The African Union on Wednesday suspended troubled Sudan after the military forcibly took power and dissolved the transitional government.
The decision announced by the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) means that Sudan will no longer be allowed into AU sessions or vote on crucial matters until it restores a civilian government.
“The AUPSC decides to suspend the participation of the Republic of Sudan in all AU activities until the effective restoration of the civilian-led Transitional Authority,” a communique said after the 15-member Council met virtually on Tuesday and condemned the coup.
The Council, comprising of member states of the AU on a rotational basis, is a standing organ that works to prevent, manage or resolve conflicts on the continent. This month, Mozambique is the chair of the Council and was expected to send a delegation to Khartoum by the weekend to discuss the transition with the military chiefs.
Sudan’s military ruler Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Monday morning took power, arrested members of the transitional government under Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and imposed a state of emergency including shutting down the internet.
He reappeared in public on Tuesday promising to set a government “free of politics” and freed Dr Hamdok who had been detained with his wife. He rejected his decision as a coup, saying he had acted to safeguard the transition.
Suspending Sudan is routine though. The AU’s policy requires total disregard to “unconstitutional changes” in government and usually suspends members until they agree to return to civilian rule.
The Council said the AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat should “take necessary measures and intensify his engagement with the leaders of the Transitional Government and the Sovereign Council in order to facilitate the resumption of dialogue towards a successful transition in Sudan.”
That, the Council indicated, includes dispatching a team to Khartoum.
Crack the whip
The decision of the AU came even as activists across the continent criticised the coup, calling on the continental body to crack the whip.
In an open letter, more than 70 entities and individuals said Sudan’s junta had violated basic rights by denying them a chance to take part in the transition as well as suffering a communication blockade.
“These actions violate the AU Shared Values and specific provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance regarding unconstitutional changes of government.
“We note that the military takeover has negative consequences for Sudan’s transition into a democracy, a journey that had a major turning point in 2019 when civilians got rid of dictator Omar Hassan Al-Bashir through a peoples’ revolution,” they said in an open letter on Wednesday.
The junta also closed down the main airports and restricted the movement of people.
“These limitations on the rights and freedoms of the Sudanese people as well as other nationalities present in Sudan is in stark violation of both the Sudanese Constitution as well as African and International Human rights norms,” they said under their banner of ‘African citizens and its diaspora.’
They demanded that all of Hamdok’s ministers arrested on Monday be released, people allowed to picket and the military return power to civilians.
The groups included 40 civil society groups and 38 individual rights campaigners whose list is found here below.
A – Institutions
- Advocacy Network for Africa, Washington DC, USA
- AfricanDefenders (Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network)
- African Union Watch, Banjul, The Gambia
- African Women and Youth Initiative
- African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET)/ Réseau de Développement et de Communication des Femmes Africaines
- African Women Leaders Forum (AWLF), Zimbabwe
- Atrocities Watch Africa (AWA), Kampala, Uganda
- Chapter One Foundation, Lusaka, Zambia
- Coalition for an effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACC), Arusha, Tanzania
- Coalition Togolaise des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (CTDDH), Lomé, Togo
- DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
- Disability Amalgamation Community Trust (DACT), Zimbabwe
- DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, Gaborone, Botswana
- Eastern Africa Youth Empowerment on Peace and Security
- Echoes of Women in Africa Initiatives, Nigeria
- HUDO Centre, Kampala, Uganda
- Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA)
- Institut des Médias pour la Démocratie et les Droits de l'Homme (IM2DH), Lomé, Togo
- Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD), Zimbabwe
- International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI), Kampala, Uganda
- Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi!, Nairobi, Kenya
- Kamma Organization for Development Initiatives (KODI), Sudan
- Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Nairobi, Kenya
- Nawi – Afrifem Macroeconomics Collective, Nairobi, Kenya
- Network of Independent Commissions for Human Rights in North Africa
- Nubsud Human Rights Monitors Organization (NHRMO), Sudan
- OnetoAll Foundation, Meru, Kenya
- Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Johannesburg, South Africa
- Oromo Legacy Leadership and Advocacy Association
- Oromo Professionals Group (OPG), Washington DC
- Rape Hurts Foundation, Uganda
- Pan African Citizens Network (PACIN)
- Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), Arusha, Tanzania
- Pan African Law and Justice Initiative, Kenya
- Panos Institute Southern Africa
- Plateforme de la Diaspora Tchadienne en Amerique
- Southern Defenders (Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network)
- Wakiso District Human Rights Committee, Uganda
- Yearning Voices Foundation (YVF)
- Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Harare, Zimbabwe
B – Individuals
- Abel K. Walendom, Co-Facilitator, Plateforme de la Diaspora Tchadienne en Amerique
- Abdalla Komi Kodi, Executive Director, Kamma Organization for Development Initiatives (KODI), Sudan
- Achieng’ Akena, PanAfricanist, Uganda
- Adaobi Egboka, Human Rights Lawyer, Nigeria
- Arnold Tsunga, Human Rights Lawyer, Zimbabwe
- Brian Tamuka Kagoro, Uhai Africa Ltd, Harare, Zimbabwe
- Bridget Musungu, Panafrican, Nairobi Kenya
- Bushra Gamar Hussein, Executive Director, HUDO Centre, Kampala, Uganda
- Bonaventure N’Coué MAWUVI, Journaliste et Défenseurs des Droits Humains, Lomé,Togo
- Chidi Anselm Odinkalu
- Chris Kwaja
- Danford M. Chirwa, Dean, UCT Law
- Donald Deya, Pan Africanist, Nairobi, Kenya
- Dzimbabwe Chimbga, Human Rights Lawyer, Zimbabwe
- Edigah Kavuravu, Human Rights Lawyer, Kenya
- Femi Falana SAN, Human Rights Lawyer, Nigeria
- Feyi Ogunade, Human Rights Lawyer
- George Kegoro, Lawyer, Nairobi, Kenya
- Gitahi Githuku, Human Rights Defender, Nairobi, Kenya
- Golda Keng, Advocacy and Campaigns Consultant, Yaoundé, Cameroon
- Hakima Haithar, International Development Consultant, Johannesburg, South Africa
- Ibrahima Kane: Ibrahima Kane, lawyer Senegal
- Irene Mwendwa, Lawyer, Policy Uganda
- Jok Madut Jok, Professor of Anthropology, Syracuse University and Director of The Sudd Institute
- Khabele Matlosa
- Martin Masiga, Africa Judges and Jurists Forum (AJJF)
- Martin Mavenjina, Constitutional and Human Rights Lawyer, Nairobi, Kenya
- Musa Mwenye, SC, Former Attorney General of the Republic of Zambia
- Nikiwe Kaunda, Mzuzu, Malawi
- Otto Saki, Zimbabwe
- Roland Ebole, Human Rights Lawyer, Nairobi, Kenya
- Roselyn Hanzi, Human Rights Lawyer, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
- Sarah Mukasa
- Sharon Nakandha, Lawyer, Uganda
- Siphosami Malunga, Executive Director, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa
- Tiseke Kasambala, Chief of Party, Freedom House, Johannesburg, South Africa
- Vusumuzi Sifile, Lusaka, Zambia
- Washington Katema