Coup

 

  • MYANMAR : « Si le coup d’État n’est pas renversé, il y aura beaucoup plus de prisonniers politiques »

    CIVICUS parle du récent coup d’État militaire au Myanmar avec Bo Kyi, ancien prisonnier politique et co-fondateur de l’Association d’assistance aux prisonniers politiques (AAPP). Fondée en 2000 par d’anciens prisonniers politiques vivant en exil à la frontière entre la Thaïlande et le Myanmar, l’AAPP est basée à Mae Sot, en Thaïlande, et possède deux bureaux au Myanmar, ouverts depuis 2012. L’AAPP travaille pour la libération des prisonniers politiques et l’amélioration de leur vie après leur libération, avec des programmes visant à leur garantir l’accès à l’éducation, à la formation professionnelle, aux conseils en matière de santé mentale et aux soins de santé.

     

  • MYANMAR: “If this coup is not overturned, there will be many more political prisoners”

    CIVICUS speaks about the recent military coup in Myanmar with Bo Kyi, a former political prisoner and co-founder of theAssistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP). Founded in 2000 by former political prisoners living in exile on the Thai-Myanmar border, AAPP has its headquarters in Mae Sot, Thailand and two offices in Myanmar that opened in 2012. AAPP advocates for the release of political prisoners and the improvement of their lives after their release, with programmes aimed at ensuring access to education, vocational training, mental health counselling and healthcare.

     

  • Myanmar: Release all activists and politicians detained and restore democracy

    GettyImages 1299737267 Save Myanmar

    Global civil society alliance CIVICUS is alarmed that the military’s takeover of control of Myanmar from the civilian government represents a sharp reversal of the partial yet significant progress toward democracy made in recent years following five decades of military rule and international isolation.

     

  • Myanmar: Situation remains a human rights catastrophe

     Statement at 47th Session of the UN Human Rights Council


     Delivered by Lisa Majumdar

    Thank you, Madame President,

    We welcome the High Commissioner’s oral update, and that this critical opportunity to address the ongoing crisis in Myanmar was not lost.

    It is over five months since the military junta deposed Myanmar’s elected government, and the situation remains a human rights catastrophe.

    Efforts towards regional diplomacy have not borne results. The five-point plan adopted by ASEAN in April is yet to be implemented and has not resulted in any efforts towards de-escalation, or lessening of loss to life. Instead, armed conflict and other violence are intensifying, with violence particularly intense in areas with significant ethnic and religious minority groups. We urge the Council to ensure that any measures it takes this Session to address intersecting crises in Myanmar takes into account this full context.

    Sweeping arrests of activists, journalists and opponents of the regime have continued across the country. Thousands have been arbitrarily arrested and detained and some have been tortured or ill-treated. They include human rights defenders, trade unionists, student activists, poets, writers, filmmakers and monks. Activists face baseless charges including ‘treason’ which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison or ‘incitement’ which is punishable by up to three years in prison.

    At least 88 journalists have been arrested since the coup, as well as lawyers defending political prisoners. Dozens have fled the country or have sought refuge in territories controlled by ethnic armed organisations. The internet shutdowns, which began following the coup, have now reached a new level of severity.

    The people of Myanmar cannot afford to wait and see if regional diplomacy efforts will take effect. We call on States to call for the release of political prisoners and ensure an end to a free-flowing supply of weapons to a military which shows no intention of ending its campaign of bloodshed. We welcome that several States have imposed targeted sanctions on key individuals of the military and call on other States to do the same. It is the responsibility of States to ensure that perpetrating human rights atrocities bears a cost.

    We thank you.


    Civic space in Myanmar is rated as Repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor.

     

  • New sentence by Venezuela´s Supreme Court consecrates a coup against the Venezuelan parliament

    Spanish

    Sentence No. 156, released around midnight on March 29, by which the Constitutional Chamber of Venezuela´s Supreme Court (TSJ) assumes all the powers of the National Assembly or delegates them to whom it decides, places Venezuela before the dissolution of the parliament by judicial means.

    There is no constitutional provision that allows the judicial body, designated by means of second-degree elections, to assume the functions of the National Assembly, which directly represents the population.

    The Constitutional Chamber has issued over 50 decisions that have gradually deprived the National Assembly of its legislative, controlling, investigative and designating functions, until it suspended parliamentary immunity by Sentence No. 155 the previous day, and finally assumes parliamentary functions as the legislative power.

