UN calls for Sudan restraint

2012-06-28 21:04
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Johannesburg - Sudan should stop its crackdown on peaceful demonstrations and enter into a dialogue with the opposition, Navi Pillay, the United Nations top human rights official, urged on Thursday.

She was commenting ahead of a planned mass rally by opposition activists set for Friday in Khartoum.

The latest wave of continuous demonstrations has been ongoing since 17 June. The spontaneous gatherings of hundreds of people have been led by students protesting against austerity measures and the lack of political freedoms in the country.

"Dozens of individuals, including human rights defenders, journalists, students and political opponents, have been arrested since the protests began," said Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"Genuine dialogue with government critics is far more effective than arbitrary detention and violence if the government wishes to create a stable and successful society."

Pillay's remarks followed a US State Department condemnation of security forces' tactics in taking on the protesters, including the use of rubber bullets and tear gas.

"The heavy-handed approach adopted by Sudanese security forces is disproportionate and deeply concerning," according to a statement from Washington this week, which noted that some of those arrested were reportedly "severely mistreated while in government custody."

Al-Obaid Adam Marawih, a Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman, said that Washington was "blatantly interfering" in his country's internal affairs.

"The US is not qualified to advise on such an issue because it continues to bomb civilians in different parts of the world and it cracked down on demonstrators on Wall Street," he said in a statement.

President Omar al-Bashir and other official have adamantly denied their country is about to face an Arab Spring uprising.

The economy has been reeling since Sudan lost most of its oil reserves when South Sudan became independent last year after decades of civil war.

Read more on:    un  |  omar al-bashir  |  navi pillay  |  sudan  |  south sudan  |  east africa

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