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 report covers political, security, human rights, rule of law and protection, socioeconomic and humanitarian developments in the Sudan from 22 February to 5 May 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 political situation in the Sudan remained deadlocked following the resignation of the Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, covered in my previous report (S/2022/172). Against this backdrop, domestic and international efforts to facilitate a political process to restore the democratic transition intensified. The United Nations, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) commenced joint facilitation efforts with all stakeholders to find a way out of the crisis through a Sudanese-owned and -led process. Several Sudanese stakeholders also developed political initiatives to facilitate a return to constitutional order and civilian governance.
3. Throughout the reporting period, neighbourhood resistance committees continued to organize regular protests across the country, albeit on a smaller scale than during the previous reporting period. Protesters continued, often by blocking roads, to oppose the military rule and denounce the worsening economic conditions. Organizers continued to call for peaceful demonstrations. While most protestors heeded this call, a few engaged in confrontation with the security forces. The latter continued to use tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and, occasionally, live ammunition to disperse the protesters. Sudanese authorities often blocked major roads and bridges prior to demonstrations, in particular in Khartoum.
4. In addition to organizing protests, resistance committees in Khartoum and in other states continued their efforts to forge a common position on the way forward for the country. On 27 February, the resistance committees in Khartoum State held a press conference announcing their “Charter for the Establishment of the People’s Authority”, calling for “the continuation of peaceful resistance”, the “toppling down [of] the military coup” and the “drafting [of] a transitional constitution that establishes transitional governance structures for the purpose of achieving the goals of the revolution”.
5. On 28 February, UNITAMS released the summary report of the consultations that it had led since 8 January, in which it identified areas of consensus and divergence between stakeholders on the way forward towards restoring the political transition. The African Union and IGAD Special Envoys for the Sudan, Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt and Ismail Wais, respectively, visited Khartoum several times during the reporting period in support of international and regional efforts to assist Sudanese stakeholders in restoring the political transition. The visit of the Special Envoy of IGAD was conducted subsequent to the release in February of the IGAD report of a fact-finding mission to the Sudan.
6. Following the conclusion of the UNITAMS-facilitated consultations, the African Union, IGAD and the United Nations agreed to work jointly and formed a trilateral cooperation mechanism in support of a Sudanese-led process to end the political crisis and restore a civilian-led transitional government. The three organizations held joint meetings with Sudanese stakeholders across the political and social spectrum aimed at reaching agreement on immediate priority issues, focusing on transitional constitutional arrangements, the selection of the Prime Minister and cabinet, elections, government programmes and a road map on the way forward.
7. A number of domestic initiatives to solve the political crisis also emerged during the reporting period. On 1 March, a group of university Vice-Chancellors announced an initiative to produce a unified charter on the political transition by reaching out to a broad range of actors, including civil society, resistance committees and the Sudanese Professionals Association. This initiative has stalled since the appointment, on 29 March, of new heads of 30 public universities by the Chairperson of the Sovereign Council, Lieutenant General Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, following a decree dissolving the boards of trustees of the government-run universities. Political coalitions and parties also actively sought to form alliances around common positions on constitutional arrangements for the transitional period. Various eminent national figures put forward draft initiatives to help find common ground on contentious issues, such as civilian-military relations.
8. From 24 to 26 March, the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) – except the Justice and Equality Movement – met in El Damazin, Blue Nile State, and proposed the launch of a dialogue initiative in two phases: first, to achieve an agreement between the signatories to the Constitutional Document on the formation of a government for the remaining transitional period, and, second, to address key issues between political forces, namely the system of governance, the constitution and the conduct of elections. SRF affirmed its commitment to the full implementation of all tracks of the Juba Peace Agreement.
9. From 24 to 27 April, the authorities released 19 political detainees affiliated with the Committee to Dismantle the 30 June 1989 Regime and Retrieve Public Funds (Dismantling Committee) on bail in the form of personal guarantees. The work of the Dismantling Committee had been halted since the 25 October military coup, and the detainees charged with alleged misappropriation of public funds. Most of the 19 detainees had been held for about three months. Among those released were the former Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Khalid Omer Yousif, and the former Sovereign Council member, Muhammad Al-Faki.
10. At the same time, authorities took several actions to reverse accountability measures put in place during Mr. Hamdok’s premiership. On 7 March, security forces took over the office premises of an independent investigation committee that had been stipulated in the 2019 Constitutional Document and established by Mr. Hamdok when he was Prime Minister to probe into the killing of protestors in Khartoum on 3 June 2019. On 21 March, the Central Bank of the Sudan ordered national banks to unfreeze 646 individual bank accounts and 373 company bank accounts, which the Dismantling Committee had frozen as part of its work to combat corruption and recover assets stolen under the former President, Omer Al-Bashir. Separately, on 7 April, a Sudanese court issued a judicial ruling acquitting the former head of the National Congress Party, Ibrahim Ghandour, and 12 others, reportedly citing lack of evidence. The defendants had been arrested in June 2020 on charges of crimes against the State.
11. Implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement remained uneven. On 9 and 14 March, the authorities in West and South Kordofan, respectively, inaugurated deputy governors affiliated with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North Malik Agar faction, thereby advancing the establishment of the governance structures outlined under the South Kordofan and Blue Nile (Two Areas) track of the Juba Peace Agreement. Meanwhile, in Eastern Sudan, on 11 April, the Beja High Council announced a decision to reimpose a blockade on Port Sudan, citing a lack of resolution over the Eastern Track of the Juba Peace Agreement, to which they remain opposed. Some progress was made in standing up Darfur security arrangements, as described below.