PRESS RELEASE: 18 December 2006
For Immediate Release

Conservative Human Rights Commission call on Sudan to uphold peace agreement in Eastern Sudan and end its human rights abuses in the region

The UK’s Conservative Party Human Rights Commission today released a report from a recent visit to Eastern Sudan, calling on the Sudanese government to uphold the terms of the peace agreement signed on 14th October 2006 with the Eastern Front, a rebel movement, and to improve its human rights record in the region.

As detailed in the report, Eastern Sudan has endured routine and serious human rights abuses at the hands of the current Sudanese government. The worst known example of this was the Port Sudan massacre on 29th January 2005 where 21 people were killed and 70 injured by government forces. The perpetrators of this crime have yet to be brought to justice. A full account of the incident is available in the report.

Eastern Sudan suffers from political, economic and cultural marginalization as a result of government policy. Human rights abuses in the region include killings and random beatings by security forces, chronic under funding of education, denial of healthcare services to the indigenous Beja and Rashaida people, leading to widespread diseases such as tuberculosis. Geo-political issues such as oil pipeline routes through Eastern Sudan and the close relationship the current Sudanese government enjoys with China have served to reinforce these policies.

Radomir Tylecote, of the Conservative Human Rights Commission, said: ‘This report shows the disregard with which the current Sudanese government treats the people of Eastern Sudan. The contribution this report makes to further knowledge about the situation in Eastern Sudan should act as a catalyst for the international community to act to stop the human rights abuses of the current Sudanese government.’

John Slight, author of the report, said: ‘While much attention has been focused on the situation in Darfur, Eastern Sudan is another area of the country where the current government’s actions have led to widespread poverty, disease, death and misery for the Beja and Rashaida people. It is critical that the international community puts pressure on the Sudanese government to end the political, economic and cultural marginalization suffered by the Beja and Rashaida and its human rights abuses in Eastern Sudan.’

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For further information, please see the report:


NOTES TO EDITORS:

During his visit, John Slight visited Khartoum, Port Sudan and Kassala, interviewing members of the Beja Congress, relatives of those killed in the Port Sudan massacre of January 29th 2005 and many other Beja and Rashaida people.

The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission is a body established by the Shadow Foreign Secretary in 2005 to highlight international human rights concerns, and to inform, advise and develop the party’s foreign policy by making human rights a priority. Freedom and human dignity should be at the heart of foreign policy. The Commission is chaired by Gary Streeter MP and human rights activist Benedict Rogers serves as Deputy Chairman. The Commission includes several Members of Parliament.