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Christian Entity Urges UN Agency to Illegitimize Rights Abuses by Sudan’s Military

Credit: CSW

UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has joined over 50 organizations that are pushing the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to illegitimize the actions of the Sudanese military who seized power in a coup on 25 October 2021 amid reported human rights abuses.

Signatories to the letter addressed to the Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UNHRC urge the States to ensure that Sudan’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) scheduled to take place on February 1 “does not legitimize the unconstitutional actions of the Sudanese military” who have been accused of violating human rights amid the unrest that followed the coup.

In a Wednesday, January 26 report, CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas implores the UN human rights agency to inspect what he refers to as a deteriorating human rights situation in the Northeast African country, with most ills being blamed on the country’s military.

“While it has not been possible to delay this important review of Sudan’s human rights record, it is essential that UN Member and Observer States ensure that the review does not confer legitimacy on the Sudanese military in any way,” Mr. Mervyn says.

He adds, “The Council must maintain scrutiny on the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in Sudan, and hold the military accountable for the egregious violations it has perpetrated since seizing power undemocratically in October 2021.”

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The CSW official urges the Sudanese military to work towards returning the power to the people, saying, “We appeal to the military to facilitate the swift transfer of power to civilians, and to cease all violations against Sudanese citizens who are exercising their fundamental freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”

Signatories to the letter addressed to the Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UNHRC state that the timing of the planned February 1 review of Sudan is inappropriate amid reports of protracted violence.

The Christian human rights foundation describes UPR as a State-to-State peer-review process by which every UN member State has its human rights record reviewed in four and a half year cycles.

“Sudan’s UPR is taking place at an unusual and critical time for the nation,” the signatories write.

They add, “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.”

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The letter states that it would have been preferable if the UPR had been postponed. The letter however acknowledges that the cancellation of the review “may have proven difficult, given the modalities of the third cycle.”

CSW reports that the situation of human rights in Sudan has deteriorated significantly since the October coup.

“Over the past three months, activists have continued to organize protests against the military, which has responded with violence,” the report indicates, and continues, “At least 77 protesters have been killed, hundreds have been arrested or forcibly disappeared, and concerning reports have emerged of the use of rape and sexual violence by security forces.”