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Sudanese Authorities Must Make Sure Independent Investigation Is Opened Into Al-Udayyah Events


May 7, 2021

Geneva – An armed force wearing
police uniform opened fire at a peaceful sit-in in the
Al-Udayyah neighborhood in West Kordofan, Sudan yesterday
morning, which killed a woman and injured seven people,
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in statement.
The state government should ensure that the investigation it
opened into the incident is impartial and
independent.
Since their sit-in began on December 20, the
protesters have been demanding improvements to their living
conditions and services.

At 1:30 a.m. yesterday, the
Sudanese security forces attempted to dispraise the sit-in.
The attempt led to the killing of a woman, injuring and
arresting others, and damaging several public
properties.
Eyewitnesses told Euro-Med Monitor that a
regular force wearing police uniforms attacked a group of
protesters while they were in front of the headquarters of
the locality presidency. The force used tear gas, light
assault rifles (AK47) and other heavy machine guns (DShK).
The heavy fire killed Mrs. Howayda Omar Hassan, and wounded
seven other people. The force also burned the protesters’
tents and arrested several of them.

Ismail Ali
(pseudonym), one of the participants in the sit-in, told
Euro-Med Monitor: “As a result of the attacks that took
place yesterday during the sit-in, we demanded the governor
to come [visit the city]. We organized a march and headed
towards the locality office. A military force intercepted us
and started firing live bullets and tear gas to disperse us,
which led to other injuries”.

According to
eyewitnesses, the aggressive nature that the security forces
used to deal with the protesters only led to more violence.
The protesters set fire to the headquarters of the locality
and several other government buildings, in addition to
burning the house of the executive director of the area and
some government vehicles.

For its part, the West
Kordofan State Office issued a statement about the events,
saying that the state “will open an investigation into
these unfortunate events to find out the motives of those
behind them, count the casualties, and punish the
perpetrators who participated in them”.

Dispersing
the sit-in represents a duplicate policy of the Sudanese
authorities. The authorities have already carried out
several operations like this incident since the ouster of
former President Omar Al-Bashir in April 2019; the bloodiest
of which was the dispersal of a sit-in at the front of the
General Command building in Khartoum in June 2019. At the
time, 13 people were killed, and 116 peaceful protesters
were wounded.

This excessive use of force would kill
any attempt by individuals to exercise their right to
peaceful assembly, and heavily indicates Sudan’s
systematic policy of targeting peaceful demonstrations,
which eradicates any manifestation of peaceful protests that
contravenes with the directions of the government
authorities.

The Sudanese transitional authorities are
obligated to respect the citizens right to freedom of
opinion, expression and peaceful assembly. This is the
provisional authorities’ duty, especially since one of the
most important goals on which it was founded, is to achieve
transitional justice and establish principles of democracy
and freedom after decades of dictatorship.

The
Sudanese authorities should:

  • hold all those
    involved in the use of violence against the demonstrators
    accountable and ensure that they do not enjoy
    impunity;
  • listen to the protesters’ demands and
    reach an agreement with them to improve their living
    conditions and the services provided;
  • respect local
    and international laws that guarantee all individuals and
    entities the right to freedom of opinion, expression and
    peaceful assembly;
  • appoint independent individuals
    to investigate the accident and grant them the powers and
    resources necessary to carry out the investigation in a
    transparent
    manner.

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