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Sudan: Military coup risks compromising prohibition of torture

Joint News Release

Geneva, Khartoum – 26 October 2021

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) condemn the military coup perpetrated on 25 October in Sudan and urgently call for the release of civilian leaders arrested as well as for an investigation into the injuring and alleged killing of peaceful demonstrators.

On 25 October 2021, members of the Sudanese military arbitrarily arrested civilian leaders of the transition, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. As peaceful protests broke out in Khartoum and Omdurman, the military brutally attacked the unarmed demonstrators using live ammunition. This resulted in at least seven civilians killed and 140 injured.

There were recent disagreements and tensions between the military and the civilian transitional authorities”, said Mossaad Mohamed Ali, Executive Director of the ACJPS. “But yesterday’s military coup and bloody repression has put a stop to two years of important democratic changes and reforms that civil society organisations had advocated for. Numerous laws protecting human rights, including the rights of women against various abuses, are now at risk”. One such advance was the August 2021 ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which could now be threatened.

It is not the first time since the 2019 transition that law enforcement cracks down against peaceful demonstrations. Many civilians have been killed and injured over the past two years, including 17 injured last week. But the situation has never been so serious since Sudan started its fledgling democratic process. More protesters are expected to join the streets in the coming days. Human rights defenders risk being targeted. A thorough investigation into the abusive use of force, including the killings and injuring of protesters, should take place and perpetrators held accountable.

This is a critical moment for the future of democracy and human rights in Sudan”, said Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General. “The international community must send an unequivocal message to the putschists, signaling that the path of democratic transition is not reversible, requesting for the members of the transitional government to be immediately released and reestablished in their positions, and making it clear that no violation of the rights of the Sudanese people will be tolerated.

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is the largest global NGO group actively standing up to torture and protecting human rights defenders worldwide. It has more than 200 members in 90 countries. Its international Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The ACJPS is dedicated to creating a Sudan committed to all human rights, the rule of law and peace, in which the rights and freedoms of the individual are honoured and where all persons and groups are granted their rights to non-discrimination, equality and justice.

For more information, please contact :

OMCT: Iolanda Jaquemet, Director of Communications, +41 79 539 41 06

ACJPS: Mossaad Mohamed, Director of ACJPS

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