Human Rights: Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Chapter II: Power Sharing (Signed at Naivasha, Kenya on 26th May, 2004)

1.6 Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms:

1.6.1 The Republic of the Sudan, including all levels of Government throughout the country, shall comply fully with its obligations under the international human rights treaties to which it is or becomes a party. These include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Slavery Convention of 1926, as amended, and the related Supplementary Convention, the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, the International Convention Against Apartheid in Sports, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Related Protocol, and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights. The Republic of the Sudan should endeavor to ratify other human rights treaties which it has signed.

1.6.2. The rights and freedoms to be enjoyed under Sudanese law, in accordance with the provisions of the treaties referred to above, include in particular the following:­ Life

Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his/her life; Personal Liberty

Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his/her liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as are established by law; Slavery

No one shall be held in slavery; slavery and the slave trade in all their forms shall be prohibited. No one shall be held in servitude or be required to perform forced or compulsory labour; Torture

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Fair Trial

(a) Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his/her arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him/her;

(b) In the determination of any criminal charges against him/her, or of his/her rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law;

(c) Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law;

(d) No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed;

(e) In the determination of any criminal charge against him/her, everyone shall be entitled, in full equality, to be tried without undue delay, to be tried in his/her presence and to defend himself/herself in person or through legal assistance of his/her own choosing and to have legal assistance assigned to him/her in any case where the interests of justice so require. Privacy

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his/her privacy, family, home or correspondence; Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion

Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; Freedom of Expression

Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; Freedom of Assembly and Association

The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his/her interests; Family and Marriage

(a) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State;
(b) The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized, according to their respective family laws. Right to Vote

Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without distinctions and unreasonable restrictions, to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors; Equality Before the Law

All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law; Freedom from Discrimination

The law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status; Freedom of Movement

Everyone has the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his/her residence; The Rights of Children

Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property or birth, the right to such measures of protection as are required by his/her status as a minor.; Equal Rights of Men and Women

(a) The equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and all economic, social, and cultural rights set forth in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights shall be ensured;

(b) The human rights and fundamental freedoms embodied in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) shall also be reflected in the Interim National Constitution. No derogation from these rights and freedoms shall be made under the Constitution or under the ICCPR except in accordance with the provisions thereof and only with the approval of the Presidency and the National Legislature, as required by Section 2.3.14 herein;

(c) These human rights and fundamental freedoms shall be monitored by the Human Rights Commission specified in paragraph herein.

2.10 Other Independent and/or National Institutions to be Established in

Accordance with the Peace Agreement:

2.10.1 The National Constitutional Review Commission, as detailed in Section 2.12 herein, shall also detail the mandate and provide for the appointment and other mechanisms to ensure the independence of the following institutions:- A Human Rights Commission; 

Implementation History


No Implementation

The 60-Member National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) was formed on 23 April 2005; and the commission began drafting a new interim constitution on 30 April. The draft interim constitution was adopted by the National Assembly and the SPLM National Liberation Council on 6 July 2005.1 The constitution came into effect on 9 July 2005. The Human Rights provisions, including provision to establish the National Human Rights Commissions (NHRC), were incorporated in the interim constitution. Article 142 of the interim constitution contains provisions for the NHRC. The process for establishing the NHRC, however, was not initiated in 2005. Without the Human Rights Commission Act, the commission would not be established.

With respect to human rights improvements in Sudan, the 2005 CPA brought little change. As per the CPA requirement, the government lifted state of emergency throughout Sudan but Darfur and the east. Nevertheless, human rights violations such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, killings, looting, and rape took place on a regular basis.2


Minimum Implementation

Some progress was made in drafting NHRC Act. The draft act was submitted to the legislative department of the Ministry of Justice. Once the review was completed at the Ministry of Justice, the act would be submitted for the approval of the Council of Ministers.3 Nevertheless, the NHRC Act did not move forward. The NHRC was not established in 2006.

According to the Human Rights Watch, the human rights situation remained abysmal due to incidents of arbitrary arrests and detention, killings, looting and rape. Nevertheless, some progress was said made by the Government of Southern Sudan in terms of setting up the Human Rights Commission for the South.4


Minimum Implementation

The Government of National Unity in July 2007 submitted the NHRC Bill to the National Assembly to be discussed at the Assembly’s Human Rights Committee in October.5 Nevertheless, no significant progress was made in terms of establishing the NHRC as well as the Human Rights Commission for the South. Human Rights Watch suggested in its report that the security forces killed and injured seven people involved in protests against two dam projects in northern Sudan. Also, arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists, activists as well as restrictions on freedom of expression persisted.6


Minimum Implementation

Though already behind the schedule, the Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly finalized the draft law of NHRC on 29 December 2008. The draft law was said in line with the rights mentioned in the interim constitution. Also, the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly was considering the southern Sudan Human Rights Commission Bill.7 Nevertheless, the NHCR and the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission were not established in 2008. The human rights situation remained a serious concern. In July of 2008, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir on 10 counts of war crimes.8

  • 7. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, February 2009.
  • 8. "World Report – 2009," Human Rights Watch, 2009, accessed January 23, 2012,

Minimum Implementation

The human rights situation remained as grave as it was in 2008. South Sudan witnessed ethnic conflicts causing atrocities of civilian targeting and rapes. The Human security situation was worse.9 Despite grave situations related to human security, progress was made in terms of approving international conventions related to human rights. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol was ratified on 24 April 2009. The National Assembly endorsed the Child Act on 29 December 2009, which brought Sudan closer into line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.10

With respect to progress related to the NHRC, the National Assembly adopted the NHRC bill on 21 April 2009. The act provides that the president would appoint commissioners following consultation with the presidency. After the bill was adopted, the civil society groups in October submitted a list of 15 potential candidates to the presidency. Nevertheless, the commissioners of the NHCR were not appointed in 2009.11 With respect to the Human Rights Commission in southern Sudan, the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly passed the legislation on 3 February 2009. The commission started its outreach program in October 2009 in order to monitor and report on the human rights situation in southern Sudan. Furthermore, the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission had been expanded into eight of the ten southern states.12

  • 9. "World Report 2011- Sudan," Human Rights Watch, 2011, accessed January 30, 2012,
  • 10. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, December 2009.
  • 11. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, December 2009.
  • 12. Ibid.

Minimum Implementation

According to the U.S. State Department human rights report, there were numerous reports that the government and its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings. The SPLA soldiers also committed extrajudicial killings. There were several reports of disappearances, arbitrary detentions and arrests.13 The commissioners for the NHRC were not appointed in 2010. 


Minimum Implementation

The Human Rights situation did not improve. The armed group supported by Khartoum started rebellions in South Sudan against the GoSS. There was no progress in establishing a National Human Rights Commission. Also, with the secession of southern Sudan as an independent state after the referendum, the provision of the CPA referencing human rights became obsolete.

After much delay, Sudanese President al-Bashir issued a decree on 11 January 2012 to form a NHRC. He appointed 13 members in addition to Amal Hassan Babiker and Joseph Khalil Suleiman, as president and vice-President of the commission, respectively.14

  • 14. "President Bashir appoints members of Sudan’s human rights commission," Sudan Tribune, January 12, 2012.