Geneva – A report to the UN Human Rights Council says the October military coup in Sudan dealt a blow to that country’s nascent democracy that may be difficult to reverse.
In her presentation of the report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, lamented the abrupt reversal of the progress towards democratic rule that had been made since the ousting of former President Omar el -Bashir in April 2019.
She said the October military coup once again plunged Sudan into deep crisis. Since then, she said, a wide range of human rights violations have occurred with impunity. She noted that thousands of peaceful protesters have taken to the streets of Sudan to demand their rights.
“At the same time, the repeated use of excessive force by security forces persists,” she said. “Live ammunition and offensive weapons such as machine guns and shotguns are being used directly against protesters, and tear gas canisters have been fired as weapons at their heads and bodies, in clear violation of international law. “
The report documents numerous violations perpetrated by security forces, including attacks on hospitals, medical facilities and healthcare workers. It describes a series of arbitrary arrests and detentions targeting prominent protest organizers and protesters. He says even children who participated in protests have been killed, injured and arrested.
Bachelet expressed shock at allegations of dozens of rapes, gang rapes and other forms of sexual violence against women, girls and men. She warned that attacks on journalists and human rights defenders were increasing, posing a serious threat to the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
“The political crisis in Sudan has caused extremely worrying setbacks in human rights. There is an urgent need for the Sudanese authorities to take credible measures to restore a civilian administration based on democracy and the rule of law, and s to embark on the path of justice, equality, dignity and peace for the people of Sudan,” she said.
Sudan’s acting justice minister, Mohammed Saied Al-Hilo, said his government is committed to respecting international and regional human rights conventions ratified by Sudan – and that his country is committed to continue its transition to democracy.
He said the government has begun to investigate allegations of human rights abuses. He added that all political prisoners have been released except those awaiting trial for criminal charges.