Sudan: Civil Society Orgs - Sudanese Gov Must Dismantle Military

Khartoum — Yesterday, members of 18 Sudanese civil society organisations and other activists handed a memorandum to the Sovereign Council and the Prime Minister regarding military reform and security in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile state, and eastern Sudan.

The memorandum calls for all military organisations and militias in the country to be dismantled. Restructuring will not work, as the military are subject to "strict standards", according to the statement.

It is first and foremost the responsibility of the government to protect people, say the organisations and activists, through full jurisdiction over the regular forces.

They have demanded transparent and impartial investigations into recent violent incidents against civilians in Darfur, South Kordofan, Kassala, and Red Sea state: "The authorities must combat insecurity and lawlessness in these regions, by establishing specialised public prosecutors and administration in all localities. They should be supported by police forces, capable of enforcing law and order."

UN

They have also called on the United Nations to consider expanding the scope of Chapter VII's mandate to include other areas outside Darfur*.

The UN Security Council announced a United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) under Chapter VI on June 3. According to Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, the new mission will help rebuild the country in a way "similar to the Marshall Plan".

The new political mission will provide technical assistance to the Constitution drafting process, supporting implementation of human rights, equality, accountability and Rule of Law provisions in Sudan's Constitutional Charter, to assist Sudan "in its transition towards democratic governance". Another objective concerns assistance in peacebuilding and civilian protection, notably in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile state.

On May 4, a group of 98 Sudanese civil society activists urged the PM to add 'physical protection' to his request for a new UN force to be deployed in the country.

"As you're well aware that Chapter VI of the UN Charter aims to support the maintenance, monitoring, and building of peace, usually in the context of peace agreements, but not a peace enforcement mechanism to prevent violent conflict as it is the case in Chapter VII," they wrote in their petition to the PM.

Detentions

The memorandum also called for an end to detentions by "unauthorised parties" of activists and members of Resistance Committees in Khartoum.

Many people were injured in clashes with police, and at least 77 demonstrators detained as thousands took to the streets in Khartoum and a number of towns and cities across Sudan on August 17, to mark the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Constitutional Declaration.

In the following days, activists blocked the main roads in Khartoum, calling for a return to the principles of the revolution, the establishment of a Parliament, the holding of a broad economic conference, and the restructuring of the Forces for Freedom and Change. They also threatened to call for Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok to step down.

On Saturday, Hamdok emphasised that his government is always ready for a dialogue with the members of the Resistance Committees. He said: "We can go together or sink together at the same time. There is no victor or defeated. The only victor is the homeland."

The Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), one of the driving forces behind the uprising that led to the ousting of the regime of President Omar Al Bashir in April last year, urged Resistance Committees in Khartoum to suspend their actions against the transitional government in a statement this weekend.

*On June 4, the mandate of the hybrid United Nations-African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) was extended until December 31, adopting resolution 2525 (2020) unanimously under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.

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