UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Sudan has withdrawn its candidacy for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council following strong criticism from human rights and pro-democracy groups.
Sudan's U.N. Mission said in a letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press that "it is no longer interested in taking up one of the vacancies available in the Human Rights Council."
Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, is accused of war crimes in Darfur, but Sudan was virtually guaranteed a seat as one of five African candidates for five African seats on the 47-member council.
The letter gave no reason for pulling out of the November election in the U.N. General Assembly.
Philippe Bolopion, U.N. director of Human Rights Watch, said "The worst human rights offenders are slowly recognizing they are not welcome on the Human Rights Council."