Sudan: the army must restore the authorities in charge of the democratic transition

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Khartoum, Nairobi, Paris, 28 October 2021 – The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) and the Sudan Human Rights Monitor (SHRM) condemn in the strongest terms the military coup of 25 October, and the arrests of around 20 people from the Sovereign Council and Council of Ministers, and other senior officials, including the Prime Minister together with two leaders of Darfur Peace agreement, among whom two have been allegedly subjected to torture

Our organisations are deeply concerned by the statement of General Burhan on October 25 declaring the dissolution of the governing bodies, the suspension of key articles of the Constitutional Charter for the Transitional Period adopted in 2019 and endorsed by the Military Council, the establishment of a nationwide state of emergency, and the imposition of an internet shutdown aimed at silencing the voices of civilians, human rights defenders and civil society organisations. We are also concerned with General Burhan’s decision on October 26 to dissolve the committees managing the country’s trade unions.

Our organisations strongly condemn the violent and disproportionate repression by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of demonstrators who protested peacefully in defiance of this coup d’état. At the time of writing, protests were ongoing. As a result of excessive use of power and live bullets fired on crowds by SAF and RSF, at least seven people are reported to have died and some 150 have been hurt. On October 25, a raid of Central Khartoum University Hostel by joint forces from SAF and RSF, led to the beating of hundreds of students by the military.

We call on the armed forces, the police and all security forces to refrain from unnecessary, unjustified and disproportionate use of force, and to respect people’s right to peaceful assembly, association and freedom of expression, including in the media and online. "

Mossaad Mohamed Ali, Executive Director of ACJPS

The military and their allies need to strictly respect and implement the Constitutional Charter of 2019 that meets the Sudanese people’s aspirations for freedom, peace and justice, handing over the Head of the Sovereign Council to the civilians, and the Juba Peace Agreement setting the conditions for the organisation of free and fair elections. 

Efforts to fight against impunity and push for transitional justice mechanisms should be pursued. Perpetrators of grave human rights violations, including international crimes committed during the Al-Bashir regime, but also crimes committed during the transition period, notably around the 3 June massacre, must be held accountable.”"

Alice Mogwe, President of FIDH

The cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on its investigation and prosecutions in the Darfur/Sudan situation, including against Al-Bashir and other high-level perpetrators of international crimes committed in Darfur since July 2002, must remain a priority in this regard.

We call on States to publicly condemn the coup and immediately suspend exports of weapons and ammunitions to Sudan over concerns of further human rights violations. 

The situation is critical, with a risk to see all efforts towards democracy and respect of human rights, since the October 2020 Juba Peace Agreement, being undermined. We call upon Sudan’s partners, and in particular IGAD, the African Union, and the European Union to coordinate their efforts in favor of the restoration of a peaceful civilian transition.”

Magdi El Na’im, Representative of Sudan Human Rights Monitor abroad (SHRM)

We welcome the decision of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) to suspend the participation of Sudan in all AU activities until the effective restoration of the civilian-led Transitional Authority and to undertake a mission to Sudan to engage with all stakeholders. We reiterate the urgency for the Chairperson of the AU Commission to take necessary measures and intensify his engagement with the leaders of the Transitional Government and the Sovereign Council. We further ask the Peace and Security Council (PSC) to put in place all preventive measures to avoid the commission of crimes against humanity in compliance with article 4-h of the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the corresponding articles in the Peace and Security protocol. 

We strongly ask the the Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to immediately condemn the military coup and call for the immediate and unconditional release of all arbitrary detainees, starting with civilian authorities who must be reinstated in their functions.”

Mabassa Fall, Permanent Representative of FIDH to the African Union

We echo the statements made by the UN Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the strong calls to support the Sudanese people’s aspiration to consolidate democracy. In this regard, the decision of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2021 not to renew its scrutiny and assistance on the human rights situation in Sudan was premature and should be reviewed. We call on Member States of the UN Human Rights Council to urgently convene a Special Session on Sudan, to adopt a resolution to condemn the coup and to take adequate measures to support human rights reforms in Sudan.

We further ask for the swift establishment of a regional or international independent investigation into human rights violations committed with relation to the coup. 

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