UN rights body opens urgent session in wake of Sudan's political crisis

AP , Friday 5 Nov 2021

The U.N.'s top human rights body is holding an urgent session about Sudan on Friday after a power grab there nearly two weeks ago, with Britain, the United States, Germany and Norway leading a push to commission an expert to monitor the situation.

File Photo: US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman (L) leaves the office of the Sudanese prime minister after a meeting with him in the capital Khartoum. AFP

The Human Rights Council debate is taking place while the United Nations still recognizes the ambassador from the deposed Sudanese government as the country's official representative in Geneva, raising questions about how - or if - the military leadership in Khartoum will be represented during the session.

The push for a human rights expert comes amid mounting international pressure on Sudan's top general, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the forces loyal to him who dissolved Sudan's transitional government and detained other government officials and political leaders in the Oct. 25 power grab.

'The actions of the Sudanese military are a betrayal of the Sudanese revolution, of the democratic transition, and of the hopes and aspirations of the Sudanese people', Simon Manley, Britain's ambassador in Geneva, said in a statement sent to The Associated Press. 'Fundamentally, this is about respect for democracy and human rights'.

'I hope that fellow council members will stand in solidarity with the brave people of Sudan today', Manley said.

The four Western countries presented a draft resolution on Wednesday, and the final language still was being worked out. Human Rights Council spokesperson Rolando Gomez said a provision remained intact to create a 'special rapporteur' to monitor the situation in Sudan for one year.

The draft also called for the immediate return to a civilian-led transitional government under Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was among those detained in the power grab. He is now under house arrest but has been allowed to meet with U.N. and international diplomats as part of mediation efforts.

On Thursday, Sudan's state-run news agency reported that Burhan had ordered the release of four government ministers who also were detained. A defense lawyer for the ministers said they had not yet been freed.

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