Sudan fulfils promise to ratify UNCAT

The Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) welcomes the Republic of Sudan’s ratification of the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT) on 10.08.2021, marking a historic step in the country’s democratic transition.

Flag of Sudan

Having previously signalled its commitment to join UNCAT, Sudan has turned its rhetoric into reality by becoming the 172nd State Party to UNCAT.

Sudan’s ratification comes more than three decades after its signature of the treaty in 1986 and follows the country’s strained past, tempered by its significant challenges to guaranteeing fundamental human rights to its people. On the heels of the deposition of the former President Omar Al Bashir and Sudan’s recent announcement to hand him over to the International Criminal Court, the Transitional Government’s decision to ratify both UNCAT as well as the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances delivers a strong message on its preparedness to fully engage with the international community and to foster a national environment conducive to good governance, accountability and peace.

Sudan’s accession to UNCAT explicitly demonstrates my Government’s strong commitment to promote and protect human rights principles as enshrined in the Constitutional Document. We strongly believe in mainstreaming human rights in different aspects of government activities, as we strive to ensure adherence to the values of democracy, justice, and rules of laws. We also believe that nothing can express that orientation better than joining and implementing international human rights conventions including the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

H.E Mariam Almansoura Alsadig S.Almahdi – Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Transitional Government of Sudan

The Sudanese Government’s ratification is a firm indication of its aspiration to cultivate robust legal and democratic principles and institutions. In committing to the objectives and obligations of UNCAT, Sudan can look forward to being guided by a framework which helps to enable stable governance, set rules for responsible and rights-respecting law enforcement, security and military sectors, and advance fair and efficient justice.

Joining the UNCAT is a historic step, given the egregious human rights violations that were committed against the Sudanese people during the former regime. The last time Sudan joined significant international human rights conventions was in 1986 during its third democratic period; back then Sudan, inter alia, joined ICCPR and ICESCR of 1966. Now, the glorious December Revolution has given us a great opportunity to join other international human rights conventions. There was no better start to seizing this opportunity than joining the Convention against Torture and the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. It is a huge step towards building a new Sudan, a Sudan of dignity, freedom, justice, and peace.

H.E. Nasredeen Abdulbari – Minister of Justice of the Transitional Government of Sudan

Sudan’s decision enables the League of Arab States to celebrate a significant milestone of having all its members be party to the Convention against Torture. It also thrusts the African Region to the precipice of full ratification, with only two States left to join.

Reacting to Sudan’s ratification, the Permanent Representatives to the UN in Geneva of the CTI Core States of Chile, Denmark, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco, stated:

As Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of the CTI Core Group of States, we congratulate the Transitional Government of Sudan for the historic move of ratifying UNCAT. Sudan’s ratification further solidifies the global commitment to  addressing torture and ill-treatment, and adds impetus to our shared pursuit of dignity for all. We stand fully ready to support Sudan’s authorities, and trust that their commitment will inspire other States to move towards the universal ratification of UNCAT.

CTI Core State Ambassadors – H.E. Frank Tressler (Chile), H.E. Morten Jespersen (Denmark), H.E. Nazhat Shameem Khan (Fiji), H.E. Ramses Joseph Cleland (Ghana), H.E. Grata Endah Werdaningtyas (Indonesia) and H.E. Omar Zniber (Morocco)

CTI is pleased to have supported and encouraged Sudan’s ratification of UNCAT together with other partners and stakeholders. In March 2018, CTI organised a two-day seminar in Khartoum, with the support of the British Embassy in Khartoum as a CTI Friend, and with the participation of a member of the UN Committee against Torture and Moroccan experts. This seminar on dialogue and cooperation on the Convention shared technical advice and State experiences on ways to apply the Convention’s main provisions, following which CTI has continued to dialogue with the Government though CTI Core State representatives in Geneva and Khartoum. Earlier this year, CTI’s former Head of Secretariat, Dr Alice Edwards, participated in an online round-table with Sudanese government and civil society representatives.

Sudan’s ratifications of these two partner treaties are remarkable developments and CTI offers its cooperation and support to the Transitional Government as it begins the processes of domesticating the Convention and taking concrete actions to protect fully human rights in Sudan.

Dr Alice Edwards – Former Head of CTI Secretariat

CTI invites Sudan to join its Group of Friends, now made up of 43 governments, and will include Sudan in its upcoming activities in the region as the country begins implementing the Convention.

About the Convention against Torture Initiative

CTI is an inter-governmental initiative, promoting the universal ratification and implementation of the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT). The Initiative is being spearheaded by the Governments of Chile, Denmark, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia and Morocco, and is supported by a full-time Secretariat based in Geneva. Through constructive dialogue and international cooperation between States, CTI offers technical and capacity building support to governments. We are encouraged by a Group of Friends, which is open to all UN Member States and serves as a platform for the exchange of knowledge, experience and ideas on how to overcome obstacles to ratification and implementation of the UNCAT.

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