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Protests in Sudan: Security forces in spotlight on allegations of sexual violence |

The allegations surfaced after protests in Khartoum on Sunday, where tens of thousands of people gathered to mark the third anniversary of protests that led to the toppling of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

Angry blow

Demonstrators who went to the presidential palace were also protesting against the October military coup and the political agreement signed later on November 21, noted Liz Throssell, spokesperson for the UN rights office.

Speaking in Geneva, she said security forces allegedly raped or raped 13 women and girls.

Two protesters also died after being shot and 300 others were injured, she said. Some were hit by live ammunition or tear gas canisters or beaten by security forces, while others suffered breathing difficulties after inhaling tear gas.

“With other events planned for this weekend and the weeks to come, It is crucial that the security forces guarantee and protect the right to peaceful assembly and act in full compliance with international law and standards regulating the use of force, ”Ms. Throssell insisted.

In a scheduled briefing, the spokesperson for the UN rights office said that OHCHR‘s Joint Human Rights Office in Sudan had learned of the 13 allegations of rape or gang rape.

“We also received allegations of sexual harassment by security forces against women trying to flee the area around the presidential palace on Sunday evening, ”she said.

Call for justice

Emphasizing the “unnecessary or disproportionate use of force, in particular the use of live ammunition”The OHCHR official called for the perpetrators to be identified and prosecuted.

On the reported violence and human rights violations committed since the October military coup, which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights noted betrayed “the courageous and inspiring revolution of 2019,” Throssell noted that a committee of senior prosecutors had been charged with an investigation.

But these findings must be made public, “with maximum transparency, with a view to holding accountable, including through criminal investigations, those responsible for human rights violations and abuses,” she said.

bloodshed in Darfur

Elsewhere in Sudan, the spokesperson for the UN rights office reported a Deadly rise in inter-communal violence in Darfur and South Kordofan. Since September, this has left at least 250 civilians killed, 197 injured and more than 50,000 displaced.

Earlier this month, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, noted that nearly thousands of Sudanese had fled the violence in Jebel Moon, a town in West Darfur, one of the five states of Darfur. More than 2,000 of them, mostly women and children, had fled to neighboring Chad.

Sudan has some three million internally displaced people, over 80% of whom live in the five states of Darfur. In 2021, around 200 violent incidents were reported in Darfur, causing further displacement, according to UNHCR.

“There have been serious protection gaps in Darfur, particularly following the reduction of state security forces in key areas of Darfur and long delays in implementing a plan. National Emergency Preparedness, ”Ms. Throssell said.

Although national authorities intend to deploy a 3,000-strong temporary joint protection force later this month, the spokesperson for the UN rights office said it was crucial that they first receive comprehensive training in human rights and international humanitarian law.

“It is also essential that those responsible for human rights violations and abuses committed are held accountable, regardless of their affiliation,” she said.

Bachelet’s warning

In his latest update on the situation in Sudan in Human rights council, Michelle Bachelet, UN Head of Rights sentenced the October 25 coup and the arrests that followed are a reminder of the country’s recent dark past.

The whereabouts of most of those arrested are unknown and have been held incommunicado, without access to lawyers or their relatives. – enforced disappearances exacerbating the gravity of their arbitrary arrests, ”said Ms. Bachelet, noting how“ massive street protests ”since the military takeover had met with excessive use of force by the Sudanese armed forces, including including the use of live bullets.