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Sudan: Elections

Volume 495: debated on Friday 3 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received any recent reports of the harassment of civil society organisations engaged in voter education and election monitoring programmes in Sudan. (283744)

The Government have received reports of harassment of civil society organisations engaged in elections work in Sudan. One report we have received relates to a recent incident when the Sudanese Government's Humanitarian Aid Commission visited a non-governmental organisation in Khartoum and prevented it from organising a meeting on the elections.

Such reports indicate a worrying approach towards freedom of expression in the run-up to the 2010 elections. Our ambassador is raising the issue of harassment of civil society organisations with the authorities in Sudan and calling on them to explain the steps they are taking to ensure freedom of expression.

The UK is committed to supporting nation-wide elections in Sudan now scheduled for April 2010. We are providing significant assistance to the preparations for the elections and are monitoring developments closely to ensure mat the elections are free and fair.