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UN human rights body holds urgent session to discuss Sudan’s coup

‘The actions of the Sudanese military are a betrayal of the Sudanese revolution,’ says British envoy in Geneva

People chant slogans during a protest in Khartoum, amid ongoing demonstrations against a military takeover in Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)
People chant slogans during a protest in Khartoum, amid ongoing demonstrations against a military takeover in Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

GENEVA — The UN’s top human rights body is holding an urgent session about Sudan on Friday after a military coup there nearly two weeks ago, with Britain, the United States, Germany and Norway leading a push to commission an expert to monitor the situation.

The Human Rights Council debate is taking place while the United Nations still recognizes the ambassador from the deposed Sudanese government as the country’s official representative in Geneva, raising questions about how – or if – the military leadership in Khartoum will be represented during the session.

The push for a human rights expert comes amid mounting international pressure on Sudan’s top general, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the forces loyal to him who dissolved Sudan’s transitional government and detained other government officials and political leaders in the Oct. 25 coup.

“The actions of the Sudanese military are a betrayal of the Sudanese revolution, of the democratic transition, and of the hopes and aspirations of the Sudanese people,” Simon Manley, Britain’s ambassador in Geneva, said in a statement sent to The Associated Press. “Fundamentally, this is about respect for democracy and human rights.”

“I hope that fellow council members will stand in solidarity with the brave people of Sudan today,” Manley said.

The four Western countries presented a draft resolution on Wednesday, and the final language still was being worked out. Human Rights Council spokesperson Rolando Gomez said a provision remained intact to create a “special rapporteur” to monitor the situation in Sudan for one year.

Sudan’s top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, speaks during a press conference at the General Command of the Armed Forces in Khartoum on October 26, 2021. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP)

The draft also called for the immediate return to a civilian-led transitional government under Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was among those detained in the coup. He is now under house arrest but has been allowed to meet with UN and international diplomats as part of mediation efforts.

On Thursday, Sudan’s state-run news agency reported that Burhan had ordered the release of four government ministers who also were detained. A defense lawyer for the ministers said they had not yet been freed.

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