Khartoum / Washington — A diverse phalanx of 108 international and Sudanese organisations, as well as figures active in defending human rights, have addressed an open letter to the White House in Washington, urging that the US administration impose targeted sanctions on the head of the Sovereignty Council, Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan and deputy head Mohamed Dagalo ‘Hemeti’ for their involvement in serious human rights abuses following the military coup d’état they led on October 25 last year.
The signatories of the memorandum to US President Joe Biden, organised by NGO Sudan Unlimited, include former Foreign Minister Ibrahim Taha Ayoub, and Sudan researcher Eric Reeves, call for an end to impunity for the massive human rights violations in Sudan. “The serious human rights abuses connected to El Burhan and Hemeti are in violation of the International Bill of Human Rights and the Rights and Freedoms Charter included in Sudan’s 2019 Constitutional Declaration.
The memorandum makes it clear that El Burhan and Hemeti are linked to a long list of grave violations of human rights, and that the coup and the State of Emergency violates the right and will of the Sudanese people.
The memorandum points out that the right of citizens to peaceful assembly was repeatedly violated by the forces, which led to the killing of more than 90 demonstrators and the injury of more than 3,000 others. It notes the arbitrary and violent detentions, as well as cases of rape and torture of political opponents and peaceful demonstrators.
“It is vitally important that your Administration does not accept the coup as the new status quo in Sudan,” the letter says. “The people of Sudan have courageously established a new paradigm of freedom, peace and justice that must be respected and supported. Abrogation of Sudan’s new paradigm by Burhan and Hemeti warrants the Administration’s outrage, not complacency.”
The memo concludes that “the coup and all serious human rights abuses connected to El Burhan and Hemeti demand targeted sanctions at a minimum and as an important and necessary component of an overall strategy to support the restoration of democratic transition in Sudan”.
In March, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions on the Sudan Central Reserve Police (CRP, popularly known as Abu Tira) for serious human rights abuse yesterday. The Treasury listed the excessively violent repression of peaceful pro-democracy protests by the security forces as the main reason.
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In November 2020, Sudan and the US signed a bilateral claims settlement to resolve “default judgements and claims based on allegations that Sudan’s prior regime supported acts of terrorism”. According to the agreement, Sudan had to pay $335 million, on top of approximately $72 million already paid, for distribution to victims of terrorism.
Sudan’s removal from the SST list, decreed in the dying days of the Donald Trump administration, was conditional on a bilateral claims settlement signed in November 2020 to resolve “default judgements and claims based on allegations that Sudan’s prior regime supported acts of terrorism”. Sudan had to pay $335 million, on top of approximately $72 million already paid, for distribution to victims of terrorism.
In exchange, after payment of compensation to the families of the victims of the bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, and the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Dar El Salaam in Tanzania and Nairobi in Kenya, the default judgments and claims against Sudan in US courts would be dismissed, and Sudan’s sovereign immunities under US law would be restored to those enjoyed by countries that have never been designated by the US as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST).
See the complete memorandum here (PDF)