The situation in Sudan is of “serious concern,” with fatalities of peaceful protestors at the hands of security forces almost daily as statistics show 71 deaths and more than 2,200 injured since the October coup, the UN Human Rights Office said Tuesday.
Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a press conference in Geneva that in addition to the casualties in Sudan, there has been a clampdown on critics of the authorities and independent journalists.
“Credible statistics from the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors show that 71 people have been killed and more than 2,200 injured by state security forces during protests since the 25 October 2021 coup d’etat,” she said.
Since the beginning of this year, she said, 17 people have been killed.
“Yesterday alone, security forces brutally dispersed demonstrators in (the capital) Khartoum, resulting in the killing of seven and injury of dozens of protesters by live ammunition,” said Shamdasani.
Hit by canisters
She said more than 25% of those injured appeared to have been hit directly by tear gas canisters.
There are concerns that security forces are firing tear gas canisters horizontally, directed at individuals, violating international standards and called for independent investigations.
“We repeat our call on the Sudanese authorities to immediately cease the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force – including the use of live ammunition – against peaceful protesters,” said Shamdasani.
Using live ammunition is only permissible as a last resort in case of an imminent threat to life or of serious injury, she explained.
“A campaign of arbitrary arrest and detention against protesters, journalists, and media workers continues amid the state of emergency, with security forces breaking into activists’ homes,” said Shamdasani.
She said security forces have been entering hospitals to arrest wounded protesters, preventing them from accessing emergency care.
“There are also disturbing reports of assaults against healthcare workers and facilities,” said the UN official.
Shamdasni detailed the clampdown seen through increasing arrests of journalists, home and office raids and searches, ill-treatment of journalists, and suspension of licenses.
At least eight journalists have been mistreated by security forces while covering protests, she said.
On Jan. 15, the broadcasting license of Aljazeera Live – the Arabic-language channel that is part of the Aljazeera Media Network – was revoked.
On Jan. 13, Sudanese armed forces reportedly entered the office of Al Araby Television in Khartoum, arresting four of its staff while covering a protest from the rooftop of the building.
Last Dec. 30, police, and joint security forces, including Rapid Support Forces, stormed the offices of Al-Arabiya and AlHadath television channels in Khartoum while they covered protest marches in Khartoum.
During the raid, they beat and harassed staff with batons and damaged property, said Shamdasani, calling for a halt to such actions.
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