Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Ceisteanna (129)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

129. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the situation in Sudan; the EU position on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24071/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The recent political events and violence against protestors in Sudan follows over six months of demonstrations, triggered initially by spiralling costs of living.

On 11 April, it was announced that President Omar al-Bashir had been removed from power and that a Transitional Military Council had assumed control in Sudan.  The Transitional Military Council announced its intention to govern for a two-year period after which there would be Presidential elections: in the meantime, Sudan's Constitution was suspended, Parliament dissolved, and a three-month state of emergency was declared.

Demonstrators, while welcoming the removal of President al-Bashir, continued to demand a return to Constitutional and civilian-led Government.  On 15 May, following extensive negotiations, an agreement in principle was announced for a three-year transition period. However, final agreement regarding a civilian majority on a proposed 11-member Supreme Council was opposed by the Transitional Military Council, and negotiations stalled.   

Shortly after dawn on 3 June, heavily armed security forces surrounded demonstrators and shot indiscriminately with live bullets and teargas. The official death toll is thought to considerably underestimate actual numbers killed.  The Transitional Military Council later stated that the raid targeted criminals amongst the demonstrators, a claim refuted by the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a broad coalition of opposition parties and the major force behind the protests.

The Transitional Military Council announced that it was cancelling all agreements with the Declaration of Freedom and Change, saying it would move ahead with elections to be held within nine months. Demonstrators demand a longer period to guarantee fair elections.

On 3 June, EU High Representative Mogherini issued a statement declaring that there can be no justification for the use of force to disperse peaceful protests, and that the Transitional Military Council is accountable for security and rule of law in the country, with a responsibility to act with restraint. The  Tánaiste has endorsed this statement and has also strongly condemned the use of violence and excessive force against protestors.  

On 6 June, the African Union decided with immediate effect to suspend Sudan from participation in all African Union activities until the effective establishment of a civilian-led transitional authority.  This followed sustained, but ultimately unsuccessful, engagement with Sudan in the weeks since the Transitional Military Council seized control, to encourage them to restore constitutional order. 

My officials continue to actively monitor developments in Sudan, through the Embassy of Ireland in Nairobi, which has responsibility for Sudan, and through the European Union delegation in Khartoum.  Ireland continues to respond to on-going humanitarian needs in Sudan through the provision of humanitarian funding, with almost €29 million provided through our UN, NGO and Red Cross partners since 2012.