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UN rights chief urges Sudan authorities to avoid protest violence

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Thursday urged Sudan authorities [press release] to take measures to prevent violence against protesters in demonstrations planned for Friday. In a statement, Pillay said the government should instruct security forces to avoid engaging in violent conflicts with protesters. She also called on the government to release citizens who have been detained in previous protests. Pillay reported that some detainees have been released after signing agreements that they will not participate in further "riots." Pillay stressed that the government must not resort to violence against protesters:

Tear gas, rubber bullets, live ammunition and other heavy-handed suppression will not resolve the frustrations and grievances of the people regarding shortcomings in their enjoyment of economic, social, civil and political rights. Genuine dialogue with Government critics is far more effective than arbitrary detention and violence if the Government wishes to create a stable and successful society.
Increasing protests in the Sudan have sparked international concern, with Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] last week urging the Sudanese government to respect the rights of protesters [JURIST report]. The call came after the country's police in Khartoum used tear gas and batons against civilians who protested over austerity cuts earlier that week.

Sudan has been continuously urged to improve its human rights situation. Last week, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, the newly appointed UN Independent Expert on Human Rights in Sudan, stated that the country must still work to improve freedoms of expression and the press [JURIST report]. In May, AI urged the country's government to stop its censorship [JURIST report] of journalists and immediately cease its practice of seizing newspapers from the printing press.

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