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UN Expert on Human Rights Calls on Sudan to Investigate Crimes Against Protesters

UN Expert on Human Rights Calls on Sudan to Investigate Crimes Against Protesters

Sunday, 5 June, 2022 - 08:45
The UN expert on human rights in Sudan, Adama Dieng, at a press conference in Khartoum on Saturday, June 4, 2022. (AFP)

The United Nations Expert on Human Rights in Sudan, Adama Dieng, concluded his second visit to Khartoum on Saturday.

He did not notice any significant progress in the human rights situation in the country.

Dieng expressed his deep concern at the human rights violations documented since the October 25, 2021 military coup, denouncing the killing of 99 people and the injury of more than 5,000 as a result of excessive use of force by the joint security forces responding to protests.

He stressed that more bold and concrete actions are needed to improve the human rights situation and build confidence.

“I would like to underline that any political initiatives must be founded on human rights if they are to succeed and include justice and reparations for victims and accountability for those responsible for human rights violations,” he told a press conference on Saturday.

During his meeting with Sudanese officials on Friday, a protester was shot dead during the demonstrations to mark the violent dispersal by security forces of the June 3 pro-democracy sit-in in Khartoum in 2019.

Dieng said he was shocked by the killing of the young man.

“I – and many others – had called for restraint on Friday. However, it seems that this call was not heeded and, according to our information, live ammunition was used to disperse protestors,” he stated.

There can be no justification for firing live ammunition at unarmed protestors, he stressed, noting that his killing must be investigated immediately, and the perpetrator prosecuted.

He welcomed in his meetings with the authorities the lifting of the state of emergency and release of detainees arrested under emergency legislation, as well as the release last month of high-profile officials affiliated with the Dismantling Committee.

The UN official also raised his concern at the sexual and gender-based violence and acts of torture and ill-treatment in the course of arrest and during detention and lack of fair trial and due process guarantees.

He further communicated his concern in relation to intercommunal conflicts and large-scale attacks against civilians in Darfur, including the events of April 22 to 24 in Kreinik that claimed the lives of at least 172 people, almost all from the Massalit tribe, and displaced thousands.

He encouraged all Sudanese to contribute to efforts towards a political settlement and resumption of the important legal and institutional reforms started by the transitional government.

Dieng affirmed that the main purpose of his visit was to continue his engagement with the authorities on human rights concerns linked to the coup, follow up on the recommendations he made at the end of his last visit in February, and hear from civil society and victims of human rights violations.

Dieng, a Senegalese national, is tasked with monitoring the developing human rights situation in Sudan with the assistance of, and in close cooperation with, the UN Joint Human Rights Office in Sudan.

In performing his duties, he shall pay special attention to victims and ensure a gender perspective. He shall also engage with all relevant parties, including civil society.

On Sunday, Army Chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan lifted a state of emergency in force since the coup to set the stage for “meaningful dialogue that achieves stability for the transitional period.” However, security forces continued using violence to disperse peaceful protests.

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