Sudan: UN Human Rights Chief alarmed by rising tensions, urges intensified efforts to restore civilian-led Government

GENEVA (8 April 2023) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Saturday expressed alarm at the current tense situation in Sudan. Türk renewed his plea to all sides to set aside entrenched positions and personal interests, to focus on the common interests of the Sudanese people by redoubling efforts towards restoration of a civilian-led Government.

“As I had said during my visit to Sudan in November, the country is at a decisive juncture. Much work has been done and many positive steps taken towards the signature of a final agreement – all efforts must now go to get the political transition back on the right path,” the High Commissioner said.

In December last year, a Political Framework Agreement was signed between civilian leaders and the military in Sudan, as a first step towards a political agreement and the restoration of a civilian-led Government. A final political agreement was expected to be signed on 1 April, then postponed to 6 April, but it remains pending as disagreements persist regarding key security and military reforms.

The High Commissioner urged all sides to work together to overcome obstacles on security sector reform and avoid any further delays in the signing of the political agreement. The High Commissioner also stressed the need to ensure that the strong human rights commitments set out in the Political Framework Agreement remain central to the final political agreement, including in relation to credible and inclusive transitional justice and accountability processes. He called on non-signatories to the Political Framework Agreement to join the political process, stressing the need for a more inclusive process that will address the concerns of all sectors of society.

Türk urged the authorities and all sides to take measures to de-escalate tensions and to refrain from violence.

“I witnessed first-hand the fervent, awe-inspiring determination of the people of Sudan – particularly young people and women – to stand up for human rights, an inclusive, civilian-led Government, accountability and justice,” Türk said.

“I urge the authorities to ensure that the rights of the people to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fully respected, that security forces are clearly instructed to respond to demonstrations in line with human rights laws and standards. We must not see a repeat of the use of unnecessary, disproportionate force.”

The UN Joint Human Rights Office in Sudan will continue monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in the country, and stands ready to strengthen support to an incoming civilian Government.