Respond to ‘legitimate grievances’ of Sudanese people, UN human rights experts urge, following protests

The two human rights experts highlighted reports of escalating violence on the part of Sudan’s security forces, which media reports say has led to the deaths of at least 19 demonstrators in the past nine days, and the use of tear gas on Friday against protesters near the capital, Khartoum.

The experts also voiced concerned over reports of arbitrary arrests and detentions of an unidentified number of protesters, including students and political activists. 

The rights experts reminded the Government that in May 2016 it had pledged to foster an environment that supports inclusive dialogue, and legal reforms which would promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. “The events of recent days do not demonstrate this commitment,” they stressed.

The experts underscored their readiness to cooperate with the Sudanese authorities to work towards a State where human rights are central, and the rule of law is upheld.

According to news reports, some protesters have been calling for an end to President Omar al-Bashir’s 27-year rule, pointing out that in 2018, some goods have more than doubled in cost, while inflation has risen to nearly 70 per cent amid sharp falls in the value of the Sudanese pound.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. They are not paid for their work.

Secretary-General António Guterres, who is also following the developments with concern, appealed “for calm and restraint” and called on the authorities “to conduct a thorough investigation into the deaths and violence.”

The UN chief extended his condolences to all those who have lost loved ones, and emphasized the need to safeguard freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

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