A United Nation’s expert on human rights in Sudan arrived in Khartoum on Sunday to investigate human rights abuses that have been taking place during the ongoing protests against the Sudanese government, which took power in a military coup led by General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on Oct. 25. 

Al-Burhan seized power from a transitional government led by the military-civilian Sovereign Council, established after the former President Omar al-Bashir – whose regime ruled the country for nearly three decades – was overthrown in a popular uprising in 2019.

The UN expert, Adama Dieng, will investigate alleged abuses that took place at demonstrations. Protesters have been demonstrating against the military coup weekly, calling for the military regime to relinquish power. The human rights situation in the country is dire with hundreds of activists beening detained during protests – more than 200 activists in Khartoum alone, according to Gibreel Hassabu, a human rights lawyer with the Darfur Bar Association. 

In addition, female protesters have alleged they have been subjected to sexual assault by the Sudanese armed forces. 

“Arbitrary arrests and detention of political figures, civil society activists and journalists undermine efforts to resolve Sudan’s political crisis,” said Lucy Tamlyn, the U.S. chargé d’affaires in Sudan.

“For over three months, Sudan’s security forces have caused serious bodily, often lethal, harm to suppress the protests,” said Mohamed Osman from Human Rights Watch. “And yet, emboldened by years of impunity, and a meek international response to their coup, Sudan’s military leaders have been committing grave crimes against civilians without consequences.” 

According to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, security forces have killed 79 people, including nine children, and more than 2,200 people have been injured.

“The military delivers one message to international diplomats, that they are interested in a political dialogue and fundamental reform of the state, but then they do nothing to hide their blatant efforts to maintain the status quo and undermine efforts to unseat them,” said Cameron Hudson, a former U.S. State Department official and Sudan expert at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

Most recently, Egypt offered Sudan help to mediate the conflict. In mid-February, a high-level Egyptian delegation arrived in Sudan to meet Sudanese party leaders to facilitate a transition to democratic rule in Sudan, but Egypt has not commented publicly on its mediation efforts in the country.

“The situation is disastrous,” Sudan’s former envoy to the United States, Nureldin Mohamed Hamed Satti recently said. “Politically, economically, socially, really from all points of view, Sudan is on the path to collapse…There’s a tug of war, a confrontation between the military de facto government and the people in the streets. That’s why we’re in this mess now. This will continue unless the military decides to listen to the voice of reason and negotiate with civilians.”

Sudan, as one of four Muslim states, normalized diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020 as part of the Abraham Accords. Israel, unlike most Western countries, did not condemn the military coup in Sudan. In November 2021 and January 2022, Israeli delegations reportedly visited the country. Satti, the former Sudanese envoy to the United States, has warned that dealing with the military regime in Sudan could backfire on Israel. 

“As I’ve always told Jewish organizations here, it’s in the interests of Israel to come to Sudan through the front door, with the people of Sudan – and not the military of Sudan, which for me is the back door. This relationship will not be sustainable, because there will be no stability in Sudan under military rule,” Satti said. “My advice to Israel is to reconsider its position and try to mend fences with the Sudanese people and not with the military. A uniquely military and security-based normalization with Sudan does not fulfill the requirements of the Abraham Accords, which is about partnership, cooperation, people-to-people relations and peace.”

Share this article