A UN human rights expert* has condemned reports of excessive use of force this week against protesters seeking a civilian-led transition in Sudan. Reports said at least six people were killed and about 100 injured.
Geneva, May 17, 2019.- On 13 May, reports indicated unidentified forces allegedly wearing the uniforms of the Rapid Support Forces used live ammunition at protests in Khartoum, killing six people including an army officer. Two days later, reports said Rapid Support Forces fired live ammunition at protesters trying to prevent the removal of roadblocks to clear the way to the army headquarters.
While the Transitional Military Council and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces opposition alliance announced progress towards an arrangement for the transitional period on 14 May, their talks were suspended following the violence on 15 May.
The UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, called on the Transitional Military Council to uphold its responsibility to provide protection for peaceful protesters all over Sudan, allowing them to express their views and concerns on the future of their country through peaceful means. He also urged the Declaration of Freedom and Change forces to also take appropriate measures to ensure peaceful protests and prevent provocative actions during protests.
Nononsi welcomed the Transitional Military Council’s announcement on 13 May on the establishment of an investigative committee into the recent violence. “The authorities must conduct thorough, independent and impartial investigations into the reported killings and use of force against protesters that occurred since the start of the protests on 19 December 2018, to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice,” he said. “I strongly urge the Sudanese military and security forces to exercise the utmost restraint to avoid further escalation of violence and to take immediate measures to protect the constitutional rights of the Sudanese people.”
The UN expert called on the two sides to resume talks and speed up the process on the transitional period arrangements to ensure a smooth transfer of power to a civilian-led transitional authority within the 60-day deadline as per the AU Peace and Security Council communiqué issued on 30 April 2019.
The UN expert expressed his readiness to cooperate with all parties to help establish a State where the legitimate demands of the Sudanese people are taken into account, human rights respected and the rule of law upheld.