The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Mission to Sudan issued a damning report on 12 March, confirming what we already knew about the grave human rights situation in Darfur. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and some Asian states, said that the council should not discuss the report on procedural grounds because the mission had not gone to Sudan.
I, and the UK permanent representative to the HRC, called on the council to take effective action on Darfur and not become mired in procedural debates. We do not accept that the mission report is not valid as the mission failed to go to Sudan. The Government of Sudan reneged on their commitment to co-operate with the mission and refused to grant visas to all members of the mission, so, rightly, none of the members went. The report is based on the assessments of UN humanitarian agencies, the African Union in Addis Ababa and UN High Commissioner for Refugees in eastern Chad. All of these organisations, which have large numbers of staff operating in Darfur and eastern Chad, continue to report an appalling human rights and humanitarian situation there. We will continue to press all members of the HRC, including those from the OIC, to take forward the recommendations in the report.
I also raised this with the Sudanese Justice Minister. I made clear that it was unacceptable that Sudan had not co-operated with the human rights mission to Sudan, which the council had authorised last December.