THE CoD CIVIL SOCIETY PILLAR EXPRESSED DEEP CONCERN ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN SUDAN
From the Community of Democracies Civil Society Pillar Chair and the Secretariat, we express our deep concern about the human rights situation in Sudan, and urge Community of Democracies Governing Council Member States to support the call for the the UN Human Rights Council to convene a special session and establish an investigative and accountability mechanism that addresses the alleged human rights violations and abuses in Sudan. In addition, we call on the two parties to continue the ceasefire without conditions in order to safeguard and guarantee the life and integrity of civilians.
In mid-April, the tension increased in the struggle for power in Sudan between two men who were allies and worked together and played a central role in the military coup in 2021. This tension triggered a series of violent clashes between Sudan’s Armed Forces (SAF), headed by Sudan’s military ruler Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary group the Rapid Support Force (RSF) whose leader is the country’s deputy General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (widely known as Hemedti)1.
The country experienced days of desolation, explosions and gunfire that have left behind serious human rights abuses and violations. The streets of the capital Khartoum have become a war zone, and civil society organizations have warned that these deadly clashes have spread to other regions, including Darfur2, a region that has been victim of one of the biggest and violent wars in the 21st century in this country3. The African Union (AU) and the Security Council noted that the situation above “could escalate into a full-blown conflict”.
On 25th April, the parties involved announced a 72-hour ceasefire, and early on Thursday evening, 27 April, they agreed to extend it for another three days but the fighting continues4. Civil Society organizations registered that at least 459 people have been killed and more than 4000 injured during this conflict. Nevertheless, these figures could be higher since this wave of violence has forced hospitals to cease their activities and citizens are trapped in their homes incommunicado and run out of water, food and medical supplies5.
This violent chapter in Sudan’s history is affecting millions of lives, so we as The Community of Democracies Civil Society Pillar join the call made by over 90 Sudanese, African, and international non-governmental organizations on the United Nations Human Rights Council to convene a special session to discuss the situation and to establish a mechanism that not only supports the work of the designated Expert on Sudan but also help to investigate, document and collect information on the human rights violations that have occurred since the beginning of these clashes and to find those responsible for, in order to break the cycle of impunity in the country. Furthermore, we call the Community of Democracies Governing Council Member States to diplomatically engage the international community to ensure a democratic transition in Sudan, and also urge our Civil Society Pillar members to reach out to their governments in leading and joining these diplomatic engagements. Finally, we call the two parties to continue the ceasefire6.
1 Fulton et al. “Sudan conflict: why is there fighting and what is at stake in the region?”. The Guardian. 27 April 2023.https://bit.ly/3naSNBQ
2 Elbagir N et al. “Rivals generals are battling for control in Sudan. Here’s a simple guide to the fighting”, CCN,26 April 2023, https://cnn.it/3Hmjhah.
3 International Criminal Court. “Darfur, Sudan”. March 2005. https://www.icc-cpi.int/darfur
4 Greenall, R. “Sudan crisis: ceasefire extended but fighting continues”. BBC. 28 April 2023. https://bbc.in/3NnsIdE
5 DefendDefenders. “Sudan: Urgently convene a special session of the Human Rights Council and establish an investigative mechanism”. 26 April 2023. https://bit.ly/44fA4pl