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UN expert on human rights in Sudan: ‘Violations and frightening reports, it is time to stop them’

February 25 - 2022 KHARTOUM
UN expert on human rights in Sudan, Adama Dieng (RD)
UN expert on human rights in Sudan, Adama Dieng (RD)

The UN expert on human rights in Sudan, Adama Dieng, painted a bleak picture of the human rights situation in Sudan, as a result of the massive violations committed by the security services against peaceful protesters since last October. The UN official called for the State of Emergency to be abolished and to stop the use of live ammunition against the demonstrators.

On Thursday, Dieng ended his first visit to Sudan since he was assigned to this file, and held meetings that included officials in the Ministry of Justice and Public Prosecution, and the families of detainees, and visited Soba prison, east of the capital, Khartoum.

In a press conference on Thursday, Dieng expressed his affection for the losses suffered by the youth over the past months and said, “I visited Soba prison and was affected by the losses suffered by the youth. They told of their suffering over the past period. They spoke with sadness about their friends who were killed in the context of the popular protests.”

He pointed out to prevent their families from visiting them in prisons, declaring his welcome for the release of more than 100 detainees, and also demanded the immediate release of 20 other detainees.

And he added, “Activists should not be kept in detention. These are inviolable rights. What I saw and heard made me very sad. I met Tupac’s mother and was impressed by her steadfastness. She told me that her son was beaten and tortured, and I could not meet him.”

The expert said that he had received a “frightening report” from the women who were released from the women’s prison, where they told him that those sentenced to death are being chained and deprived of treatment and good food, which is considered inhuman, and stressed his intolerance for the violations that women are subjected to.

He also revealed his meeting with prominent leaders of the Committee for the Elimination of Empowerment, frozen in Soba prison, and said that they told him that the prosecution had conducted an investigation with them and said that the authorities did not allow them to meet with lawyers, stressing the need to deal with their case with proper procedures.

He described the conditions in Soba prison as good, stressing that it provides food to detainees, in addition to a special room for convicts to meet their wives.

He added, “It seems that Sudanese law provides for these rights. Convicts can meet their wives in rooms designated for them in Soba prison, and this is something I did not find in many African countries that I visited.”

Dieng stated that the detainees cannot communicate with lawyers and considered it a violation, and considered the security forces’ firing on the demonstrators a major violation, calling for reducing tension, ending the state of emergency, creating an enabling environment, and respecting basic rights.

The UN expert expressed his fear of the wide powers granted to the Sudanese security services, and called on the Public Prosecutor to investigate allegations of about 13 cases of sexual rape, of which only one was confirmed.

He said that he met with families affected by the army’s actions and was informed that the protests against the military coup left 82 dead and “2,000” wounded.

He said, “These young people have no desire to destroy their country, but rather hope to put it on the right track, and pledged to end the dictatorship.” He continued, “Women and men are determined to achieve justice and democracy, but these hopes remain just dreams unless there are strong policies and the rule of law prevails.” .

“I came years ago to Sudan and found its people aspiring to establish a democratic system, but those hopes quickly faded when Omar Al Bashir turned against democracy, who is now in detention, and I hope to see him soon brought to justice to be held accountable,” he said.

He stressed that he discussed the situation in Darfur and demanded the necessity of activating the forces to protect civilians and implementing the security arrangements signed within the Juba Agreement, revealing that he had received information about the killing of dozens in the region and women being subjected to sexual violence in the context of tribal violence, and called for holding the perpetrators accountable.

He explained that the massacre of the sit-in was not within the context of his mandate, but he stressed finding a solution to it and identifying those responsible, and continued: “Impunity must not prevail in Sudan, which has suffered from human rights violations for a long time. It is time to stop these violations.”

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