Sudan: Violent Crackdown on Protesters Requires Urgent Action by International Community

05/06/2019
Press release
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AFP / ASHRAF SHAZLY

Khartoum, Kampala, Paris, 5 June 2019 – According to medical sources in Khartoum at least 60 peaceful protesters were killed and more than 600 were injured since early Monday morning during a violent crackdown by security forces in Khartoum. ACJPS, SHRM and FIDH call for the urgent deployment of an international fact-finding mission, led by the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU), to investigate this repression and hold those responsible to account. The international community should also consider targeted sanctions and facilitating a process of accountability against the perpetrators.

Monday at dawn, members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and alleged militias [1]] attacked civilians participating in the peaceful sit-in in front of the army headquarters in Khartoum. The protesters had been camped out there since 6 April, demanding the transfer of power to civilians. The forces opened fire on protesters, beat them and burned their camp. This violent crackdown left at least 60 dead and 600 wounded, according to the most recent figures published by the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD). According to eyewitnesses, many other dead bodies were seen in the empty sit-in area as well as on RSF vehicles in transit to unknown destinations. One-hundred twenty protesters were arrested and are being detained in the northern Khartoum police station.

Monday afternoon, a significant number of security forces were deployed in the streets of the capital. Reports of continuing attacks in various neighborhoods in Khartoum and in other cities of Sudan lead us to believe that the death toll is far higher. Security forces also reportedly attacked at least two hospitals close to the sit-in area in Khartoum – Almoalim and Royal Care hospitals – in pursuit of the injured, beating up medical staff and volunteers, and firing guns and tear gas. Our organizations urge members of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) to put an immediate end to the violent attacks by the RSF and other security forces.

“This massacre marks a turning point in the developments that have occurred in Sudan over the past months. The hopes raised by Al-Bashir’s removal have given way to fears that the situation will degenerate further. The international community must seriously consider these risks and provide a coordinated and strong response to prevent further violence.”

Mossaad Mohammed Ali, ACJPS Executive Director

“The African Union and the United Nations, which have taken several verbal positions on the situation in Sudan, must now translate these stances into concrete actions and use their leverage to hold those responsible for the recent crimes to account, prevent further violence and guarantee that legitimate demands for democracy, peace and justice in Sudan are fully met.”

Arnold Tsunga, FIDH Vice President

Following Omar Al-Bashir’s removal from power, serious concerns have been raised over the composition of the TMC and the capacity of its members – some of whom are allegedly responsible for the perpetration of serious crimes, including during the war in Darfur – to lead a peaceful and democratic transition process. In light of the recent developments, our organizations reiterate their calls upon the international community, in particular the AU and the UN, to now act decisively to ensure that a national transition authority that is led by civilians is established in Sudan.

At the time of the publication of this press release, the situation is still very volatile in some neighborhoods of the capital. The military’s presence remains strong, which seems to indicate that repression might continue. The sit-in, which was a symbol of the revolution for nearly two months, has been entirely and violently dismantled.

Background

Protests broke out across Sudan on 19 December 2018. While initially focused on denouncing increases in prices of basic commodities, protests quickly developed into calling for the resignation of Omar Al-Bashir, leading to a violent response from security agencies, who did not hesitate to use tear gas and live ammunition to disperse protesters. At least 128 people have been killed, including at least 60 since April 6, while at least 816 others were arrested, some of whom were allegedly subjected to torture. The protests led to Al-Bashir’s removal from power on 11 April.

Signatories:
African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS)
Sudan Human Rights Monitor (SHRM)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Press Contacts:
ACJPS contact: Mossaad Mohammed Ali +256 779 584 542
FIDH press contact: Eva Canan +33 6 48 05 91 57

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