Countries set to request emergency session of UN rights body on Sudan

By Emma Farge

GENEVA (Reuters) -A group of countries is set to request an urgent meeting of the U.N. human rights body on the Sudan crisis next week, a document showed on Friday, in a move that rights activists hope will increase scrutiny of violations by rival military factions.

The letter dated May 5 showed that Britain, the United States, Germany and Norway are set to ask the council’s president to convene a meeting to examine the surge in violence in the country since April 15.

Diplomats told Reuters they had the backing of at least a third of the 47-member council, as required by its rules.

A U.N. spokesperson said the letter had not yet been received. Sudan’s diplomatic mission did not immediately respond.

The U.N. Human Rights Council, the only body made up of governments to protect human rights worldwide, does not have legally binding powers, but its debates can spur investigations that feed evidence to national and international courts.

Last week, a group of over 90 non-governmental organisations wrote an open letter calling for the special session. What remains to be determined is whether members will seek a formal probe into alleged human rights abuses there which include the killings of hundreds of civilians and attacks on hospitals.

(Reporting by Emma FargeEditing by Miranda Murray)