Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on UNITAMS - Sudan
Statement10 December 2021
Thank you to SRSG Perthes for your briefing and for the valiant and tireless work you are doing in difficult circumstances.
When we last gathered in this Chamber to speak about Sudan, Sudan’s democratic transition had received a huge blow. Since then there has been a welcome step back from the brink, in particular as a result of the 21 November agreement between Prime Minister Hamdok and General Burhan. Most civilian leaders—but not all—have been released, and the Prime Minister has been reinstalled.
The reality, however, is that the agreement does not entirely reverse the steps taken since 25 October to dismantle the transitional framework and institutions.
The future of the transition—and stability in Sudan still therefore hangs very much in the balance. As you said, the next steps will be crucial.
We need to see a return to constitutional order as soon as possible. To get there, we now need to rebuild trust and create an enabling environment for a genuine political settlement. To achieve this, we see the following steps as critical in the short term:
First, the state of emergency should be lifted;
Second, Prime Minister Hamdok should be allowed to freely exercise his powers;
Third, we need to see the release of all political detainees and a halt to the campaign of arrests;
Fourth, there needs to be respect for human rights, an end to the communication blockade, and full respect for the right to freedom of assembly and peaceful protest;
Fifth, the violence against civilians which we have seen escalate across Sudan since the coup, including against peaceful protestors, something we have to highlight, cannot continue. Accountability for this violence is needed. Attacks on hospitals, the wounded, and on doctors by the security forces really must cease;
Ultimately, we need to see a return to the Constitutional order. The people of Sudan have made clear, time and again, their desire for an open and free political environment.
To get there we will need a broadening of political consultation on the future of the transition and a truly inclusive political settlement. The voice of the people is at the heart of the transition. They should be fully heard in future negotiations. Crucially, women should be involved at all levels and in particular in high-level decision-making. Women have been at the core of the transition in Sudan and they are vital to its eventual success. They should be in the room and at the table.
In the longer term, we also need to see decisive security sector reform, a framework for effective transitional justice, and the holding of inclusive and democratic elections. This is in Sudan’s own interest, and certainly, in the interest of the people of Sudan.
The current political violence is also taking place in the context of a new wave of violence and mass displacement in Darfur, including very worrying reports of dozens killed just this month, and rising humanitarian need across the country. Promises made on the Protection of Civilians in Darfur cannot be forgotten. The National Plan for Civilian Protection should be implemented as a matter of utmost urgency.
The Juba Peace Agreement remains vital to building peace and addressing the underlying causes of conflict in Darfur and throughout Sudan. The undertaking of the parties to the Agreement to extend “full and unlimited cooperation to the ICC” is particularly critical.
We have seen recent reports of renewed border clashes in Al-Fashaga with numerous deaths. At a delicate time for the region, the last thing we need is for an intensification of Ethiopia-Sudan tensions. Cool heads should now prevail for the benefit of the people of both Sudan and Ethiopia and for regional stability.
Ireland stands fully behind UNITAMS, and most importantly the Sudanese people, in the task of restoring the democratic transition in Sudan.
This Council should be ready to use the tools at our disposal to create the space needed to achieve this. We will continue to monitor progress in the coming months.
Thank you, Mr. President.