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Sudan: Rights body demands inquiry into protesters’ killings

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July 9, 2019 (NAIROBI) – Sudanese leaders should facilitate the establishment and cooperate with the work of an effective international investigation into the killings of and abuses against protesters since December 2018, a rights body said on Monday.

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Sudanese protests in Khartoum streets on 30 June 2019 (Reuters)

“With hundreds killed and many more injured, the Sudanese people are entitled to demand answers and justice,” said Jehanne Henry, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“A credible, independent investigation into all the horrific abuses against protesters over the past six months needs to be a priority for Sudan’s new leaders,” he added.

On July 5, a coalition of opposition groups and the Transitional Military Council, signed a power-sharing deal that paves the way for a transitional government.

Under the deal, a new sovereign council consisting of five military representatives, five civilians, and another civilian agreed upon by both parties will share power for a transitional period of three years. A military commander is to hold the presidency for the first 21 months, followed by a civilian for 18 months prior to an election.

An estimated over 100 people died during the protests before Bashir was ousted.

According to Human Rights Watch, government forces including the Rapid Support Forces killed over 130 protesters last month alone. Witnesses, including many victims, reportedly provided accounts of soldiers arbitrarily arresting and beating protesters.

There are also reports that troops raped the protesters or threatened to rape them.

On June 30, when tens of thousands of Sudanese marched calling for a transition to civilian rule, government forces again used deadly force to break up protests.

While the July 5 power sharing deal includes an investigation into the violence, Human Rights Watch said the investigations should include all abuses against protesters since December, when the government began attacking protesters.

“Sudan’s leaders should show they are serious about justice by facilitating an international, independent investigation to assess the full scale of abuses and identify those responsible,” Henry said.

“Sudan should cooperate with the UN’s Human Rights Council, currently in session, and with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to ensure that credible investigations are carried out as soon as possible," he added.

Protests in Sudan started in December, calling for the fall of President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for atrocities in Darfur.

(ST)

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