    The parliament is a fundamental pillar of democratic institutions, as it is a space for participation and expression of the different groups that make up a nation. It is the space in which elected representatives, as well as organizations and members of civil society can debate and discuss the different proposals to create legislation and public policies. In this sense, this measure not only disrupts the constitutional order, but also violates the right of citizens to participate in public affairs.

    We call on the Supreme Court of Justice and the National Executive to cease ignoring the Constitution, as has been evidenced after the publication of the most recent decisions of the Constitutional Chamber, which allow for the implementation of measures and actions that undermine the Constitutional thread and break the democratic order in Venezuela, reaffirming the absence of the Rule of Law and consolidating a Dictatorial regime.

    Finally, we again urge that corrective measures be taken to reverse any decision that violates the constitutional norm, ignore the power of the popular vote represented in the elected National Assembly and deepen the country's withdrawal from a democratic system of respect for fundamental guarantees and human rights, in order to restore democracy and the rule of law, beginning with restoring and respecting the functions of the National Assembly.

    Subscribed by the following Venezuelan Civil Society Organizations:
    Acceso a La Justicia
    Acción Campesina
    Acción Solidaria
    Amigos Trasplantados de Venezuela
    Asamblea De Educación
    Asociación Civil María Estrella De La Mañana
    Asociación Civil Mujeres En Línea
    Asociación Civil Nueva Esparta En Movimiento
    Asociación Civil Radar De Los Barrios
    Asociación de Profesores de la Universidad Simón Bolívar, APUSB
    Asociación Venezolana de Mujeres
    Asociación Venezolana para La Hemofilia
    Aula Abierta Venezuela
    Banco Del Libro
    Cedice Libertad
    Centro de Animación Juvenil
    Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, CDH-UCAB
    Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales
    Centro de Justicia y Paz, CEPAZ
    CIVILIS Derechos Humanos
    Coalición Cambio Climático 21
    Coalición por el Derecho a la Salud y la Vida, CODEVIDA
    Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Políticas, Universidad del Zulia
    Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Federación Venezolana de Colegios de Abogados, Estado Táchira
    Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Federación Venezolana de Colegios de Abogados, Estado Apure
    Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Federación Venezolana de Colegios de Abogados, Estado Mérida
    Comisión para los Derechos Humanos del Estado Zulia
    Convite Asociación Civil
    Correo Del Caroní
    Espacio Humanitario
    Espacio Público
    EXCUBITUS, Derechos Humanos en Educación
    Federación Nacional de Sociedades de Padres y Representantes, FENASOPADRES
    Frente en Defensa del Norte de Caracas y Asamblea de Ciudadanos de La Candelaria
    Funcamama
    Fundación TAAP
    Fundamujer
    Fundeci
    Instituto Venezolano de Estudios Sociales y Políticos, INVESP
    IPYS Venezuela
    Laboratorio De Paz
    Llamado a la Conciencia Vial
    Médicos Unidos Carabobo
    Movimiento Vinotinto
    Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad de Los Andes
    Observatorio Global de Comunicación y Democracia
    Observatorio Hannah Arendt
    Observatorio Venex
    Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social, OVCS
    Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones, OVP
    OPCION Venezuela Asociación Civil
    Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos, PROVEA
    ProIuris
    Promoción Educación y Defensa en Derechos Humanos, PROMEDEHUM
    Sinergia, Asociación Venezolana de Organizaciones de Sociedad Civil
    Sociedad Hominis Iura, SOHI
    StopVIH
    Transparencia Venezuela
    Un Mundo Sin Mordaza
    Una Ventana a la Libertad
    Unión Afirmativa de Venezuela
    Unión Vecinal para la Participación Ciudadana
    Veedores por la Educación Aragua

     

  • Sudan: The UN Human Rights Council should act urgently and hold a special session

    Following the 25 October 2021 military coup in Sudan, CIVICUS and partners have released a call on the UN Human Rights Council to convene a special session to address the crisis in the country. 


    To Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (Geneva, Switzerland)

    Excellencies,

    As violence is increasing in Sudan following the military coup of 25 October 2021 and decisive action is needed to protect the transition, Sudan’s constitutional order, and the human rights of people in Sudan, the UN Human Rights Council has a res­ponsi­bility to act urgently.

    The Council should fulfil its mandate to prevent violations and respond promptly to human rights emer­gen­cies by convening a special session and adopting a resolution requesting the UN High Com­mis­sio­ner for Human Rights to set up a fact-finding mission to monitor, verify and report on the situ­ation in Sudan with a view to preventing further human rights violations and abuses, iden­ti­fying per­pe­trators, and ensuring ac­coun­tability for these violations and abuses.

