Two weeks after a military coup seized power in Sudan, the United Nation’s Human Rights Council voted Friday to condemn the coup and appoint an expert to monitor abuses in Sudan.
The British-introduced resolution called for the restoration of the civilian-led government and the release of “all those who have been arbitrarily detained since the takeover began.”
“This disproportionate and deadly use of force by the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces, and other security forces – including military police and intelligence elements – must end immediately,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement. “Those responsible for these and other human rights violations must be held fully accountable for their actions.”
The country had been run by a transitional civilian government since 2019 when the longtime Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir was toppled by a popular uprising. The Sudanese military seized power on October 25th and since then have sought to overturn commitments the transitional government had made in its Constitutional Document, including transitional justice, institutional reforms, anti-corruption, and guarantee of non-recurrences of past abuses, according to the U.N.
Bachelet also said in a statement that she was concerned about the military government using excessive force in response to civilian protests, including the use of live bullets.
Sudan’s initially supported holding the special session but withdrew its support before the meeting was held, and its ambassador in Geneva did not attend. Representatives for China, Russia, and Venezuela spoke out against the measure, claiming that such actions betrayed the impartiality that the council ought to have. The New York Times reported that these three countries often vote against resolutions targeting a specific country, but the trio decided to abstain rather than vote against the measure.
The expert will compile a written report of human rights abuses for the Human Rights Council’s 50th session. Sudan will continue to be monitored by the yet-to-be-appointed expert until a civilian-led government is restored. Bachelet said she was especially worried about abuse targeting women who had served as leaders in protests against the military government.
“Sudan has been a beacon of progress for the region, and it is urgent to restore civilian rule, and with it, a clear and principled path of reforms that can fulfill the people’s aspirations to democracy, the rule of law and human rights,” she said in a statement.