UN rights chief urges restraint by Sudanese authorities during planned protests

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

28 June 2012 – The United Nations human rights chief today called on the Sudanese authorities to ensure that protests planned for Friday are allowed to proceed peacefully, without security forces resorting to violent measures and mass arrests as was seen in recent weeks.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, noted that dozens of individuals, including human rights defenders, journalists, students and political opponents, have been arrested since the protests began in the capital, Khartoum, on 17 June.

“I urge the Government to immediately and unconditionally release those who have been detained for merely exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and expression. Reports of ill treatment in detention are very worrying and must be investigated promptly,” she added in a news release.

“Tear gas, rubber bullets, live ammunition and other heavy-handed suppression will not resolve the frustrations and grievances of the people regarding shortcomings in their enjoyment of economic, social, civil and political rights,” Ms. Pillay said. “Genuine dialogue with Government critics is far more effective than arbitrary detention and violence if the Government wishes to create a stable and successful society.”

Some of those who were arrested were released reportedly after being made to sign an undertaking that they would not participate in any further “riots,” according to the news release. In addition, injured protestors have reportedly been removed from hospitals by the authorities and detained.

The High Commissioner stressed the Government’s obligation under international human rights law to respect the fundamental human rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

She urged restraint by the Government and also called on protestors to ensure, on their part, that no violence or damage to property takes place during the demonstrations.


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