A very short window of hope for peace in Sudan

Jérôme Tubiana

Paris – Nairobi – Khartoum, 30 November 2021: In a new report published today, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its Sudanese member organisation, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) analyse the issues on justice and fight against impunity in the country since the beginning of the transition in 2019, based on documented new episodes of violence in Darfur.

This report, titled “Delays and Dilemmas: New Violence in Darfur and Uncertain Justice Efforts within Sudan’s Fragile Transition”, is based on a fact-finding mission conducted in January and February 2021 by FIDH and its partners in different locations in Sudan, including Darfur and Khartoum.

The report highlights the increase in violence in Darfur since the 2019 transition, notably in West Darfur historically the most peaceful of states of Darfur. The new violent episodes include attacks by security forces on civilians and unarmed protesters, as well as clashes between communities and among rival security forces. Many of our Darfuri interlocutors described the continuous violence in Darfur as a sign that Bashir’s fall did not bring about any change outside Khartoum. New violence quickly spiralled out of the control of the government, and the recent coup on 25 October is likely to fuel more tensions and violence in Darfur.

Since 2019, efforts by the transitional authorities towards justice and the fight against impunity in Sudan, including the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement, have been slow, due to pre-existing tensions and divisions among political and military actors. The multiplicity of provisions on justice, both within and outside the agreement, led to contradictory interpretations, not least on the crucial issue of cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC). Progress was also undermined by the persistence of conflicting views between the agreement’s signatories, as well as more generally between political players from the central states and those from the peripheries. These divisions contributed to the military coup in October 2021, which risk halting justice reforms.

At this critical time, with joint security forces continuously repressing violently the peaceful civilian protests, and despite the return to power of Prime Minister Hamdok after being ousted by the country’s military, action needs to be taken to protect human rights and achieve a peaceful and just transition in Sudan.

"The aspirations of the Sudanese people for peace and justice, particularly in Darfur, must finally be addressed without further delay. Efforts already undertaken in this direction must be enhanced in the context of a peaceful transition leading to a return to civilian rule with the holding of elections."

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

Sudan must urgently resume its transition, ending the ongoing acts of violence and repression, releasing all political prisoners in the country, and prosecuting those responsible for human rights violations. Our organisations call for the swift establishment of a regional or international independent investigation into human rights violations committed since the military coup on 25 October 2021.

The international community must provide concrete support to a civilian-led democratic transition and urge transitional authorities to prioritise peace and justice in Darfur and the implementation of implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement. Otherwise, the revolution’s slogan of “freedom, peace and justice” will remain a broken promise.

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