CSW has joined 51 civil society organisations in writing to Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, urging them to ensure that Sudan’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) does not legitimise the unconstitutional actions of the Sudanese military, who seized power in a coup on 25 October 2021.
Sudan’s UPR is scheduled to take place on 1 February. Signatories to the letter write: “Sudan’s UPR is taking place at an unusual and critical time for the nation. The unconstitutional transfer of power by the military dissolved the transitional institutions, while members of the civilian-led government were detained or arrested on 25 October 2021. The consequent political crisis and the resignation of former Prime Minister Abdala Hamdok on 2 January has raised legal questions regarding the legitimate representatives of the state.”
The letter states that it would have been preferable if the UPR had been postponed; however, it acknowledges that the cancellation of the review “may have proven difficult, given the modalities of the third cycle.”
The situation of human rights in Sudan has deteriorated significantly since the coup. Over the past three months activists have continued to organise protests against the military, which has responded with violence. At least 77 protesters have been killed, hundreds have been arrested or forcibly disappeared, and concerning reports have emerged of the use of rape and sexual violence by security forces.
Prime Minister Hamdok resigned on 2 January, and on 19 January the leader of the military, Lieutenant General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, created a caretaker government comprising of under-secretaries of government ministries. Al-Burhan has also appointed numerous figures close to the former al Bashir regime to senior positions within the civil service.
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “While it has not been possible to delay this important review of Sudan’s human rights record, it is essential that UN Member and Observer States ensure that the review does not confer legitimacy on the Sudanese military in any way. The Council must maintain scrutiny on the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in Sudan, and hold the military accountable for the egregious violations it has perpetrated since seizing power undemocratically in October 2021. We appeal to the military to facilitate the swift transfer of power to civilians, and to cease all violations against Sudanese citizens who are exercising their fundamental freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”