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Rights Groups: No Justice for Sudan Crackdown Victims

  • VOA News

People take part in protests over fuel subsidy cuts in Khartoum, Sudan, Sept. 25, 2013. As many as 185 people are thought to have been killed in a crackdown against anti-austerity protests in Khartoum three years ago.

People take part in protests over fuel subsidy cuts in Khartoum, Sudan, Sept. 25, 2013. As many as 185 people are thought to have been killed in a crackdown against anti-austerity protests in Khartoum three years ago.

Several human rights groups have criticized Sudan for failure to provide justice for a government crackdown three years ago in which dozens of protesters, and possibly as many as 185, were killed.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies say government security forces responsible for the deaths of anti-austerity protesters in Khartoum and other cities have not been held accountable for the bloodshed of 2013.

The rights groups say Sudan has established three commissions of inquiry into the violence, but has made public no findings. They say attempts to settle the cases of the acknowledged victims with payments to their families are insufficient attempts.

The U.N. Human Rights Council is considering the matter now in a session on Sudan.

Mosaad Mohamed Ali, executive director at the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies, said the U.N. Human Rights Council "should press Sudan to hold those responsible to account for the appalling bloodshed on the streets of Khartoum and other towns, and provide meaningful justice to victims of killings, assaults, and other abuses."

Large-scale protests swept Sudan in September 2013 following the announcement of austerity measures. Security forces and armed men tried to contain the protests using live ammunition, tear gas, and batons.

While Sudan places the number of dead at fewer than 100, rights groups say as many as 200 were killed, many of them shot in the chest.

About 800 people were arrested, according to a study by Amnesty and the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies. Human Rights Watch says many of those detainees were subject to torture. It says many journalists and human rights activists were beaten, and that female protesters were sexually assaulted by security forces.

Daniel Bekele, Africa Director for Human Rights Watch, said, "The government needs to publicly admit the scale of the killings and the role of its security forces."

Sarah Jackson, deputy director at Amnesty International, said "the September 2013 crackdown remains an ugly symbol of Sudan's use of lethal force against peaceful protesters, and the lack of accountability for human rights abuses." She added that members of the United Nations Human Rights Council "should loudly push the country to take victims' rights seriously."

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