Update June 2022

From Atrocities Watch Monitor N° 5, June 2022
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The situation in Sudan remains volatile. The UN Mission in Sudan, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) launched, on 12 May, preliminary talks intended to set the ground rules for further negotiation. Some groups, including the Forces for Freedom and Change – Central Council and the Resistance Committees of Khartoum, refused to take part in a dialogue with the military arguing that this would legitimise the coup.[1] Many have looked at the long history of failure to implement agreements and concluded that negotiations are not useful.

Protests continued and were heavily repressed by security forces. One protester was killed on 21 May,[2] and two more on 28 May.[3] So far, 98 protesters have been killed and 4,300 wounded.[4] The trial against four Sudanese protesters accused of killing a police officer during an anti-military march in January 2022 started on 30 May.[5]

On 29 May, Al-Burhan lifted the state of emergency and released about 125 political detainees in order to create the atmosphere for “a fruitful and meaningful dialogue that achieves stability during the transitional period.” The measure had been in place since the October 2021 military coup. However, activists point out that many are still incarcerated.[6]

Risk of atrocities remains high in Darfur, where violence in the regions has increased exponentially compared to April. ACLED recorded over 200% increase in violent events and an 140% increase in fatalities in the last month over the average for the last year. Violence had started again at the end of April, cost the lives of at least 200 people and displaced up to 115,000. Adam Rojal, spokesperson of Darfur’s refugees and IDPs, argued that the government was responsible “massacres were carried out in a very orderly and systematic manner, using weapons and vehicles from the state’s warehouses. .. . This is not a tribal war. It is the state which kills, rapes and displaces its citizens and cloaks it as a tribal conflict.”[7] This month there have been attacks on IDP camps.[8]


Sudan has been the site of numerous atrocities. The north-south civil war raged from 1955- 2001 with a brief respite following the signing of the Addis Ababa agreement in 1972. An estimated four million were displaced.239 The war was characterised by brutal attacks on civilians and ethnically charged rhetoric. A Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2001, eventually leading to the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

Shortly after the signing of the CPA, violence broke out in Darfur, with rebels taking up arms in response to the marginalisation of the region. Once again, ethnically charged rhetoric was deployed and groups associated with the rebels were subjected to massive human rights violations. Whole villages were razed, and women were systematically raped. A series of peace agreements signed in 2006, 2011 and 2020 have failed to end the violence.

International response:

On 12 May, the US Senate passed a resolution calling “to condemn the military coup in Sudan and support the Sudanese people,” by requesting the US administration to impose sanctions on those responsible for the coup.[9] International and Sudanese organisations and human rights defenders signed an open letter urging the U.S. administration to impose targeted sanctions on Burhan and “Hemeti” for their involvement in serious human rights abuses following the 25 October coup.[10]

UNITAMS head Volker Perthes briefed the UNSC on 24 May, saying “Time is short for Sudan to reach a solution to its protracted political crisis.” He added that the crisis can only be resolved by the Sudanese,” Council members called on the military to make progress on confidence-building measures, including the release of political detainees and lifting the state of emergency.[11]

The government decided not to renew the visa of senior international advisor of the UNITAMS mission, Dame Rosalind Marsden, which specialists fear could lead to repercussions from the international community.[12]

The EU[13] and the trilateral mechanism comprised of the AU, IGAD and UN,[14] welcomed the lift of the state of emergency and release of the political detainees.

[1] Dabanga Sudan, “Tripartite mechanism: First round of indirect negotiations started in Sudan,” 13 May 2022, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/tripartite-mechanism-first-round-of-indirect-negotiations-started-in-sudan

[2] VOA, “One Killed in Renewed Anti-coup Protests in Sudan,” 21 May 2022, https://www.voanews.com/a/one-killed-in-renewed-anti-coup-protests-in-sudan/6583774.html

[3] Reuters, “Trial begins for Sudanese protesters accused of killing police officer,” 30 May 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/trial-begins-sudanese-protesters-accused-killing-police-officer-2022-05-29/

[4] ABC, “Sudan’s top general lifts state of emergency from coup,” 29 May 2022, https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/envoy-decries-sudan-violence-killed-protests-85049488

[5]  Reuters, “Trial begins for Sudanese protesters accused of killing police officer,” 30 May 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/trial-begins-sudanese-protesters-accused-killing-police-officer-2022-05-29/

[6] Sudan Tribune, “Sudan’s military leader lifts state of emergency,” 30 May 2022, https://sudantribune.com/article259525/

[7] Peoples Dispach, “Security situation in Darfur remains very dangerous,” 30 May 2022, https://peoplesdispatch.org/2022/05/30/security-situation-in-darfur-remains-very-dangerous/

[8] Sudan Tribune, “Gunmen kill three IDPs in South Darfur camp,” 7 May 2022, https://sudantribune.com/article258376/

Dabanga Sudan, “Deadly attack on Otash camp in South Darfur,” 12 May 2022, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/deadly-attack-on-otash-camp-in-south-darfur

[9] Dabanga, “USA pass resolution calling to sanction Sudan’s coup leaders,” 13 May 2022, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/usa-pass-resolution-calling-to-sanction-sudan-s-coup-leaders

[10] Dabanga, “Intl. activists call for ‘targeted US sanctions on Sudan coup leaders,” 11 May 2022, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/intl-activists-call-for-targeted-us-sanctions-on-sudan-coup-leaders

[11] UNSC, SC/14901, Lack of Progress on Political Track Will Lead to Humanitarian Disaster in Sudan, Secretary-General’s Special Representative Warns Security Council, 24 May 2022, https://www.un.org/press/en/2022/sc14901.doc.htm

[12] Dabanga, “‘Unwise’ denial of UNITAMS advisor’s Sudan visa risks ‘severe international repercussions’,” 26 May 2022, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/unwise-denial-of-unitams-advisor-s-sudan-visa-risks-severe-international-repercussions

[13] EU External Action, “Sudan: Statement by the Spokesperson on the lifting of the State of Emergency,” 30 May 2022, https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/sudan-statement-spokesperson-lifting-state-emergency_en

[14] Twitter, UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission Sudan (@UNITAMS), 30 May 2022, https://twitter.com/UNITAMS/status/1531236655742570496