Three years ago tomorrow, the people of Sudan started a country-wide uprising for freedom, peace and justice. After months of determined and fearless efforts through peaceful protests – often led by women and youth – the revolution succeeded in overturning an authoritarian military regime. Friends of Sudan in the international community, including Norway, joined in celebrating this historic change.
The military take-over on the 25th October struck at the core of the transition that we have supported. The civilian-military partnership and the constitutional order was set aside. A broad spectrum of the Sudanese society now demands the restoration of a civilian-led transition. Norway echoes their fear of return to authoritarian rule and is concerned about the situation for rule of law and human rights.
Ahead of the 3rd anniversary, we continue to hold the security forces responsible to prevent violence against peaceful protesters and protect civilians across the country.
We urge the military to rebuild confidence by reversing unilateral actions and appointments made after the coup. Accountability for violence against civilians and peaceful protesters will prove that the era of impunity is over. Moving forward, transferring the Chair of the Sovereign Council to a civilian is key. Further, more transparency and oversight of the economy are needed. Such actions will also contribute to a conducive environment for a national dialogue, reconciliation and transitional justice.
We welcome renewed commitments to free and fair elections. This requires respecting freedom of speech and assembly, and respect for free and independent media. Organising the constitutional conference and establishing the election commission will be critical.
In the current political process, a diverse set of voices should have a say, including Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), political stakeholders, civil society and resistance committees. Active participation of women is a prerequisite. This will strengthen legitimacy and build trust. We call upon political actors to engage in a constructive manner given the fragility of the situation.
The risks of non-action are high, and time is of essence. Only with a legitimate government and legitimate institutions, the international community can fully reengage and support Sudan in the economic recovery that it so urgently needs.
The deteriorating situation in Darfur and the political crisis in the East are very worrying. Fundamental change must benefit the whole population. The military-led Sovereign Council carries a heavy responsibility to protect civilians, prevent further escalations and find sustainable solutions for conflicts across the country. In an unstable region, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sudan remain of fundamental importance.
Norway stands with the Sudanese people as they commemorate this monumental day and courageously continues to demand a civilian-led path towards democracy.