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November 26 2008 | SUDAN


EU seeks dialogue on death penalty

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Sudan Tribune

EU seeks dialogue with Sudan on death penalty

(JUBA) - A delegation of European diplomats arrived in southern Sudan on Monday, seeking Sudan's support for a European Union call for a moratorium on the death penalty.

"There is a particular concern which is important for the European Union... which is the issue of the death penalty and the call by the EU on the moratorium on the execution of the death penalty," said French ambassador to Sudan, Christine Robichon.

Robichon spoke on behalf of a nine-member delegation of EU diplomats, including ambassadors from Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and representatives of the 27-nation bloc.

The interim constitution of semi-autonomous southern Sudan upholds the death sentence for those who commit the most serious crimes, and who are aged between 18 and 70, with pregnant women exempt.

In the north, dozens of people were this year sentenced to death by special courts, for alleged involvement in a Darfur rebel attack on Khartoum.

Amnesty International says Sudan is one of the leading nations that sentences minors to death.

The three days of scheduled talks mark the first time that such a large group of EU diplomats are holding dialogue in southern Sudan.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended two decades of civil war in Sudan awarded the south semi-autonomy and a power-sharing stake in government in Khartoum until a 2011 referendum on potential independence.

"We will discuss different issues, of course, the CPA which is a strongly supported by the EU and all issues related to democratic transformation, human rights, and good governance," Robichon said.

The French ambassador noted a "political will" in the south to create a democratic environment where civilians are protected, freedom of press upheld, and where accountability and transparency prevail.

"So we really have sessions on these issues, on human rights," she said.

Text and Picture Copyright 2008 AFP. All other Copyright 2008 EUbusiness Ltd. All rights reserved. This material is intended solely for personal use. Any other reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of the copyright owner is strictly forbidden and any breach of copyright will be considered actionable.

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