    Ahead of the 48thsession of the Human Rights Council (13 September-11 October 2021), 37 civil so­ciety organisations (CSOs) highlighted[1] the need for the Coun­cil to extend its support to, and scrutiny of, Sudan. The CSOs highlighted that Su­dan’s political transition re­mained incomplete, mentioned on­going challenges and risks, and urged States to maintain the moni­tor­ing and public reporting ca­pacity of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). They wrote: “[T]he Human Rights Coun­cil has a respon­sibi­lity to keep Sudan high on its list of priorities and to contribute to mea­ningful pro­gress in the country.”

    Their call remained unanswered as the Council failed to adopt any Sudan-focused resolution.

    Two weeks after the session ended, on 25 October 2021, Sudan’s military forces arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and several civilian figures, including members of the Transitional Government and Transitional Sove­reign Council (SC), who were placed under house arrest or taken to unknown loca­tions. At the time of writing, several of them remain held incommunicado or under house arrest. Military elements took con­trol of the national television and key centres of information. They imposed a partial in­ternet shutdown in the country and closed roads, bridges, and the airport in Khartoum.

    This military coup occurred one month before the head of the former Transitional Military Council (TMC), Ge­neral Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, who had since August 2019 been heading the SC, was due to hand over the presidency of the SC to civilian representatives, as per the power-sharing agreement and Constitutional Document of 2019.[2]

    General al-Burhan announced a nation-wide state of emer­gen­cy and the dissolution of the SC and the civilian-led Transitional Government.

    He unilaterally announced the suspension of Articles 11, 12, 15, 16, 24-3, 71, and 72 of the Cons­ti­tutional Document. These articles pertain to the SC, the Transitional Council of Ministers and Cabinet, the Transitional Legislative Council (which was to be constituted), and the TMC. The latter’s disso­lution seems to have been annulled, paving the way for military rule.[3]

    The coup and military takeover also threaten the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement for Sudan, which was signed on 3 October 2020 between the Transitional Government and parties to the peace process, including armed groups that were involved in the conflicts that have affected several of Sudan’s regional States in the last three decades.

    General al-Burhan sought to justify the illegal takeover by blaming “political infighting” within civilian bodies and groups, including the Transitional Government and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), the coalition that brings together the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), civic groups, and political parties that signed the Declaration on Freedom and Change of January 2019 and led the peaceful popular revo­lution of 2018-2019 that led to the ouster of former President Omar al-Bashir, in April 2019, and the political transition. General al-Burhan even asserted that the army had ousted the gov­ern­ment to avoid a “civil war.”[4]

    * * * * * * * * *

    Immediately after the coup was reported, and despite restrictions on communications, protesters pea­ce­fully took to the streets to denounce the military’s illegal actions and demand the reinstatement of the gov­ern­ment and a transition to civilian rule. The SPA called for strikes and civil disobedience. Pro­testers erected barricades in the streets. Soldiers opened fire on crowds and reportedly killed at least ten people and injured dozens. Arrests have been reported.[5]

    These acts demonstrate the armed and security forces’ lack of commitment to a democratic tran­sition to civilian rule and their determination to consolidate control, including by using violence. The 25 October 2021 military coup fol­lowed a reported coup attempt on 21 September 2021, which “the mili­tary blamed on a cadre of Bashir-allied Islamists but which several diplomats described […] as a trial balloon,” as tensions were growing within the SC.[6]

    Fears of a full-fledged, bloody crackdown are mounting. These fears are made credible by the illegal actions of the reconstituted TMC, the history of violence and abuse that characterises Sudan’s armed and security forces, including the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), and the current context, including restrictions on communications, which are remi­nis­cent of the shutdown that was imposed following the atrocities committed on 3 June 2019 (known as the “Khartoum massacre”[7]).

