US Congressional Briefing statement by Mausi Segun, executive director for the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. The human rights situation in Sudan following the military coup by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in October.

The stakes couldn’t be higher right now as the military further tightens its grip on Sudan’s politics, repression continues, and the chances for meaningful reform diminish.

As the last month has painfully shown, the historical tolerance for repression and abuse in Sudan remains in place, including among some of Sudan’s regional and international partners, and has forced resolute Sudanese people to repeatedly put their lives on the line by taking to the streets.

Since the October 25 military coup, Sudan’s tenacious protesters have repeatedly taken to the streets across many towns to express their discontent with the coup.

Government security forces have responded with excessive force, including lethal force, against demonstrators.

Human Rights Watch research, as well as reporting from doctors’ groups in Khartoum, found that between the October 25 coup and November 21, 2021, security forces killed at least 42 people, including five children, injured hundreds, and arbitrarily detained dozens, not only political officials but also journalists and protesters.

The deadliest clampdown so far was on November 17 when police and other security forces used excessive lethal force against largely peaceful protesters, killing 16 people.

Autopsies carried out on 11 of those killed showed that they had been shot in the upper body, half of them in the head. Medical reports said that 107 were wounded, including 48 reportedly due to live ammunitions.

Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the military chief, and his deputy, Mohamed Hamadan Dagalo “Hemedti”, have sought to downplay the military’s role and responsibility in the deadly clampdowns with al-Burhan saying killings of protesters may have been committed by “elements” in police uniforms.

The violent dispersal of protests has continued. On November 30, protesters outside the presidential palace and in other parts of Khartoum were met with excessive use of force including live ammunition and teargas canisters used as weapons against protesters.


Image: Hind Mekki

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