November 18 2021 (BRUSSELS) – A top European Union (EU) official has condemned the violence perpetrated by security forces against peaceful demonstrators in Sudan, saying perpetrators will be held accountable.
At least 17 people were reportedly killed and hundreds injured in protests that took place in Khartoum, Khartoum-Bahri and Omdurman on Wednesday.
“This senseless killing is unacceptable,” Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs said in a statement, citing reports that security forces went into hospitals to arrest protestors and prevent the injured from being treated.
The EU official said the violence and aggression against peaceful demonstrators constitute violations of basic human rights such as freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and protection of civilians.
“Perpetrators of these violations will be held accountable,” noted Borrell.
The EU representative expressed deep concerns about the total information blackout inflicted by authorities during the day of protests yesterday, saying it will not prevent the world from being informed about these human rights violations.
“All communication services should be immediately and fully restored,” he stressed.
According to the told official, the EU has supported the democratic transition in Sudan from the start and will not accept that the constitutional order and the democratic transition fails because of the military coup of October 25, 2021.
“If the constitutional order is not immediately restored there will be serious consequences for our support, including financial,” he warned.
Separately, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also condemned the killing by security forces of at least 39 people in Sudan since the 25 October military coup, 15 of whom were reportedly shot dead during protests in Khartoum, Khartoum-Bahri and Omdurman on Wednesday.
“Following our repeated appeals to the military and security authorities to refrain from the use of unnecessary and disproportionate force against demonstrators, it is utterly shameful that live ammunition was again used yesterday against protesters,” Bachelet said on Thursday.
“Shooting into large crowds of unarmed demonstrators, leaving dozens dead and many more injured, is deplorable, clearly aimed at stifling the expression of public dissent, and amounts to gross violations of international human rights law,” she added.
The UN human rights chief also expressed concerns over the military authority’s imposition of a total shutdown of phone and mobile communications across the country, in addition to the continued shutdown of the internet services in Sudan.
“A communication shutdown means people are unable to call for ambulances to treat injured protesters, families are unable to check on the safety of their loved ones, and hospitals are unable to reach doctors as emergency rooms filled up, to name just a few very real and serious consequences,” explained Bachelet.
She added, “Blanket internet and telecommunications shutdowns violate core principles of necessity and proportionality and contravene international law.”
Bachelet stressed that members of the security forces, political and military leaders responsible for unnecessary and disproportionate use of force against protesters must be held accountable in line with international human rights law and standards.