MONTREAL, August 1, 2019 – We call on Canada and the international community to strongly condemn the ruthless violence and repression on democratic movements in Sudan, take urgent diplomatic action to end impunity and prevent further human rights violations and violent crackdown on dissent and support the people of Sudan’s long struggle for establishment of a civilian-led interim body.
In December 2018, peaceful protesters took to the streets in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan to demand an end to the three-decade authoritarian rule. This mass movement led to the ousting of Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. In response to the peaceful protests, armed forces and militias have killed and wounded hundreds of civilians, attacked medical facilities, perpetrated sexual violence and carried-out mass arrests.
State violence reached a peak on June 3 when the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) attacked a peaceful protest camp set outside the military headquarters in Khartoum. In the immediate aftermath of this attack, more than 100 people were killed, as many as 700 injured and over 70 rape cases were reported in Khartoum hospitals, according to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors (CCSD). The extent of sexual violence and other forms of violence remains unknown; many people are still missing. Following the deadly attacks, Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) ordered a near total blackout of the Internet as a means to control communications and dissent.
All over the country, violent crackdowns on protesters are ongoing. On July 29, live ammunition was used against a peaceful rally of high school students in the central town of El Obeid, in Northern Kordofan, killing five civilians, including four schoolchildren. In conflict zones of Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, populations continue to be attacked and deprived of food, medicine and basic services.
Sudan has failed to conduct credible investigations into abuses committed on civilians since December 2018. Despite a pledge made on July 5 by the TMC to investigate violence, violations of international human rights and humanitarian law continue unabated.
Since the military coup in 1989, vibrant resistance movements across Sudan and its diaspora provided a counterweight to state violence and authoritarianism through demonstration of strength, dedication, perseverance and creativity. At this critical period of time in the country’s history, it is crucial to stand in solidarity with its people and reaffirm their right to peace, justice, democracy and the full respect of their human rights.
In light of this, we join the voices of Sudanese civil society and the diaspora to support the people’s urgent call for an independent and reliable investigation into violations and abuses committed in Sudan since December 2018 as a first step in ending impunity.
We recognize the need to support the three-decade-long struggle of Sudanese people for democracy, which must begin by making way, as stated by the African Union Commission, to a civilian government that is accountable to all people in the country.
We also acknowledge the essential role that women played throughout the different periods in Sudan, their significant contribution in building strong civic movements and their tremendous efforts since the start of the revolution. Thus, we endorse the Sudanese Women’s declaration for Change No (1) April 2019 that calls for the full participation and inclusion of women in the transition body, and reaffirm the urgent need to repeal all laws restricting the rights of women and girls.
Finally, we extend our deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones in the violence.