CSOs call for independent and credible investigations

Association and Peaceful Assembly 

On 23rd September 2019, the Sudanese Prime Minister announced the establishment of a national investigation committee to investigate the attacks against pro-democracy demonstrators on 3rd June 2019. As covered previously by the CIVICUS Monitor, the demonstration caused the death and injury of hundreds of protesters.

The committee includes representatives from the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, a national figure and two independent lawyers. Although the independence of the committee was guaranteed in the decree that created the commission, Human Rights Watch expressed concern about the inclusion of a representative from the Ministry of Defence as they "were responsible for a wide range of abuses that took place just outside the ministry’s buildings on 3rd June."

In addition, 17 civil society organisations sent a joint letter to UN urging the Council to take action and implement a credible response to the situation. The statement requested an investigation into violations committed since December 2018, renewing the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sudan, and strengthening monitoring and reporting by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The report by the Independent Expert on Sudan that was discussed during the 42nd session reveals serious human rights violations including with regard to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly.

Regarding attacks against women human rights defenders, the report noted:

“The Independent Expert received allegations of dozens of instances of rape, gang rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and men that reportedly took place during the joint security operations led by the Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum on 3rd June and the following days."

Women human rights defenders played a fundamental role during the protests in Sudan. An analysis prepared by WHRD MENA stated that at the start of anti-regime demonstrations in December 2018, women and women human rights defenders were increasingly targeted. Testimonies included in the analysis show their exposure to various forms of violence and threats, including sexual violence and threats of rape. The Regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa called on the Human Rights Council to establish an international inquiry to investigate gross human rights violations and the widespread use of rape and sexual violence against Sudanese women protesters and activists.

Tags: women