Sudan: Press conference notes on protests in Sudan

Spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: Liz Throssell

Location: Geneva

Date: December 21, 2021

We received very disturbing reports of sexual violence and harassment by security forces during protests in Khartoum on Sunday, December 19, 2021. Our Joint Human Rights Office in Sudan has received allegations that 13 women and girls were reportedly victims of rape or gang rape. We also received allegations of sexual harassment by security forces against women trying to flee the vicinity of the presidential palace on Sunday evening.

Two protesters died after being shot and around 300 others were injured, some from the use of live ammunition, some hit by tear gas canisters or beaten by security forces, and others who had breathing difficulties from inhaling tear gas.

The December 19 protests, in which tens of thousands of people participated, were organized to mark the third anniversary of the protests that began in December 2018 and ultimately resulted in the overthrow of President Bashir’s government in April 2019. Protesters were protesting also against the military coup of October 25 and the political agreement signed on November 21, 2021.

We urge a prompt, independent and thorough investigation into the allegations of rape and sexual harassment, as well as the allegations of death and injury of protesters as a result of unnecessary or disproportionate use of force, in particular the use of live bullets. The perpetrators must be identified and prosecuted. With more protests planned for this weekend and the weeks to come, it is crucial that the security forces guarantee and protect the right to peaceful assembly and act in full compliance with international laws and standards governing the use of force. .

We note the establishment by the Acting Prosecutor General of a Committee of Senior Prosecutors to investigate all human rights violations and other incidents since the military coup of October 25, 2021. We called on them national authorities to make the findings of this investigation committee public, with maximum transparency, with a view to holding accountable, including through criminal investigations, those responsible for violations and abuses of human rights. man.

We are also deeply concerned at the increase in inter-communal violence in Darfur and Southern Kordofan. Since September, at least 250 civilians have been killed, 197 injured and more than 50,000 displaced by intercommunal violence. There have been serious protection gaps in Darfur, particularly following the reduction of state security forces in key areas of Darfur and long delays in the implementation of a national plan civil protection.

As national authorities assembled a temporary joint protection force of 3,000 for deployment later this month, we urge them to ensure that this force receives comprehensive training on human rights and international law. humanitarian aid before its deployment. It is also essential that those responsible for human rights violations and abuses are held accountable, regardless of their affiliation.

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