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Briefing notes on Sudan

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Cécile Pouilly
Location: Geneva
Date: 27 September 2013

We are deeply concerned about reports that a significant number of people have been killed during the demonstrations taking place across Sudan since Monday.
The demonstrations, which started in Sudan’s central state of Gezira to protest against the government’s decision to suspend subsidies on fuel, are reported to have spread later to other parts of the country including Khartoum, Omdurman, Darfur and Eastern Sudan.

In Khartoum, violent clashes erupted between demonstrators and police forces, resulting in an unknown number of casualties.

Security forces are reported to have used excessive force in suppressing the protests, with security agents allegedly firing live ammunition at some protesters and beating others. Witnesses speak of bodies of dead demonstrators with gunshot wounds in the upper torso and head. There have also been reports of destruction of property by demonstrators.

We would like to remind the authorities that under international law, intentional lethal use of firearms can only be justified when strictly unavoidable and only in order to protect life. We therefore call on law enforcement officials to show utmost restraint and make sure that they comply at all times with international human rights obligations and international standards on policing.

We call on all parties to refrain from resorting to violence and on protesters to maintain the peaceful nature of their demonstrations.
We also urge the authorities to respect the civil liberties of those protesting and, in particular, their right to assemble peacefully and express their views.
ENDS

For further information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 or + 41 79 506 1088 /rcolville@ohchr.org), Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 or +41 79 618 3430 / cpouilly@ohchr.org) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org)

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