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Use of violence against protesters in Sudan impacts normalization process, U.S. says

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A tear gas volley fired by the riot police to the minaret of Wad Nubawi mosque on 11 January 2019 (ST photo)
January 2.3, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The United States condemned on Wednesday the use of violence against peaceful protesters and urged the release of the detainees. Further, it recalled that the normalization of bilateral relations including Sudan removal from terror list requires ensuring freedoms.

On 8 January, the U.S. Britain and Norway issued a joint statement condemning the excessive violence to quell protests in Sudan. The Troika countries made it clear that the ongoing bloody repression against peaceful demonstrators will have an impact on their engagements towards Khartoum.

However, with the continuation of the bloody repression and the rise of the death tool, Washington issued a second statement recalling Khartoum its commitments particularly observing human rights and freedoms as it is agreed in the five-track engagement reached in November 2018.

"The United States supports the right of the Sudanese people to gather peaceably to voice their demands for political and economic reform and a more peaceful and inclusive Sudan. We condemn the use of violence, including the use of live fire, and the excessive use of tear gas by the Sudanese security forces," said the statement.

The statement further stressed that a positive relationship between the United States and Sudan requires "meaningful political reform and clear, sustained progress on respect for human rights".

"This must include prohibiting the security services’ use of arbitrary detention and excessive force against protesters, and ending the government’s harassment and intimidation of journalists, human rights defenders, political opposition, medical personnel, students, and other civil society actors".

Sudanese activists and protesters released recently shocking videos showing riot police and security forces firing live ammunition storming houses and beating protesters or people who open their home to receive them.

Four people were killed following a protest on 17 January in Khartoum. Also, activists say hundreds were arrested during that day joining over one thousand protesters, journalists and political opponents.

The State Department urged the release of journalists, activists, and peaceful protesters and to allow those facing charges full access to legal representation.

"We also call on the government to allow for a credible and independent investigation into the deaths and injuries of protesters," said the statement.

Furthermore, Washington urged the government to create a safe and secure environment for public expression and dialogue with the opposition and civil society in a more inclusive political process.

In line with the deal reached last November to remove Sudan from the terror list, Washington will assess Khartoum’s efforts to implement its engagements and seek the consent of the U.S. Congress which traditionally hostile to the regime of President Omer al-Bashir

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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