UN rights panel presses Sudan for coup

GENEVA – The highest UN human rights body on Friday decided to appoint an independent expert to monitor and report abuses in Sudan since...

GENEVA – The highest UN human rights body on Friday decided to appoint an independent expert to monitor and report abuses in Sudan since the military takeover less than two weeks ago, stepping up pressure international conference on the leaders of Africa’s third largest country to restore civilians to rule.

At an emergency session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, countries from all regions condemned the coup d’etat of 25 October, the use of lethal force by the Sudanese army against pro-democracy demonstrators and the enforced disappearance from secret places of ministers, politicians, lawyers and activists. They demanded their immediate release and the reinstatement of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was detained by the military.

The takeover by the Sudanese army threatened to upset a fragile transition to democracy in the country – the largest on the African continent behind Algeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – just as it emerged from decades of harsh autocratic rule and isolation.

The coup followed a difficult power-sharing deal with civilian leaders that was negotiated after a popular 2019 uprising that toppled longtime Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been wanted for years for genocide by the International Criminal Court.

Sudanese military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has pledged a return to a transitional government. But on Friday, mediation efforts by Volker Perthes, a veteran German diplomat overseeing a UN assistance mission in Sudan, showed no obvious progress.

On the contrary, three Sudanese civilian leaders who had met Perthes were reportedly arrested near the headquarters of the UN mission in Khartoum on Thursday, angering UN officials who said it undermined their organization’s role. .

“The UN mission calls on military leaders to stop arresting politicians and activists and to stop committing other human rights violations,” Farhan Haq, spokesperson for the secretary-general, told reporters on Friday. António Guterres in New York.

The Sudanese military took further action on Friday, suggesting that the junta leaders were trying to further strengthen their grip on the country. State television reported that it had dissolved the boards of directors of all state corporations and agricultural projects.

Since the coup, the military and security forces have killed at least 13 civilians and injured more than 300, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations high commissioner for human rights, told counsel. “Those responsible for these and other human rights violations must be held fully accountable for their actions,” she said.

The 47-member council passed a British-led resolution without a vote to immediately appoint an independent human rights expert who will work with the UN human rights office in Sudan to monitor and make report on developments until the reestablishment of civilian government.

Sudan first joined Britain, Germany, Norway and the United States in calling for the session, but later withdrew its support and its Ambassador in Geneva, Ali Mahmoud, did not speak at the event. Russia, China and Venezuela, who often oppose country-specific resolutions, criticized the resolution as unwarranted foreign interference but chose not to vote against it.

Although the Human Rights Council has no coercive power, its statements and recommendations can exert a coercive effect on countries that want to avoid the lens of embarrassment and ostracism.

Some diplomats present at the Council session did not limit their concern to the situation in Sudan. Africa has also been shaken in the past year by coups d’état in Mali and Guinea, as well as undemocratic power transitions in Chad and Tunisia that critics have denounced as coups.

Julia Imene-Chanduru, Namibia’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told the council that military coups should be criminalized and that it should send a message to “deter those who intend to seize power with the force of the gun ”.

Rick gladstone contributed reports.

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Newsrust - US Top News: UN rights panel presses Sudan for coup
UN rights panel presses Sudan for coup
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