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UN official decries continued crackdown on Sudan protesters

June 4, 2022 GMT

CAIRO (AP) — A U.N. human rights official Saturday condemned the continued crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Sudan, which has been roiling since a military coup over six months ago.

Adama Dieng, the United Nations expert on human rights in Sudan, urged military authorities to take “more bold and concrete actions” following the lifting of a nationwide state of emergency on May 29 that had been in place since the military took over Oct. 25.

He called for the release of all people detained under the state of emergency and an end to the use of excessive force and arrests of anti-coup protesters.

Sudan has been politically paralyzed since the coup, with near-daily street protests. Authorities launched a major crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. They fired live ammunition and tear gas at crowds on the streets and knocked the country’s internet and mobile signal offline — all in efforts to keep people from gathering.

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Sudanese security forces have also been accused of using sexual violence against women taking part in the demonstrations, according the U.N, At least 99 people have been killed in the anti-coup protests.

Most recently, one protester was shot dead Friday when forces violently dispersed demonstrations in the capital of Khartoum, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee, which is part of the pro-democracy movement. Over 4,400 others have been wounded since the coup.

“Another young man whose family are in mourning today. His killing must be investigated immediately, and the perpetrator prosecuted,” Dieng said.

The U.N. official’s comments came as he wrapped up his second visit to the country since his appointment in November to monitor the human rights situation in Sudan after the coup. Dieng, who visited Sudan in February, was a U.N. special adviser on the prevention of genocide and served as an investigator for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Friday’s protests marked the third anniversary of the deadly June 3, 2019 breakup by security forces of a major protest camp outside the military’s headquarters in Khartoum and others in Sudan.

At least 128 protesters were killed in the crackdown, which also involved what activists describe as a campaign of rape and sexual misconduct by troops ordered by the military to crush the pro-democracy movement.

The dispersal was a turning point in ties between between the generals and the movement, which was behind the uprising that led to the military’s removal of longtime strongman Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.