Amid turbulent change in Sudan, the country’s human rights record remains dire. Since December 2018, government security forces have killed hundreds of protesters on the streets, attacked hospitals, arbitrarily arrested and detained, beaten and raped.
The ouster of President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 did not end the violence. The transitional military council, whose deputy commands the abusive Rapid Support Forces, continued to allow security forces to use excessive force against protesters, killing well over 100 people and injuring hundreds more on June 3 alone. The military council is also blocking the internet, restricting reporting on incidents and coordination among aid agencies.
The situation remains dire in the conflict zones of Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile as government forces continue to carry out attacks on civilians. The failure of government and armed opposition forces to agree on aid delivery to hundreds of thousands of civilians living in rebel-controlled areas continues to deprive them of food, medicine and other essentials.
Sudan’s leaders have not ended the full range of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law nor investigated or prosecuted the vast majority of new and old cases documented. The power-sharing deal signed on 5 July includes a pledge to investigate violence, but the language appears to limit the scope to the period following 11 April. Any credible investigation should include all abuses against protesters since December and the investigators should be fully independent from the Transitional Military Council and other actors possibly implicated in violations.
The UN Human Rights Council remained shamefully silent after the killings started in December, as it has remained silent after the horrific events of 3 June and to this day. It should urgently step up to ensure an independent international investigation into the full scale of killings, rapes, beatings, and other serious violations since the government started attacking protesters in December 2018, identify those responsible, and recommend ways to hold them accountable. It should also ensure that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is given a strong mandate to ensure the necessary monitoring and reporting during the transitional period.
Sudan’s leaders should show they are serious about justice by supporting and cooperating with an independent Council-mandated investigation.