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Sudan: UN experts condemn excessive use of force at protests

GENEVA (11 April 2019) – UN human rights experts* have condemned reports of excessive use of force against peaceful protesters in Sudan. While taking note of the latest reports that a military council is being formed, the experts called on the authorities to respond to the legitimate grievances of the people.   

More than 20 people have been killed and over 100 injured since 6 April, the experts said, adding they had also received reports of widespread arrests and attacks on journalists by the security forces.      

At a demonstration in front of the headquarters of the Sudanese Armed Forces in Khartoum, the National Intelligence and Security Services used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protesters, prompting the army to move in to protect them, the experts said.

"In this moment of crisis, the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly needs to be protected and guaranteed," said the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye.  

Protests erupted nearly four months ago when the Government attempted to raise the prices of bread and basic commodities.    

"I urge the authorities to lift the national state of emergency and respond to the legitimate grievances of the Sudanese people through inclusive peaceful political process," Voule said. “The Sudanese people, including human rights defenders, have the right to express their views and concerns through peaceful means, in particular on issues concerning fundamental rights,” added Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

The UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, said the State’s institutions are obliged to protect civilians and respect the people’s legitimate demands and constitutional rights. 

"I call on State authorities to uphold their primary responsibility to protect the civilian population in Sudan, and 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," Nononsi said.

The Independent Expert on Sudan welcomed an invitation from the Government to visit the country from 27 April - 5 May.

 "I urge the authorities to facilitate an independent and thorough investigation into the human rights violations committed during the protests, and call on the judiciary to stop using so-called emergency courts which do not adhere to fair trial standards,” Nononsi said.  

The UN experts expressed their readiness to cooperate with all parties to help establish a State where human rights are central and the rule of law upheld. 


(*) The UN experts: Mr. Aristide Nononsi from Benin, the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Sudan; Mr. Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, from Togo, the Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association; Mr. Michel Forst, from France, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Mr. David Kaye from United States of America, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right of freedom of opinion and expression

The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Proceduresof the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. 

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Sudan

Reports on Sudan by previous UN Independent Experts.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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