and the Office of the High Commissioner and the Special Rapporteur on the other;

(b) The more timely transmission of the replies to the communications received by the Consultative Council from the Special Rapporteur and the Office of the High Commissioner, including the transmission of legal documents, statistics and any other relevant documentation;

(c) The creation of the conditions that are necessary for an impartial, professional, rapid and objective verification of the information and reports received regarding cases of violations of human rights;

(d) Regular contacts between representatives of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Consultative Council;

(e) Improved coordination between the Office of the High Commissioner and other United Nations organs and agencies dealing within their mandates with specific aspects of the situation of human rights in the Sudan.
(a) The establishment of periodic direct contacts in Khartoum between representatives of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Government of the Sudan in order to assess the possibilities for, and at a later stage to ensure the instant communication and verification of, any information or reports regarding the situation of human rights in the Sudan;

(b) Regarding the conflict zones, the implementation, without delay, in cooperation of all parties concerned of the recommendation contained in paragraph 25 of Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/59 on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, regarding the placement of human rights field officers to monitor the situation of human rights in the Sudan, in the locations, under the modalities and with the objectives suggested by the Special Rapporteur in his earlier reports.[back to the contents]


A. Conclusions

1. Regarding the situation of human rights in general in 1997
2. Regarding the Khartoum Agreement of 21 April 1997
3. Regarding the reports of the Special Committee on Allegations of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and Reported Cases of Slavery
4. Regarding the Juba Report(1)
B. Recommendations

1. Situation of human rights in general
2. Specific recommendations
(a) To ensure wide publicity of the activities and findings of the Special Committee, including the use of public radio and television broadcasts;

(b) To ensure full transparency by encouraging representatives of all interested civic groups to participate and to help the fact-finding activities of the Special Committee;

(c) To give free and unimpeded access to international human rights and humanitarian organizations and independent observers to all areas where enforced or involuntary disappearances or cases of slavery, slave trade and similar institutions and practices, especially the sale of and trafficking in children and women have been reported;

(d) To consider the possibility of international participation in the process of addressing reported cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances in the Nuba Mountains area, and in contacting representatives of parties to the armed conflict other than the Government of the Sudan in areas under their control.
1. For details, see A/52/510, paras. 39-46.[back to the text]


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