Rights for Peace has joined a letter from over 50 civil society organisations to Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council, urging them to recognise the unusual circumstances of the Sudan's upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and to urgently take steps to ensure that the process does not legitimise the unconstitutional actions of the military, who seized power in a coup on 25 October 2021. Read the full letter here in English and Arabic.
The UPR is is a unique mechanism of the Human Rights Council (HRC) aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground of each of the 193 UN Member States. Under this mechanism, the human rights situation of all UN Member States is reviewed every 5 years. The result of each review is reflected in the Final Report of the Working Group, which lists the recommendations the State under review will have to implement before the next review.
Sudan’s UPR is scheduled to take place on 1 February. Signatories to the letter highlight that:
Sudan’s UPR is taking place at an unusual and critical time for the nation. The unconstitutional transfer of power by the military dissolved the transitional institutions, while members of the civilian-led government were detained or arrested on 25 October 2021. The consequent political crisis and the resignation of former Prime Minister Abdala Hamdok on 2 January has raised legal questions regarding the legitimate representatives of the state.
The signatories to the letter call on UN Member States to reiterate condemnation of the military coup in the strongest terms, and to make recommendations requesting the military representatives to urgently transfer power to a civilian government. UN Member States should take this opportunity to hold the military and state security to account for the gross human rights violations that have taken place since 25 October 2021, which include:
the deaths of 77 peaceful protestors;
the unlawful use of force by state security on unarmed protestors, including the use of live rounds;
the granting of police powers to search, arrest, detain and confiscate property, as well as immunity from prosecution to the intelligence services, the Rapid Support Forces and the army;
the arrests and enforced disappearances of civil society leaders, particularly members of the resistance committees, and of the civilian-led transitional government;
the use of sexual violence by security forces, including the investigation by the OHCHR into the 13 women and girls reportedly raped or gang raped in December 2021;
reports of security forces arresting protestors who are seeking medical attention in hospitals and preventing injured persons from accessing medical treatment;
reports by the World Health Organisation of 15 attacks on health facilities and health care workers since November 2021; the harassment of journalists, including removal of licenses for media houses and the interference with communication and internet services since 25 October 2021;
the alarming rise in violence in Darfur and South Kordofan, and failures to protect communities from violence and mass displacement, for instance near Zamzam camp as recently as 19 January.