UN Condemns Arrest of Senior Members of Ousted Sudan Coalition
(Bloomberg) -- The top United Nations representative in Sudan strongly criticized the arrest of three senior members of the country’s ousted ruling coalition immediately after he’d met with them in the capital, a setback to efforts to reverse last week’s coup.
Volker Perthes, head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan, said Friday that Taha Osman Isahaq, Sharif Mohamed Osman and Hamza Farouk had been detained the day before near the mission’s Khartoum headquarters.
The three are influential figures in the Forces of Freedom and Change, a coalition of former opposition groups that had been represented in government for two years.
“We call upon the military leadership to cease arresting politicians and activists and to stop committing further human rights violations,” Perthes said in a statement. “These arrests which took place after a meeting on our premises undermines our good office’s role.”
There was swift international condemnation of Sudan’s Oct. 25 putsch, which came after weeks of rising tensions between the civilian and military wings of government and derailed plans for a transition to democracy after the 2019 overthrow of long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir.
Mediators from the United Nations and Western and African countries are trying to broker a solution and the return of a civilian-led administration. Army chief and coup leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who’s still under house arrest, are yet to meet.
The high-profile arrests Thursday punctures any optimism generated by the release of four government ministers detained during the coup. That move had only partly met a condition set by civilian politicians for engaging in dialog to end the crisis.
Separately, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on Friday called on Sudan’s military to “to step back in order to allow the country to return to the path of progress towards institutional and legal reforms.”
She said those arrested since the coup included government ministers, members of political parties, lawyers, civil society activists, journalists, human rights defenders and protest leaders.
“This suggests that the military leaders have sought to overturn the commitments to transitional justice, institutional reforms, anti-corruption and guarantee of non-recurrence of past abuses that have been set out in the Constitutional Document,” she told members of a human rights council in Geneva.
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