International United Nations Watch expresses its deep concern about events currently unfolding in Khartoum, where as of yesterday, the Sudanese military moved against a major sit-in, leading to the deaths of at least thirty-five people, and an unknown number of injuries. Protesters staged the sit-in outside military headquarters, as a clear show of force, as civilian politicians, protesters, and the military attempted to negotiate over who will run the country, following the April resignation of longtime president Omar Al-Bashir. Earlier today, Gen. Abedel Fattah Al-Barhan accused protesters of dragging out negotiations, and announced that the ruling military council would be cancelling all agreements with protesters, and holding elections within seven months.
IUNW condemns this violent escalation, on the part of the Sudanese military, and calls for a civilian-led transition to take place, with an immediate investigation into yesterday’s violence.
While an election may be able to take place, in procedural terms, on the backdrop of this crackdown, it is plainly obvious that it would not satisfy international standards, and certainly not the democratic spirit of the movement that has unseated Al-Bashir, and led to pro-democracy protests elsewhere in the region.
IUNW is particularly concerned with the strong role of UN member states in the violence. IUNW is of the opinion that the UN should pressure some membr states not to intervene in Sudan for political and economic ambitions, particularly as it relates to financial and diplomatic support, in addition to arms sales.
IUNW also joins UN leaders, agencies, and important NGOs, in its condemnation of the crackdown in Khartoum. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the crackdown, and has also called for an independent investigation into the events, calling it ‘excessive force.’ Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, also expressed alarm at yesterday’s events, particularly singling out the fact that live ammunition was used throughout, including next to medical facilities. Amnesty International has gone further to urge the United Nations Security Council to consider imposing sanctions on members of Sudan’s ruling military council, with a legal justification that IUNW believes has great merit.
IUNW urges the Sudanese military ruling council, and its allies, to stand down, and calls on all relevant UN bodies to do their part to secure the democratic ambitions of the Sudanese people, and prevent further bloodshed, that is likely to ensure if the current trajectory is not halted.