Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Assistant Secretary-General Keita, for your briefing on the latest developments on the ground in Darfur.
Mr. President, we continue to evaluate the impact of President Omar al-Bashir’s announcement last Friday. We’re deeply concerned about the declaration of a national state of emergency and call on the Government of Sudan to respect the rights of all individuals in Sudan, bring an immediate end to the violent repression of peaceful protests, and seek accountability for those responsible for violations and abuses. Rather than steps to expand the ability of the security services to target peaceful protesters and opposition, what is needed are steps to create an environment for an inclusive political process that truly addresses citizens’ legitimate grievances and that will lead to sustainable peace and democracy in the country.
Mr. President, just over two months ago, the Security Council agreed on a presidential statement, noting some progress in the security situation in Darfur and expressing support for the eventual transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding and development. That expression of support also included a call for clear and achievable benchmarks and indicators to assess progress on critical areas in advance of UNAMID’s eventual exit.
We believe the existing benchmarks must be refined to align with the mission’s mandate and strategic priorities, and chief among them should be the cessation of hostilities, protection of civilians, and a mutually acceptable comprehensive political agreement. We await the UN’s strategic assessment and its recommendations on the pursuit of critical benchmarks and indicators ahead of this transition.
Again, Mr. President, we urge the Government of Sudan to end the use of violent measures to address these protests and hold all responsible for human rights abuses and violations accountable. We call for an inclusive political process toward elections wherein all Sudanese are able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of peaceful assembly; the immediate release of all journalists, political opposition leaders, human rights activists, and other protesters who’ve been arbitrarily detained; and for the Government of Sudan to afford those facing charges full access to legal representation.
I thank you.