UN condemns violence targeting Sudanese protesters, US urges civilian rule after PM quits

UN condemns violence targeting Sudanese protesters, US urges civilian rule after PM quits
People chant slogans during a protest to denounce the October 2021 military coup, in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. (AP)
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Updated 04 January 2022

UN condemns violence targeting Sudanese protesters, US urges civilian rule after PM quits

UN condemns violence targeting Sudanese protesters, US urges civilian rule after PM quits
  • Hamdok resigned on Sunday after being unable to forge a consensus to bring the transition forward
  • He had been an important partner for foreign nations as Sudan sought to emerge from isolation and sanctions

LONDON/KHARTOUM: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday condemned the continued violence targeting anti-coup demonstrators in Sudan, his spokesman said.
Guterres called on the “Sudanese security forces to exercise the utmost restraint and adhere to their obligations in relation to the rights to freedom of assembly and expression,” Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
His comments came a day after Abdalla Hamdok resigned as prime minister after being unable to forge a consensus, throwing a transition toward elections deeper into uncertainty.
Hamdok’s resignation came hours after the latest mass rallies against the military. At least 57 civilians have been killed as security forces have moved to contain or disperse demonstrations since the Oct. 25 coup, according to medics aligned with the protest movement.
Guterres has also “taken note” of Hamdok’s resignation, Dujarric said, adding: “He regrets that a political understanding on the way forward is not in place despite the gravity of the situation in Sudan.”
The military dissolved his government in an October coup, but Hamdok returned a month later under a deal to form a government of technocrats ahead of 2023 elections.
“The secretary-general encourages all stakeholders to continue engaging in meaningful dialogue in order to reach an inclusive, peaceful and lasting solution,” the statement added.
“Sudanese aspirations for a transition that leads to a democratic dispensation are critical (and) the UN remains ready to support these efforts,” it also said.

The US on Monday also urged Sudanese leaders to ensure civilian rule and end violence against anti-military protesters.
“After Hamdok’s resignation, Sudanese leaders should set aside differences, find consensus and ensure continued civilian rule,” the US State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs tweeted.
Hamdok, an economist and former UN official widely respected abroad, had served as prime minister under a military-civilian power-sharing deal that followed the overthrow of former leader Omar Al-Bashir in 2019.
Some Sudanese were saddened by the loss of a leader whom they said stood out for his wisdom. Others, still angry with Hamdok for returning after the coup, expressed their resolve to end military rule.
“Hamdok didn’t achieve what we needed him to but he also didn’t come out and tell us what the roadblocks were so that we could rally around him and support him,” said Najat, a pharmacist in Khartoum.
Mayada Khairi, an activist, said: “Whether he comes or goes makes no difference for us because our issue became bigger and our war became bigger ... we will continue the revolutionary line.”
Jibril Ibrahim, a former rebel leader who served as finance minister under Hamdok but expressed support for the military before the coup, lamented his resignation.
“Our nation needs political compromise today more than ever to navigate safely through these turbulent times. There is a room to accommodate everyone.”

Further protests are planned for Tuesday.
Hamdok had been an important partner for foreign nations as Sudan sought to emerge from decades of isolation and sanctions under Bashir and to end an economic crisis, with Western backing.
The UN Special Representative in Sudan, Volker Perthes, also regretted Hamdok’s decision, adding that the crisis risked further derailing progress made since the uprising that helped topple Bashir.
The US State Department said any new appointments should follow the power-sharing deal struck in 2019.
“Sudan’s next PM and cabinet should be appointed in line with the constitutional declaration to meet the people’s goals of freedom, peace, and justice,” it said.
“Violence against protesters must cease.”
France said it “pays tribute to his efforts in support of the democratic transition in Sudan, which made it possible to institute critical reforms that must continue.”
The French foreign ministry issued a statement calling for the reestablishment of the transitional institutions reflecting the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people.
“Only the appointment of a credible representative government will make it possible to achieve these aspirations, to ease the political climate, and to enable Sudan to chart a path toward elections in 2023, it added.
France also urged authorities to respect the Sudanese people’s right to peacefully express their opinions without fear of violence or reprisals.
(With Reuters)


Iran rapper arrested over protests risks death penalty: family

Iran rapper arrested over protests risks death penalty: family
Updated 13 sec ago

Iran rapper arrested over protests risks death penalty: family

Iran rapper arrested over protests risks death penalty: family
PARIS: The family of an Iranian rapper detained for supporting protests over Mahsa Amini’s death said his life was at risk after he went on trial behind closed doors on Saturday.
Iran has intensified a crackdown on the protests sparked by the September 16 death of Amini after her arrest in Tehran for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress code for women.
Toomaj Salehi, well known on Iran’s rap scene, was arrested late last month after denouncing the regime and showing support for the protests, human rights groups said.
“Dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi had the first day of his so-called ‘trial’ today in Tehran without a lawyer of his choice,” the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said on Twitter.
His family tweeted that his “life is at serious risk right now” as he faced charges of “enmity against God” and “corruption on earth” — sharia-related charges that are capital crimes in the Islamic republic.
Salehi had disappeared at the end of October before appearing in a video published on November 2 by Iran’s state-run media.
The video claimed to show the first images of Salehi after his arrest.
It depicted a tattooed man in a sleeveless black T-shirt sitting on the ground, wearing a blindfold and looking bloodied and bruised.
The man says: “I am Toomaj Salehi. I said I made a mistake. I said... that you should run. I didn’t mean you.”
Activists condemned the recording as a forced confession extracted under duress.
Salehi is one of a number of prominent figures to be arrested in a mass crackdown that has seen dozens of journalists, lawyers, civil society and cultural figures arrested.
His detention came shortly after he gave an interview highly critical of the regime to the Canadian Broadcasting Cooperation.
“You are dealing with a mafia that is ready to kill the entire nation... in order to keep its power, money and weapons,” Salehi said in the interview.
Iranian state media claim Salehi was arrested while trying to cross one of the country’s western borders, but his family have denied this saying he was in the southwestern province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari at the time.

UN rights council to hold urgent session on Iran

UN rights council to hold urgent session on Iran
Updated 13 sec ago

UN rights council to hold urgent session on Iran

UN rights council to hold urgent session on Iran
  • Decision comes after the German and Icelandic ambassadors to the UN in Geneva submitted a request for such a meeting late on Friday
  • So far, 44 countries, including 17 Council members, have backed the call
GENEVA: The UN Human Rights Council announced on Monday it would hold an urgent session this month on Iran, where a brutal crackdown on mass protests has left hundreds dead.
The United Nations’ highest rights body said a special session on “the deteriorating human rights situation” in Iran would be held on November 24.
The decision comes after the German and Icelandic ambassadors to the UN in Geneva submitted a request for such a meeting late on Friday.
The support of 16 of the Human Rights Council’s 47 members — more than a third — is required to convene a special session outside the three regular ones held each year.
So far, 44 countries, including 17 Council members, have backed the call, the body said.
The request follows eight weeks of protests in Iran, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested for an alleged breach of the country’s strict dress rules for women based on Islamic sharia law.
At least 326 people have been killed in the crackdown on the protests, according to the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR), as the demonstrations have grown into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 fall of the shah.
Thousands of peaceful protesters have also been arrested, according to UN rights experts, including many women, children, lawyers, activists and journalists.

Syrian Kurds stop operations against Daesh

Syrian Kurds stop operations against Daesh
Updated 26 November 2022

Syrian Kurds stop operations against Daesh

Syrian Kurds stop operations against Daesh
  • Over the past week, Turkey launched a wave of airstrikes on suspected Kurdish rebels hiding in neighboring Syria and Iraq
BEIRUT: The commander of the main US-backed Kurdish-led force in Syria said Saturday they have halted operations against the Daesh group due to Turkish attacks on northern Syria over the past week.
Mazloum Abdi of the Syrian Democratic Forces told reporters that after nearly a week of Turkish airstrikes on northern Syria, Ankara is now preparing for a ground offensive. He said Turkey-backed opposition fighters are getting ready to take part in the operations.
Abdi added that Turkish strikes over the past week have caused severe damage to the region’s infrastructure.
Abdi said Turkey is taking advantage of the deadly Nov. 13 bombing in Istanbul that Ankara blames on Kurdish groups. Kurdish organizations have denied any involvement in the Istanbul attack that killed six and wounded dozens.
Over the past week, Turkey launched a wave of airstrikes on suspected Kurdish rebels hiding in neighboring Syria and Iraq in retaliation for the Istanbul attack.
“The forces that work symbolically with the international coalition in the fight against IS are now targets for the Turkish state and therefore (military) operations have stopped,” Abdi said, using an Arabic acronym of the Daesh group. “Anti-Daesh operations have stopped.”
His comments came hours after the US military said two rockets targeted US-led coalition forces at bases in the northeastern Syrian town of Shaddadeh resulting in no “injuries or damage to the base or coalition property.”
The US military statement said SDF fighters visited the site of the rocket's origin and found a third unfired rocket.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, blamed Daesh sleeper cells for the Friday night attack on the US base.
“Attacks of this kind place coalition forces and the civilian populace at risk and undermine the hard-earned stability and security of Syria and the region,” said Col. Joe Buccino, CENTCOM spokesman.
The SDF said in a statement before midnight Friday that as Turkish drones flew over the al-Hol camp that is home to tens of thousands of mostly wives, widows and children of IS fighters, some IS family members attacked security forces and managed to escape from the sprawling facility. The SDF did not say how many escaped but that they were later detained.
Kurdish authorities operate more than two dozen detention facilities scattered across northeastern Syria holding about 10,000 Daesh fighters. Among the detainees are some 2,000 foreigners whose home countries have refused to repatriate them, including about 800 Europeans.

Iran’s Khamenei praises Basij forces for confronting ‘riots’ — TV

Iran’s Khamenei praises Basij forces for confronting ‘riots’ — TV
Updated 26 November 2022

Iran’s Khamenei praises Basij forces for confronting ‘riots’ — TV

Iran’s Khamenei praises Basij forces for confronting ‘riots’ — TV

DUBAI: Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday that Basij militia forces sacrificed their lives in “riots” sparked by the death in custody of a young Iranian Kurdish woman in September.
The Basij force, affiliated with the country’s Revolutionary Guards, has been at the forefront of the state crackdown on protests that have spread across the country. “They have sacrificed their lives to protect people from rioters,” Khamenei said in a televised speech.


Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country

Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country
Updated 26 November 2022

Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country

Kuwait detects cholera in citizen arriving from neighboring country

LONDON: Kuwait detected cholera in a citizen arriving from a neighboring country where there is an outbreak, the health ministry said in a statement on Friday.
According to the World Health Organization, Lebanon is in the latest phase of a outbreak that began in Afghanistan in June before spreading to Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
“The Ministry of Health announced Friday a national who had returned recently from a neighboring country which suffers from cholera outbreak and showed symptoms of cholera infection,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the “infected citizen had been isolated and received the treatment at a ministry hospital until his recovery.”
It also said that the ministry dealt with those who came into contact with the infected citizen according to the relevant protocols.
The ministry ruled out the possibility of a cholera outbreak in the country, but advised nationals and residents to be cautious and avoid unsafe water and food sources when visiting countries which have reported cholera outbreaks.
It encouraged those who show suspected symptoms, such as fever and diarrhea, within seven days of their arrival from one of the countries where the disease is prevalent to go to the nearest health center to receive the necessary advice and treatment.