Pro-democracy protesters in Sudan

New Report Sets Out Approach Needed to Pull Sudan’s Democratic Transition Back from the Brink

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A new research paper from REDRESS and the SOAS Centre for Human Rights Law, Sudan’s Democratic Transition on Life Support, situates Sudan’s current political and human rights crisis within the broader historical context, demonstrating that the cyclical nature of Sudan’s post-independence, post-coup politics is closely linked to the absence of respect for the rule of law, human rights protections, and justice for past violations.

The paper argues that the perpetrators of the serious human rights violations which have occurred since October 2021 cannot be viewed as equal partners in any future transitional justice process in Sudan. Prior to the coup, Sudan’s military had some measure of democratic legitimacy as a governing partner under the Constitutional Document 2019 and Juba Peace Agreement. That legitimacy has evaporated, and cannot be re-conferred through a flawed mediation process.

As political negotiations begin in Khartoum, with notably limited participation and consensus, REDRESS and the SOAS Centre for Human Rights Law offer several concrete recommendations for Sudan’s international partners to improve the current situation, including:

  • Applying targeted sanctions against those individuals and entities most responsible for ongoing systematic and widespread human rights violations (including extrajudicial killings, torture, and sexual- and gender-based violence), all of which undoubtedly fall within the scope of the available human rights sanctions regimes;
  • Recognising that attaining the goals of accountability, legislative, and institutional reforms requires viewing transitional justice objectives as a top-line priority, rather than as a bolt-on to economic reforms;
  • Using all diplomatic tools to ensure that political mediations which are ongoing at the time of writing must be inclusive, transparent, and participatory, and avoiding drawing a false equivalency between military leaders and civilian counterparts.

The full report is available in English and Arabic.

For more information, please contact: Eva Sanchis, Head of Communications at REDRESS, on [email protected] or +44 (0)20 7793 1777. 

Cover photo credit: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah