On 1st, 2nd and 3rd August 2005, violence erupted in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum and other towns in Sudan following the official announcement of the death of Dr. John Garang De Mebior, First Vice-President and leader of the Sudan People Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) in a helicopter crash in southern Sudan. Some 130 people have been killed, and thousands of others have been injured and have fled their homes and businesses over the course of the last few days whilst many others have witnessed the destruction of their homes, property and businesses. Approximately 1500 civilians have been detained.
The Sudanese penal code, the interim Constitution and international human rights laws and conventions places an obligation on the Sudanese government to prevent violence and to protect its citizens from attack. The responsibility of states to protect individuals against human rights abuses by private persons is established in core human rights treaties. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which Sudan has ratified, requires state parties to respect the rights of the Covenant, an obligation which the Human Rights Committee has stated extends to protection against acts inflicted by non-state actors, or those acting in a private capacity.
The government response has been very slow, it failed to prepare for the traumatising impact the announcement of Dr. Garang’s death would have on the public. It was only after several hours of random violence that the government intervened to stop the violence by imposing a curfew in Khartoum as well as placing police at main streets and in front of government’s buildings. However, the violence continued unabated around Khartoum and else where in Sudan.
As a result, many victims have been left with inadequate support and living conditions. In addition, the conditions of the detained civilians remain unknown.
In light of the continuing sporadic violence particularly in the different squatter and peripheral areas of Khartoum and in other places in Sudan, we coalitions of Human Rights NGOs are calling on the:
· Police in Sudan to fulfil their legal obligation to prevent violence and protect civilians irrespective of their affiliations and background and to ensure victims’ legal redress by accurately registering and investigating the violence and victims’ complaints;
· The Government of Sudan authorities to provide medical care for victims of the violence;
· The Government of Sudan to prevent further acts of violence and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice and to maintain strict neutrality and impartiality with regard to the violence;
· The Government of Sudan to provide full reparations to victims and their families, including restitution and rehabilitation;
· The Government of Sudan to ensure the commission of inquiry into the incident is independent and impartial and to make the commission findings public upon completion;
· The Government of Sudan to release all those arrested in the absence of valid legal charges, or if legitimate charges exist, to bring them before an impartial tribunal and guarantee procedural rights at all times and to take all necessary measures to ensure the physical and psychological integrity of all the detainees and to ensure that all the detainees have access to legal advice;
· The Government of Sudan, to ensure that the State of Emergency, which was lifted on 30 June 2005, is not reinstated.
For further information, please contact:
Anti-Slavery International: Asim Turkawi: (+44) 20 7501 8920
SOAT: Osman Hummaida: (+44) 20 7625 8055
Justice Africa: Hafiz Mohamed: (+44) 207 354 8400