Africa

Christian Aid backs calls for a peaceful, democratic transition in Sudan

Christian Aid has voiced its strong solidarity with the people of Sudan, and has echoed the calls of civil society groups who have written to the UN Security Council urging it to take action to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy.

The letter to the Security Council says:

“We, the undersigned Sudanese, African and International civil society organizations write to express our solidarity with the people of Sudan who, over the past several months, have been calling for a peaceful, democratic transition.

“This effort has been endangered by the 11 April military coup. Although recent statements from the military transitional council are encouraging, the Security Council must not forget that a military regime is still in power and must take action to ensure a speedy transition to civilian authority and to sustain democratic reform.

“As the Troika of the United States, United Kingdom and Norway said on 14 April: To date, the legitimate change that the Sudanese people are demanding has not been achieved. It is vital that that the authorities listen to the calls from the Sudanese people.”

The letter continues by issuing a number of appeals to the UN Security Council:

“We call upon the UN Security Council to support long term peace and security in Sudan by:

  • – Ensuring that the Councils focus on Sudan is expanded to include the impacts of the coup;
  • – Supporting the right of protestors to freedom of expression and assembly and mechanism to protect peaceful activists, especially women;
  • – Expressing support for the Sudanese peoples demand for an urgent transition to a civilian government in line with the core principles of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and requesting the Secretary-General to use his good offices to facilitate such an agreement with a short, clear timeline;
  • – Remain committed to supporting a comprehensive and gender inclusive democratic transition in the country; and
  • – Ensuring that women are recognised as equal partners in political negotiations and that gender considerations are comprehensively integrated into the transition process in line with the commitments of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.”

The full text of the letter is available here.

Christian Aid began working in Sudan and what is now South Sudan in the 1970s. It currently operates with local partners in South Sudan to deliver humanitarian, peacebuilding and development programmes. Although Christian Aid no longer has a field office in Sudan, it continues to maintain solidarity with former partners.

Notes to Editors:

1. Background to the situation in Sudan:

Since December 2018 peaceful protests have been taking place across Sudan as a result of discontent related to economic crisis and mismanagement, and frustration with the ruling elites many years of putting itself before its people, using violent repression to retain power. Over the past 30 years, this has resulted in attacks against civilians, acute restrictions on civil liberties and press freedom, and severe human rights abuses.

The organised mobilisation of non-violent civil action has drawn members across all of Sudanese society, and women have played a very prominent role. The protests have maintained momentum over the past five months, culminating in a four-day, 24-hour sit in outside military headquarters last week where hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Khartoum. Sit ins have also continued across the country, in Port Sudan, El Fasher, Nyala, Kadugli and other areas. According to the Sudan Doctors Association, at least 26 people have died and more than 150 injured since the sit in began.

On April 11, it was announced that President Omar el Bashir was under arrest, and that a Military Transitional Council had been formed which would steer the country towards elections. However, many were deeply unhappy with the choice of former Vice President and Minister of Defence Awad Ibn Auf as the interim President. A day later, he resigned and it was announced that Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, Inspector-General of the Armed Forces, would be the new interim President.

Before the weekend, the signatories to the Declaration of Freedom and Change (DFC), a broad coalition of opposition parties including the Sudanese Professionals Association, a major force behind the Sudan protest movement, called on the public to maintain protests. On Saturday April 13 at a meeting with the Transitional Military Council, the delegates of the DFC presented 10 points representing urgent steps to enhance trust between the parties, including immediate hand over of power to a transitional civilian government.

2. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.org.uk

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