Sudan + 2 more

Situation in the Sudan and the activities of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in the Sudan - Report of the Secretary-General (S/2022/172) [EN/AR]


I. Introduction

1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2579 (2021), by which the Council decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in the Sudan (UNITAMS) until 3 June 2022 and requested me to report to it every 90 days on the implementation of the Mission’s mandate. The present report covers political, security, socioeconomic, human rights, rule of law and humanitarian developments in the Sudan from 22 November 2021 to 21 February 2022 and provides an update on the implementation of the Mission’s mandate, with gender considerations integrated as a cross-cutting issue throughout.

II. Significant developments

A. Political situation

2. The transition in the Sudan continued to witness significant setbacks and challenges during the reporting period. The political agreement of 21 November between the Chairperson of the Sovereign Council and Commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan and the Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, which was covered in my previous report (S/2021/1008), was aimed at resolving the political crisis in the country following the military coup of 25 October. However, the agreement was widely condemned by civilian political forces across the Sudan, including the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), the National Umma Party and the Sudanese Congress Party, inter alia. As a consequence, on 22 November, 12 government ministers affiliated with the FFC coalition tendered their resignations.

3. Neighbourhood resistance committees across the Sudan also rejected any negotiation or partnership with the military leadership. Throughout the reporting period, these groups continued to organize mass protests and campaigns of civil disobedience under the slogan “no negotiation, no partnership, no compromise”. Women and youth participated actively and prominently in the protests.

4. The Prime Minister committed to forming a new government within two weeks of the agreement and later confirmed that an investigation had been launched into the violence towards protesters. In addition, the General Secretariat of the Cabinet announced a review into official appointments and dismissals by the military since the military coup of 25 October. The Prime Minister met with political forces, including FFC, to discuss a road map for the implementation of the 21 November agreement, which included freezing and reviewing State appointments, returning those dismissed to their posts, expediting the release of detainees and ensuring the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly.

5. On 1 December, the Prime Minister issued a decree replacing a number of undersecretaries in various ministries appointed in the aftermath of the military co up. On 25 November, Abdel-Aziz Fathal-Rahman Abdeen Mohamed was appointed by the Sovereign Council as Chief Justice. He had previously served as Deputy Chief Justice under the former President, Omer Al-Bashir. On 2 December, Khalifa Ahmed Khalifa was appointed by the Sovereign Council as acting Attorney General. While both appointments are within the parameters provided for under the Constitutional Document, the process has been criticized for a lack of consultations among all the forces concerned. The constitutionality of the Sovereign Council has been challenged since its reconstitution on 11 November, in view of the fact that Lieutenant General Al-Burhan had unilaterally replaced four civilian members, in contravention of the relevant provisions of the Constitutional Document governing such appointments. On 13 December, the Prime Minister replaced all acting state governors appointed since 25 October. However, he refrained from appointing a new Council of Ministers, while he continued to seek consensus on a political agreement with political forces.

6. On 16 December, the parties to the 21 November agreement released a draft political declaration on the way forward for consultation with political parties, civil society and resistance committees, inter alia. However, the document was immediately rejected by several political forces which had not been part of the agreement negotiations. Meanwhile, other groups such as FFC, the National Umma Party, SPA, the Popular Congress Party and several scholars from universities across the Sudan also released and outlined competing political declarations and initiatives on the way out of the political crisis.

7. On 19 December, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the 2018 revolution, the Prime Minister stated in his address that the Sudan was experiencing “a major setback in [its] revolution” which was the “beginning of the slipping towards an abyss”. He warned against “entrenched and divergent positions” and urged “all the forces of the revolution and all those who believe in the democratic civilian transition” to agree on a “political pact”. The same day, following weeks of demonstrations, the resistance committees organized mass protests and sit-ins across the country marking the anniversary of the revolution. Although major streets and bridges were initially blocked by the military, mass protests bypassed the barriers and breached key locations, including the grounds of the Republican Palace in Khartoum. One protester was killed, more than 300 were wounded and hundreds were reportedly detained. According to OHCHR, citing media reports, there were 13 cases of alleged rape and gang rape of women and girls, as well as allegations of sexual harassment by security forces during the protests. On 23 December, human rights and women’s groups gathered in Khartoum and Omdurman to protest against the use of rape against female demonstrators.

8. On 24 December, Lieutenant General Al-Burhan issued an emergency order (No. 3/2021) granting regular security forces, including the Sudanese Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces, the police and the General Intelligence Service, new sweeping powers enabling them to arrest and search individuals and buildings, regulate movements of people and confiscate goods and property. The emergency order also granted immunity to regular forces against any proceedings.

9. In the context of increased violence against protesters and the absence of a political agreement, the Prime Minister announced his resignation in a televised address on 2 January. The Prime Minister cited the differences between the military and civilian components and called for dialogue and consensus to complete the democratic transition in the Sudan. Reacting to the resignation of the Prime Minister, resistance committees and activists announced another “March of Millions” for 4 January. Elements of SPA noted that the resignation did not “advance or delay anything in the path of revolution” as the “real power remains in the hands of the Military Council”.

10. On 19 January, Lieutenant General Al-Burhan named 15 of the 20 undersecretaries that had been appointed by the Prime Minister as acting ministers until the elections. He also filled the remaining ministerial posts in the transitional authority. In addition, he established a four-person committee composed primarily of Sovereign Council members to engage with Sudanese stakeholders on a way forward and to identify potential candidates for the post of Prime Minister.

11. The situation in eastern Sudan remained unpredictable. On 26 November, the Beja High Council threatened to renew the blockade of Eastern Sudan if its demands for the cancellation of the Eastern Track of the Juba Peace Agreement were not met. Subsequently, on 16 December, the Vice-Chair of the Sovereign Council and the commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, announced the suspension of the eastern track of the Juba Peace Agreement. On 28 December, Lieutenant General Al-Burhan formed a committee on the East chaired by Lieutenant General Dagalo. The security situation along the border of the Sudan with Ethiopia also remained volatile, compounded by the continuing insecurity in both countries.