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STATEMENT FROM THE LEADER OF THE DELEGATION OF UK PARLIAMENTARIANS TO SUDAN 16-20 SEPTEMBER, DAVID DREW MP:*

“Last week I led a delegation of four parliamentarians from the UK to Sudan.

Our two countries have a unique and enduring bond. It was great to renew that relationship and reiterate our commitment to peace and prosperity for the Sudanese people. We met with Sudanese people in Government, parliament and civil society to see first-hand the challenges and opportunities facing the country today.

We visited Darfur and warned that the rapid withdrawal of UNAMID, without a clear plan, puts stability and security in Darfur at risk. It’s vital that the UN maintains a strong presence to provide security for humanitarian organisations, to ensure the rule of law and Human Rights are respected, and to help those communities displaced by conflict rebuild.

We raised human rights concerns directly with the Government of Sudan, urging them to cease the arbitrary arrest and detention of civil society activists. We called on Ministers to respect the rights of women, safeguard Freedom of Religion or Belief for all minorities, and respect their democratic constitution which guarantees rights for all Sudanese people and acts as a vital check on executive power.

We heard directly from human rights defenders about the immense challenges they face living under this Government, and from independent Sudanese businesses about the ongoing impact of US sanctions. We spoke to migrants travelling through Sudan from across Africa who are at risk of exploitation by a cruel human trafficking industry, and met with Internally Displaced People in Darfur who were still afraid to return to the homes they fled over a decade ago.

Thank you to all those who made this visit possible – we will take all this knowledge and experience back with us to the UK parliament and continue our work promoting peace, social justice and human rights in Sudan.”

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