MILITARY SEIZES POWER IN SUDAN AMIDST LARGE-SCALE PROTESTS
On Monday, 25 October, the military in Sudan seized power, detaining Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other civilian leaders in an ongoing coup. This is the second coup attempt since 21 September. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the joint civilian-military Sovereign Council that is responsible for Sudan’s transition to democracy, dissolved the transitional body and announced a state of emergency. General Burhan justified the coup by asserting that increasing tensions between the military and civilians were pushing the country towards civil war. He also asserted the military’s intention to remain committed to the democratic and political transition, with elections scheduled for July 2023.
Sudan’s transitional authorities came to power after country-wide protests brought an end to then-President Omar al-Bashir’s thirty-year rule in April 2019. While Sudan’s political transition remained fragile, the military’s takeover threatens the considerable progress that transitional authorities have made with economic, political, and institutional reforms. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned that it would be “disastrous if Sudan goes backward after finally bringing an end to decades of a repressive dictatorship.”
Thousands of protesters have demonstrated across the country, demanding the reinstatement of the civilian-led government. At least seven people have reportedly been killed and more than 140 injured by security forces during the protests so far. Reports indicate the heavy presence of security forces, most from the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), patrolling parts of the capital, Khartoum, and allegedly arresting local protest organizers. The RSF and other security forces in Sudan have a long record of abuses and atrocities, including during protests. The military leaders who orchestrated Monday’s coup also ordered the RSF to attack protesters on 3 June 2019 at a sit-in outside the army’s headquarters, killing at least 100 people and injuring hundreds of others. UN Secretary-General António Guterres called upon all Sudanese stakeholders to “immediately return to dialogue, and engage in good faith to restore the constitutional order and Sudan’s transitional process.” Security forces should protect the fundamental right to peaceful assembly and refrain from using excessive and deadly force against protesters. Sudan’s military and political leaders must prioritize human rights and the protection of civilians in any discussion regarding the country’s future. Savita Pawnday, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, said that, “the international community should unequivocally stand with the people of Sudan by calling for a credible political transition that respects the people’s desire for democratic reform.”
The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P) is an independent organization that focuses on conducting research analysis and advocacy in relation to mass atrocity.
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