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UN Human Rights Council to monitor Sudan coup violations

Thousands of people take part in anti-coup protests following the military takeover in Sudan in the capital Khartoum, 30 October 2021. Sudan's military launched a coup attempt on 25 October and arrested the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior ministers and civilian members of the Transitional Sovereignty Council during early morning raids. (Keystone/EPA/STR)

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Friday condemning the military coup in Sudan and appointing an envoy to monitor alleged violations in the country.

The resolution, which was led by the United Kingdom, was adopted by consensus during an emergency session convened in Geneva, although a number of states including China and Russia abstained.

"This afternoon, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the brave people of Sudan who have demonstrated in their millions on the streets of their country in defence of democracy, and of their fundamental rights," the UK's ambassador to the UN in Geneva Simon Manley told the Council.

Sudan's military seized power on 25 October, when General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan dissolved the government and declared a state of emergency, detaining civilian leadership officials and politicians.

The coup has sparked opposition and demonstrations across the country. Tens of thousands of people joined protests which have been met by violence, with reports of at least 13 fatalities and more than 300 people wounded.

Speaking during the session, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called on Sudan's military leaders to end their violence against civilians.

“This disproportionate and deadly use of force by the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces, and other security forces – including military police and intelligence elements – must end immediately,” said Bachelet. “Those responsible for these and other human rights violations must be held fully accountable for their actions.”

An expert will now be appointed to monitor the situation on the ground and prepare a report for the Council by mid-2022.

"I urge Sudan's military leaders, and their backers, to step back in order to allow the country to return to the path of progress towards institutional and legal reforms," ​​added Bachelet.

Bachelet also called on the military to release detained protesters as well as politicians and journalists to allow "for an inclusive dialogue and a swift return to civilian rule".

The UN has been mediating talks between Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who has been under house arrest since the coup, and military leaders. The UN special envoy to Sudan Volker Perthes said on Thursday talks had so far yielded the outline of a potential deal on a return to power-sharing, including reinstating the prime minister. But Perthes urged an agreement was needed in "days not weeks".