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ACJPS urges international probe into Sudan violence against protesters

May 15 - 2021 NEW YORK
Vigil in Khartoum in August 2020, commemorating protestors who went missing following the violent crackdown of the sit-in on June 3, 2019 (Social media)
Vigil in Khartoum in August 2020, commemorating protestors who went missing following the violent crackdown of the sit-in on June 3, 2019 (Social media)

The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) on Friday called on the international community “to urgently investigate the killing of two peaceful protesters and injury of 37 others” on May 11 in Khartoum.

“The response from the Sudanese authorities towards the assembly commemorating the 3 June massacre raises concerns about the continued reliance on repressive tactics to disrupt peaceful assembly,” the New York-based African Centre said in a statement on Friday.

Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the army headquarters in Khartoum on May 11/Ramadan 29 to commemorate the victims of the June 3/Ramadan 29 massacre two years ago, when more than 127 people present at the large anti-military sit-in near the army command were killed by government forces. More than 700 others sustained injuries, and at least 100 people went missing.

During the commemoration on Tuesday, armed men wearing the uniform of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) reportedly fired tear gas and live ammunition at the protesters and beat them with batons, the African Centre states. Osman Ahmed Badreldin and Modasir Mukhtar were killed by bullets.

At least 37 others were seriously injured, according to the Sudanese Doctors Central Committee. The wounded were taken to the Royal Care, Al Zaitoona and Fedail hospitals in central Khartoum.

In the afternoon of 10 May, a significant number of armed forces were deployed on the streets leading to the army headquarters in the country’s capital, to prevent people from organising the planned commemoration of what has become known as the June 3 massacre.

'International standards'

In its statement, the ACJPS urges the Sudanese authorities to respect “the right to peacefully assemble and restrict the use of force to extremely necessary circumstances, in line with international standards,” . The authorities should “ensure that law enforcement agencies comply with international standards on the use of force. It should be made clear that arbitrary or abusive use of force by security forces will be punished.

“Further, the enjoyment of freedom peaceful assembly, association and expression by Sudanese citizens is very crucial for the transition into a civilian-led government. We urge Sudanese authorities to respect these rights as guaranteed in the 2019 Constitutional Charter and international treaties ratified by Sudan.”

On May 12, the SAF formed a committee to investigate who ordered the shooting. Minister of Defence Lt Gen Yasin Ibrahim announced that those among the government forces accused of firing live bullets at the demonstrators the evening before, were detained and would be charged within a few days.

Many political parties as well as the Sudanese Employers Union strongly condemned the violence. The Sudanese Congress Party and the Nasserist Unionist Party withdrew their leaders from high-level government posts. The National Umma Party stated that “the security forces still do not comprehend the requirements of the democratic transformation,” and need urgent restructuring.

 


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