Sudan must end repression and give monitors access, UN rights boss says
Michelle Bachelet says her office has reports that more than 100 protesters were killed during an assault by security forces
Geneva — Sudanese authorities must grant human rights monitors access to the country, end “repression” against protesters and restore the country’s internet, UN human rights boss Michelle Bachelet said on Monday.
Her office had received reports that more than 100 protesters were killed and many more injured during an assault by security forces on a peaceful sit-in outside the defence ministry on June 3, she said.
Sudan’s uprising “has been met with a brutal crackdown by the security forces this month”, Bachelet said in a speech opening a three-week session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Sudan’s ruling military council said on Sunday that Ethiopia and the AU needed to unify their efforts to mediate between the council and an opposition coalition on the structure of the country’s transitional government.
The generals and the opposition have been wrangling for weeks over what form Sudan’s transitional government should take after the military deposed long-time president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.
Meanwhile, AFP reports that Sudan’s army rulers on Sunday appealed to the AU and Ethiopia to unify their efforts in outlining a blueprint for a political transition in the crisis-hit country. The generals expressed reservations about an Ethiopian proposal that, according to protest leaders, calls for a civilian-majority ruling body.
Ethiopia and the AU have stepped up diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Sudan, which has been wracked by tensions between the protest leaders and generals. The crisis was worsened by the June 3 bloody dispersal of a long-running protest camp outside the army headquarters in Khartoum.
Sunday’s call by the ruling generals comes after the mediators met with the military council’s chief, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
Burhan “underlined that the mediators’ efforts should focus on preparing a joint proposal,” council spokesperson Gen Shamseddine Kabbashi told a news conference. He also criticised the Ethiopian mediator for delays and for presenting a proposal “different” from the AU’s.
On Saturday leaders of the umbrella protest movement the Alliance for Freedom and Change said they accepted the creation of a civilian-majority governing body for a political transition in Sudan as proposed by Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian compromise blueprint suggests the creation of a 15-member governing body, including eight civilians and seven members of the military, they said.
The bloody June 3 break-up of the rally came after protest leaders and the generals failed at previous talks to agree on the composition of a new ruling body and who should lead it — a civilian or soldier.
At least 128 people have been killed in the crackdown, the majority of them on that day, doctors linked to the protest movement say. The health ministry put the June 3 death toll at 61 nationwide.
The generals deny they ordered the army HQ protest be broken up, insisting they authourised only a limited operation to clear drug dealers from around the camp. They expressed “regret” over the “excesses” that happened on June 3.