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U.S. criticizes Sudan human rights ahead of sanctions lifting deadline
June 30, 2017 / 11:14 AM / 5 months ago

U.S. criticizes Sudan human rights ahead of sanctions lifting deadline

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - The United States said on Friday it was “very concerned” about Sudan’s human rights record, which was supposed to have improved by early July in order for Washington to lift sanctions against the country.

In January, the outgoing Obama administration gave Sudan 180 days to improve its record and resolve its political and military conflicts before Washington lifted some economic sanctions that had been stepped up in 2006 for what it said was complicity in violence in Sudan’s Darfur region.

But with the deadline approaching, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum said on its Facebook page it wants to see the Sudanese government make “stronger progress” towards these goals.

“The United States remains very concerned about Sudan’s human rights record, including the continued closing of political space, and restrictions on religious freedom, freedom of expression, including press freedom,” the statement said.

The embassy said it was still monitoring the government’s progress to determine if it had met the requirements for sanctions to be lifted in July.

“In this process we have pressed to ensure Sudan has adhered to its unilateral cessation of hostilities in conflict areas and ceased all indiscriminate aerial bombardment, a key human rights concern,” it said.

The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have been killed and millions displaced during the Darfur conflict.

On Thursday the U.N. Security Council agreed to gradually reduce the number of peacekeepers in Darfur that could almost halve the number of troops over the next year if conditions are conducive and the government is cooperative.

Sudan is one of six countries whose citizen are subject to new restrictions on travel to the United States, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision this week to revive parts of President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Sudan said on Tuesday it hoped the restrictions would not affect the planned lifting of sanctions.

Reporting by Khaled Abdelaziz; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Alison Williams

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