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Human Rights

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ceisteanna (250)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

250. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has raised at the European Union Foreign Affairs Council and at the United Nations the widespread concerns in relation to the military and security forces coup in Sudan and the resultant human rights issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [58230/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

After almost 30 years of military dictatorship, the 2019 people’s revolution put Sudan on the path to democratic civilian government. The military coup, which began on 24/25 October, represents a major setback to this transition.

The military leadership’s violent crackdown on the country’s civilian and civil society leadership, mass detention of protestors, attacks on medical personnel and facilities, and methodical dismantling of transitional institutions are utterly unacceptable. The actions of the military, both army and former militia leaders and signatories of the Juba Peace Agreement, have put in jeopardy the hard-won transition, and the legitimate wishes of the Sudanese people for freedom, peace, justice and inclusive development. They also have worrying implications for peace and security in the region more broadly.

Sudan’s democratic transition is too important to fail, for the people of Sudan, and for the stability of the Horn of Africa region as a whole. The release and reinstatement of Prime Minister Hamdok on 21 November must be accompanied by an immediate halt to violence and repression, and the freeing of all civilian leaders and political detainees. Telecommunications must also be fully restored. Credible discussions can then commence on a way forward which honours the demands of the Sudanese people for freedom, peace and justice and puts the country back on the path to democracy.

Ireland welcomed the decision of the African Union (AU) last month to suspend Sudan from AU activities until “the effective restoration of the civilian-led Transitional Authority”. We are also closely following efforts by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, Volker Perthes, in Khartoum, and the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Annette Weber, to engage with Sudanese and regional stakeholders.

Ireland supported a strong Security Council Press Statement on 28 October condemning the coup, and was unequivocal in denouncing the action by Sudan’s military leaders at two Security Council meetings on Sudan, most recently on 11 November. We continue to keep further Council action under consideration as the situation unfolds, including through the three Sudan-focused mandates over which the Council presides: UNITAMS (UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan), UNISFA (Interim Security Force for Abyei) and the Sudan sanctions regime. Ireland has also supported a strong EU response. High Representative Josep Borrell issued a statement on 26 October on behalf of the 27 EU Member States warning of serious consequences if the move to dismantle the transitional government was not reversed. The situation was also discussed by Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council on 15 November.On 19 November in the wake of the killing and injury of over 100 peaceful protesters in Khartoum, Minister Coveney issued a statement condemning the reckless and unlawful actions of the coup leaders and undertaking to consider what further measures might be taken to protect and reset the path to democratic transition, and to maintain peace and security. Ireland is ready to consider further restrictive or financial measures, including under the EU’s Global Human Rights sanctions regime, while keeping in mind the increasing humanitarian needs on the ground. Ireland joined calls for a Special Session of the Human Rights Council on Sudan on 5 November where we commended the courage of the Sudanese people and urged the military authorities to fully respect the rights of peaceful assembly. As the crisis evolves, my officials, including through our Embassy in Nairobi accredited to Sudan, will continue to closely monitor the situation and work with our partners for a cohesive collective response, and for a restoration of the democratic transition.

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