May 2, 2019 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) strongly supports calls for establishing an inclusive civilian government in Sudan that supports human rights, the rule of law and democratic freedoms for all.
Following months of nation-wide protests, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was ousted from power in a military coup on April 11, ending more than 30 years of harsh rule. Protesters and activists, in negotiations with Sudan's Transitional Military Council, agreed on April 27 to form a joint civilian-military body to oversee a peaceful transition. However, mounting tensions over the composition of that council triggered a mass rally today in Khartoum.
“With developing changes in Sudan, accountability for atrocity crimes committed by President al-Bashir and other members of his regime is an absolute necessity,” said Felice Gaer, Director of AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights. “The people of Sudan are seeking a peaceful and democratic government that embraces human rights and the rule of law. Justice for victims of the genocide in Darfur and full civilian participation in the creation of their new government are essential components to this transition.”
Al-Bashir faces International Criminal Court arrest warrants, the first issued in 2009, for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region. AJC has strongly spoken out about the genocide in Darfur and stood behind efforts to ensure accountability for the perpetrators.
Between 2003 and 2008, an estimated 400,000 Darfuris were murdered and more than 3 million were displaced as government forces and government-backed militias, known as the Janjaweed, fought rebel groups in a scorched-earth offensive that included killings of civilians, torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, sexual violence, and forced displacement.
The African Union has given the military council three months to transition to a civilian government, stressing that this process should not be delayed. Meanwhile, protestors have said they will continue to mobilize in the streets until the military fully responds to their demands.
In a UN Security Council briefing following the coup, the Joint Special Representative for the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur and the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs raised concerns about the impact of the current turmoil on civilians and ongoing humanitarian needs, particularly in Darfur.
AJC joins the African Union Peace and Security Council in affirming the “legitimate aspirations of the Sudanese people” to “democratically design and choose institutions that are representative and respectful of freedoms and human rights,” as declared in a Council statement of April 19.
AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights and AJC’s Africa Institute have long followed developments in Sudan, including in Darfur.