    While the total number of arrests made is unknown, it is likely to increase after the release of the present letter. Human rights defenders (HRDs), protest organisers, journalists, and independent voices, in par­ticular women human rights defenders (WHRDs), women journalists, and women and girls protesting the coup, are at a heightened risk of being subjected to violations and abuses. These include arbitrary arrests, the use of unwarranted and lethal force, beatings, ill-treatment and torture, and sexual and gen­der-based violence, as was the case during the Khartoum massacre.[8]

    * * * * * * * * *

    The coup has drawn condemnation. States, including partners of Sudan, condemned it as a betrayal of the transition, demanded the release of political leaders, and urged full observance for the Constitutional Document and the reinstatement of transitional institutions.[9]

    The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), of which Sudan is a Member, issued a sta­te­ment in which its Executive Secretary, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, said he was “alarmed by the current political developments.” He “strongly condemn[ed] any attempt to undermine the transitional govern­ment” and called for the “im­mediate release” of all arrested political leaders.[10]

    The Arab League expressed “deep concern” about the military coup. The organisation’s Secretary-Ge­ne­ral urged all parties to “fully abide” by the Constitutional Declaration signed in August 2019.[11]

    The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who learned “with deep dismay of the serious development of the current situation in Sudan,” called “for the immediate resumption of consultations between civilians and military” and reaffirmed that “dialogue and consensus is the only relevant path to save the country and its democratic transition.” He further called “for the release of all arrested political leaders and the necessary strict respect of human rights.”[12] However, despite the Lomé Declaration on Unconstitutional Changes of Government,[13] he did not con­vey a “clear and unequivocal warning to the perpetrators of the unconstitutional change that, under no circumstances, will their illegal action be tolerated or recognized by the [AU].”

    The AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) met on 26 October 2021. The following day, it released a communiqué[14] in which it “strongly condemn[ed] the seizure of power by the Sudanese military on 25 October 2021 and the dissolution of the Transitional Government, and totally reject[ed] the uncons­ti­tutional change of government, as unacceptable and an affront to the shared values and democratic norms of the AU.” It decided to “suspend, with immediate effect, the participation of the Repu­blic of Sudan in all AU activities until the effective restoration of the civilian-led Transitional Authority.”

    While this is a positive step, more needs to be done to stop military rule and protect the transition, Sudan’s constitutional order, and the human rights of people in Sudan. As repression increases, AU me­diation efforts and Human Rights Council action are not mutually exclusive but complementary.

    The UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, “strongly condemn[ed] the ongoing military coup d’état in Khartoum and all actions that could jeopardize Sudan’s political transition and stability.” He called for the immediate reconstitution of the governing arrangements provided for under the Consti­tutional Document.” He referred to the “unlawful detention” of the Prime Minister, government officials and politicians as “un­ac­ceptable” and called for the immediate release of those detained arbitrarily. He added: “Any at­tempts to undermine this transition process puts at risk Sudan’s security, stability and development.”[15]

    The Special Representative for Sudan and Head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Mr. Volker Perthes, said he was “deeply concerned about reports of an ongoing coup and attempts to undermine Sudan’s political transition.” He “called on the security forces to imme­diately release those who have been unlawfully detained or placed under house arrest” and urged an “[immediate] return to dialogue and [engagement] in good faith to restore the constitutional order.”[16]

    For her part, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, “strongly con­dem­n[ed] [the] military coup in Sudan and the declaration of a nationwide state of emergency, the sus­pen­sion of key articles of the Cons­titu­tional Document and the governing bodies.” She reminded “military and security forces to refrain from unnecessary and disproportionate use of force, to respect people’s freedom of expression, as well as the right of peaceful assembly.” She added: “It would be disastrous if Sudan goes backwards after finally bringing an end to decades of repressive dictatorship.”[17]

    On 26 October, the UN Security Council met behind closed doors to discuss the crisis. It failed to adopt a resolution to unequivocally condemn the military coup, or even to release a statement.

    * * * * * * * * *

    In this context, the Human Rights Council cannot afford to stay silent or wait for its next regular session, which is due to open on 25 February 2022, to act.

    It should make clear that the TMC cannot be considered a legitimate partner; strongly condemn the mi­li­tary coup; urge full respect for the Constitutional Document and the reinstatement of transitional institutions; call for an im­mediate stop to the violence against protesters; demand a release of all poli­tical prisoners; and demand accountability for the human rights violations and abuses committed.

    The Human Rights Council should fulfil its mandate to prevent violations and respond promptly to human rights emer­gen­cies, convene a special session, and request the UN High Com­mis­sio­ner for Human Rights to set up a fact-finding mission to monitor, verify and report on the situation in Sudan with a view to preventing further human rights violations and abuses, iden­ti­fying per­petrators, and ensuring ac­coun­tability for these violations and abuses.

    The report of the fact-finding mission should be shared with the UN Security Council. The Hu­man Rights Council should further ensure that the High Commissioner publicly and regularly reports on the human rights situation in Sudan, relying on both in-house expertise and the work of the OHCHR country office in Sudan, and it should hold interactive dialogues on the human rights situation in Sudan twice a year.

