GENEVA – The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties is following with great concern the developments of the situation in Sudan after the military seized power, declared a state of emergency, arrested a large number of civilian officials, and pardoned others. The Security forces opened fire on protesters who took to the streets, killing and wounding dozens.
Sudan’s military chief, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, declared a nationwide state of emergency on Monday, October 25, 2021, and the suspension of work on some articles of the constitutional document; a step that was followed by the arrest of Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, members of his government and other officials. This development came as the culmination of a crisis that has deepened in recent weeks between the military and civilian components that have been running the country’s affairs since 2019.
Civil forces called for demonstrations in the country, in response to the decision of the military component, and the unions declared civil disobedience, describing what happened as a “military coup.” Thousands of people flooded into the streets to protest the coup, security forces opened fire on some of the crowds, killing at least three protesters and wounding at least 80 people, according to the Sudan Doctors’ Committee. Later, Sudanese security forces stormed the headquarters of media outlets and arrested a number of media workers.
The Geneva Council expresses its deep concern about the current developments, and raises alarm over the human rights situation, amid apparent signs of using excessive force to suppress demonstrations, including killings, random arrests, and attacks on freedom of expression. The Council calls on the security forces to intervene to protect the demonstrators, to stop using force against them, and to stop all practices and violations of human rights rules.
It also urges all parties to resort to dialogue, to refrain from using force or taking any unilateral action, and to respect the will of the people, in order to reach a democratic civil government that achieves good governance and justice without exclusion. GCRL calls on the Sudanese judicial authorities to open an investigation into the killings and the suppression of Sudanese gatherings and to release detainees. It stresses that the stability of the country depends on the consolidation of democracy and the will of the people through free and democratic elections, leading to an elected government that rules by law and achieves justice in the country.
The Council recalls that Sudan has been living since August 21, 2019, in a transitional period – during which power is shared by the army and civilian forces, and armed movements signed a peace agreement with the government on the third of last October – that is supposed to end with elections in 2023.