In 2005, BHRC together with with the Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT) sought the collaboration of Sudanese lawyers to initiate dialogue and develop legal capacity building projects focusing on rule of law and human rights issues.
In 2005, BHRC conducted a legal training workshop in partnership with SOAT, the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development (KCHRED), the Redress Trust and independent experts. The workshop covered substantive law, procedure, advocacy skills and the practicalities and procedures of submitting cases to the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights. It also included analyses of the African Union and Special Procedures associated with the African Commission and the African Union. The training resulted in four cases being submitted to the African Commission during the November-December session, two of which were granted immediate admissibility.
Over 85 people attended the workshop, including representatives from local civil society groups, academics, legal experts, lawyers and journalists. Representatives from the Advisory Council for Human Rights, Ministry of the Interior, the British Embassy in Khartoum and the European Commission also attended. The workshop promoted discussion and understanding of the remedies available to Sudanese lawyers working on human rights issues through domestic, regional and international avenues.
Participants made the following recommendations:
- For the Government of Sudan to ratify all international human rights instruments not yet ratified and to incorporate those standards into domestic legislation
- For the Government of Sudan to implement the Interim Constitution, and particularly Article 27, which calls for the incorporation into domestic law all international instruments that Sudan has ratified
- For the Government of Sudan to implement all decisions concerning Sudan that have been passed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
- For civil society to form special committees to monitor and lobby for the implementation of those decisions and others issued by regional and international human rights bodies
Following the African Mechanisms training, BHRC held intensive meetings with lawyers in Khartoum and Nyala, South Darfur, to identify ways in which we can continue to provide support and practical assistance to the Sudanese legal profession. The main aims and objectives of the visit were to:
- Assist in developing a successful litigation strategy
- Explore the challenges the lawyers face in bringing cases against members of the National Security Forces, Military, Police and other authorities, particularly with respect to the numerous immunity laws, decrees and acts
- Analyse the conditions under which the lawyers operate, particularly within the Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps
- Discuss regional and international mechanisms accessible for Sudanese lawyers including the African Commission, the African Union and UN /AU Special Procedures
- Create a dialogue between legal experts, academics, and activists between the UK and Sudan in order to identify areas for projects, co-operation and exchanges including the provision of resources
- To consider with our partners and funders what scope might exist for education, training and resource provision in relation to human rights issues in Sudan