THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
C/O THE CLERK
KENYA NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
P.O BOX 41842-00100
Email: [email protected]
Cc. The Chairperson, National Security and Foreign Relations.
RE: PETITION TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY UNDER ARTICLES 37 AND 119 OF THE CONSTITUTION, PETITION TO PARLIAMENT (PROCEDURE) ACT (2012) & STANDING ORDER 219 OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY STANDING ORDERS CONCERNING AN URGENT APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY AND ACTION ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS AND GOVERNANCE SITUATION IN SUDAN.
We the undersigned:
Citizens of the Republic of Kenya and public spirited human rights defenders, wish to bring to the attention of the National Assembly the escalating human rights and governance crisis in Sudan, on our own behalf and on behalf of other citizens of the Republic of Kenya.
We humbly draw attention to the house on the following:
- Through peaceful protests since December 2018 the people of Sudan successfully managed to end the 30-year rule of former President Omar Hassan El-Bashir. Initially, President Bashir’s army responded through violence and declared a state of emergency on 22nd of February 2019.
- The demonstrations which began in December 2018 were accompanied by excessive use of force resulting in more than 100 deaths, mass arbitrary arrests and detention. These demonstrations culminated in a sit-in in Khartoum around the military headquarters starting from the 6th April 2019 culminating in Bashir’s removal on 11th April 2019.
- Following the removal of Bashir from power, a Transitional Military Council (TMC) was formed to govern Sudan. The African Union (AU) condemned and totally rejected the seizure of power by the Sudanese military in line with the Lomé Declaration of July 2000 on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government and demanded that the military step aside and hand over power to a civilian-led political authority.
- In the communique of its 846th meeting, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union provided a deadline of sixty (60) days from 15 April, 2019 for the military to hand over power to a civilian-led Transitional Authority and demanded negotiations towards the establishment of a civilian-led transitional authority and the finalization of transitional arrangements, including modalities, duration and priorities of the transition, as well as legislative and judicial structures, that would lead to the restoration of constitutional order.
- While the military had initially expressed willingness to hand over power to a civilian authority, negotiations between the military and the Forces of Freedom and Change who led the protests, stalled several times. The situation deteriorated rapidly and on 3rd June 2019, the Rapid Support Forces launched an assault on the main protest site resulting in civilian deaths estimated at over 100. Many are reported missing or detained.
- These actions are the latest in a series of attacks against peaceful protestors throughout the negotiations, despite calls by the African Union Peace and Security Council for all parties to exercise maximum restraint, to respect the rights of citizens and to avoid actions that would complicate the situation in the country and negatively affect regional security and stability. The recent attacks by the security forces and the decision by the TMC to vacate all agreements with the opposition, call into question the commitment of the military to a peaceful transition. It highlights the risk of further political polarization and of mass violent confrontation if urgent action is not taken in support of a peaceful transition to civilian rule.
- The situation in Sudan is fast approaching the point of no return. There is an immediate and urgent need for intervention led by the African Union with the support of the international community to restore civilian rule in Sudan and end months of violent confrontations between the people of Sudan and the very authorities that are duty bound to protect them.
- Kenya as a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union has a key role to play in ensuring the situation in Sudan does not deteriorate any further and contribute to worsening regional instability.
- In view of this escalating governance, humanitarian and human rights situation, we call on the National Assembly to recommend to the Government of Kenya to request the African Union to:
- Appoint an eminent person-led AU mediation team to help to oversee the transition to full civilian authority and to support a broader program of conflict resolution, transitional justice and institutional reforms during the transition and if necessary deploy an African Union peace keeping mission;
- Urgently invite opposition forces such as the Sudan Professionals Association and the Forces for Freedom and change to address the council with a view to deepening understanding of their perspectives and ambitions;
- Reiterate African solidarity in support of the Sudanese people and of their internationally guaranteed human rights of freedom of expression and association and to peace and security, and the right to choose their own government;
- Propose a comprehensive package of political and material support for transition to a new civilian transitional government once this is constituted and establish a special taskforce to oversee the transition in Sudan until a civilian government is in place;
- Initiate steps towards imposing targeted sanctions with the support of the international community against members of the Transitional Military Council responsible for human rights violations;
- Urgently establish a mechanism to conduct an independent investigation into the attacks on protestors with the relevant support from the United Nations including cases of sexual and gender-based violence by armed groups including the Rapid Support Forces that have been reported following the latest attacks.
- Urges the Kenyan government and the African Union to stand in solidarity with the people of Sudan and their aspiration for a government that supports human rights, respects the rule of law and upholds the democratic freedoms for all Sudanese. The consequences of not acting now will be devastating for Sudan and the region.
WHEREFORE, your humble petitioners pray that the National Assembly;
- Dispenses with this petition immediately in view of the urgency of the matter and the gravity of the issues canvassed herein.
- Investigates this matter and makes appropriate recommendations thereon.
And your PETITIONERS will ever Pray.
Civil Society organizations in Kenya.