    We thank you for your attention to these pressing issues and stand ready to provide your delegation with further information as required.

    Sincerely,

    1. African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS)
    2. AfricanDefenders (Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network)
    3. African Initiative for Peacebuilding, Advocacy and Advancement (AfriPeace)
    4. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    5. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
    6. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
    7. CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide)
    8. Darfur and Beyond
    9. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
    10. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
    11. Global Rights
    12. Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC)
    13. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
    14. International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI)
    15. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
    16. Justice Center for Advocacy and Legal Consultations
    17. Kamma Organization for Development Initiatives (KODI)
    18. Kenya Human Rights Commission
    19. Kongamano La Mapinduzi
    20. Lawyers for Justice Sudan
    21. Mouvement Inamahoro
    22. Never Again Coalition
    23. PAX
    24. Physicians for Human Rights
    25. REDRESS
    26. Regional Centre for Training and Development of Civil Society (RCDCS)
    27. The Sentry
    28. Skills for Nuba Mountains
    29. Sudan Archives
    30. Sudan Human Rights Hub
    31. Sudan Unlimited
    32. Victims Advocates International
    33. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

     

    [1] DefendDefenders et al., “The Human Rights Council should extend its support to, and scrutiny of, Sudan,” 10 September 2021 (accessed on 26 October 2021).

    [2] For background, see DefendDefenders et al., “Sudan: ensuring a credible response by the UN Human Rights Council,” 3 September 2019, (and Annex) (accessed on 26 October 2021).

    [3] Al Jazeera, “Sudan coup: Which constitutional articles have been suspended?” 26 October 2021,  (accessed on 26 October 2021).

    [4] France 24, “Sudan’s Burhan says army ousted government to avoid civil war,” 26 October 2021,  (accessed on 27 October 2021).

    [5] Al Jazeera, “‘No to army rule’: Pro-democracy protesters take to Sudan streets,” 27 October 2021; BBC News, “Sudan coup: Why the army is gambling with the future,” 27 October 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-59050473 (both accessed on 27 October 2021).

    [6] International Crisis Group, “Reversing Sudan’s Dangerous Coup,” 26 October 2021. See also BBC News, “Killings of Peaceful Sudanese Democracy Protesters Demand Accountability: Urgent International Action Needed to Prevent Further Violence,” 21 September 2021, (both accessed on 27 October 2021).

    [7] See previous civil society letters on Sudan, in particular International Refugee Rights Initiative et al., “Killings of Peaceful Sudanese Democracy Protesters Demand Accountability: Urgent International Action Needed to Prevent Further Violence,” 6 June 2019, ; DefendDefenders et al., “Sudan: ensuring a credible response by the UN Human Rights Council,” 3 September 2019, (and Annex); DefendDefenders et al., “The Human Rights Council should support human rights reforms in Sudan,” 9 September 2020,  (all accessed on 26 October 2021).

    [8] Human Rights Watch, “‘They Were Shouting ‘Kill Them’: Sudan’s Violent Crackdown on Protesters in Khartoum,” 17 November 2019, (accessed on 26 October 2021).

    [9] For a comprehensive list of responses by Governments and intergovernmental organizations to the military coup, see Sudan Unlimited, “World Unites with the People of Sudan and Against #SudanCoup,” (accessed on 26 October 2021).

    [10]IGAD Statement On The Current Political Development In Sudan,” 25 October 2021,  (accessed on 26 October 2021).

    [11] Asharq al-Awsat, “Arab League Expresses ‘Deep Concern’ over Sudan,” 25 October 2021,  (accessed on 26 October 2021).

    [12]Statement of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the situation in Sudan,” 25 October 2021,  (accessed on 26 October 2021).

    [13] AU PSC, “Declaration on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government” (AHG/Decl.5 (XXXVI)), 10-12 July 2000, (accessed on 25 October 2021).

    [14]Communiqué of the 1041st meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union held on 26 October 2021 on the Situation in Sudan,” 27 October 2021, (accessed on 27 October 2021).

    [15]Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General - on Sudan,” 25 October 2021, (accessed on 26 October 2021).

    [16]SRSG Statement about Reports of an Ongoing Coup and Attempts to Undermine Sudan’s Political Transition,” 25 October 2021,  (accessed on 26 October 2021).

    [17]Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on the coup d’état in Sudan,” 25 October 2021, (accessed on 26 October 2021).


     Civic space in Sudan is rated as repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor.