National and international efforts continued in order to resolve the political crisis in Sudan, which erupted after Army Commander General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan launched a coup d’état on 25 October 2021, in which civilian parties in the government led by Prime Minister Abdullah Hamduk were removed from the Sovereign Council governing the country.
The army effectively took control of all the country’s capabilities and overthrew its civilian partners in power “in order to save Sudan from going into civil war,” according to Al-Burhan. However, these actions provoked the Sudanese people, who had demonstrated for several days in defence of the civilian government. The military government responded by shooting the peaceful demonstrators and killing at least 12 people, according to paramedics.
Thousands took to the streets in many cities, denouncing the coup and its leader, General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan. After international and popular pressure to resume the democratic transition, Prime Minister Abdullah Hamduk was returned to his home and placed under heavy guard and other ministers were released as well.
According to Sudanese human rights actors, ministers and other officials who have not been released face criminal cases. Nevertheless, several sources confirm that many officials are still detained.
A Violent Response against Protesters
Demonstrations continue throughout the country, and small rallies of demonstrators have been organised in neighbourhoods around Khartoum, chanting slogans such as “Down with the Military Rule”. The resistance committees, which have led the protests since the coup, say they refuse to negotiate with the military government and have called for the army to abandon politics.
The demonstrations had been organised in commemoration of the third anniversary of the protests that toppled the regime of former President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, a protest against the military coup of 25 October and a rejection of the political agreement signed on 21 November 2021.
Human rights reports that 13 women and girls were raped or gang-raped, while others who were trying to flee the area around the Republican Palace were sexually harassed by security forces. The demonstrations resulted in the killing of two protesters and at least 300 wounded.
International Community Denounce the Violence against Protestors
These actions were strongly condemned by the international community and human rights organisations, calling on the military government to comply with the will of the people, to respect human rights, to stop using violence against people, and to respect freedom of expression.
The Human Rights Council condemned “in the strongest terms” the coup d’état carried out by the Sudanese army on 25 October and demanded that the Transitional Civilian Government, headed by Prime Minister Abdullah Hamduk, be restored immediately. The draft resolution also “condemns the arbitrary arrest” of Hamduk by the military, and reminds the military who took over power in the country of the “importance of full respect for human rights,” freedom of expression and the right to peaceful demonstration
In her speech to the Human Rights Council, Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the whereabouts of most of the detainees remain unknown, “and they have been held incommunicado, without being allowed to meet with lawyers or their relatives – enforced disappearance increases the risk of arbitrary arrests. Bachelet stressed that this disproportionate and lethal use of force by the Sudanese Armed Forces, and other security forces – including military police and intelligence – must end immediately. Those responsible for these and other human rights violations must be held fully accountable for their actions. Bachelet also referred to several disturbing reports of violence against women, including the raid on female students’ housing near the military headquarters in Khartoum on 25 October. The students were intimidated, beaten, and injured.