News from Khartoum
US, Troika countries denounce violation of right to peaceful assembly in Sudan
The United States of America on Wednesday condemned the use of violence against peaceful protesters, and urged the release of all detainees, saying normalization of relations including the removal of Sudan’s name from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism requires ensuring unrestricted freedoms.
The United States of America, Norway and the UK issued a joint statement condemning the use of excessive force to contain protests in Sudan. The Troika made it clear that continued bloody repression against peaceful demonstrators will impact their engagement towards Khartoum. As bloody repression continued and the number of those killed has risen, Washington issued a second statement, reminding Khartoum of its commitment especially with regard to human rights and freedoms, as been addressed in the “five track engagement” concluded in November 2018.
“The United States supports the right of the people of the Sudan to peacefully assemble to voice their demands for political and economic reform and a more peaceful and inclusive Sudan,” the statement said. “We condemn the use of violence, including the use of life bullets and excessive use of force”. The statement added that Sudan’s security forces also used teargas.
The statement stressed that the positive relationship between the United States and Sudan requires “a meaningful political reform and a clear and sustainable progress towards respect for human rights”. “This should include stopping the use of security apparatus for arbitrary detention, use of excessive force against demonstrators, ending government harassment and intimidation of journalists, human rights defenders, political opposition, health practitioners, students and other civil society actors”.
Sudanese activists and demonstrators recently released shocking videos showing riot police and security forces firing live bullets on homes, and beating up protesters and the persons who open doors of their homes to receive the demonstrators. Four people were killed in a protest erupted on 17 January in Khartoum, with activists saying hundreds of protesters were detained on that day, after they joined more than one thousand demonstrators, journalists and opposition figures.
It urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to release the journalists, activists and peaceful demonstrators, and to allow those charged access to full legal representation. “We also call on the government to allow the conduct of a credible and independent investigation in the killing and injuring of demonstrators,” the statement said. Moreover, Washington urged the Sudanese government to create a safe environment for expression and general dialogue with the opposition and civil society in a more inclusive political process.
In line with the agreement concluded last November to remove Sudan name from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, Washington will assess Khartoum’s efforts to implement its engagements and seeks US Congress consent, traditionally hostile to the regime of Omer Al Bashir.
Freedom of expression is closely connected with the freedom of peaceful assembly for citizens as a form of expression of their opinions. Peaceful assembly of citizens also enjoys the right to freedom of expression, and that right should not in any way and unjustifiably be denied. The constitution of Sudan and other conventions to which Sudan is a party provide for the right to expression and peaceful assembly.