Letter to the United Nations Security Council Members for Accountability and the Immediate Restoration of a Civilian-led Government in Sudan

H.E. Ambassador Juan Ramón de la Fuente 

Representative to the United Nations 

Mexico Mission to the United Nations 

2 United Nations Plaza, 28th Floor 

New York, NY 10017 United States 

Cc: All Member States of the United Nations Security Council 

Stand with the People of Sudan 

For Accountability and the Immediate Restoration of a Civilian-led Government in Sudan

Your H.E. Ambassador de la Fuente: 

Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) and the undersigned civil society leaders are writing to you to express their grave concern about the military takeover in Sudan and its implication on the safety and security of vulnerable civilians. We are further concerned about attacks on peaceful protesters and the closure of internet and phone services in Sudan, constituting yet more grave violations of the Sudanese people’s rights. Despite the reinstation of Prime Minster Hamdok to his pre-coup position, the Sovereign Council has not followed through with what they have agreed upon in the Interim Constitution—to transfer power to the civilian-led government by the end of their term, November 17, 2021. We believe accountability for orchestrating a coup and the transfer of power to a civilian-led government must not be compromised. 

The September 21st coup attempt intensified tensions between the civilian and military factions of the Sudanese interim government, culminating in yet another desperate power move on behalf of the military apparatus. On the morning of October 25, 2021, the military staged a coup, placing Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok under arrest, later moving him to an unknown location after his refusal to support the military takeover. General al-Burhan’s actions are unacceptable and in violation of the Interim Constitution, International Human Rights, and Humanitarian Laws promoted by the Security Council. 

After news of the coup spread, crowds immediately gathered in the streets to protest in rejection of the coup. However, the military and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) responded by patrolling the area with a heavy military presence in various areas across Sudan and using brutal force against civilians. Thus far, at least 39 people have been reportedly killed and more than 512 injured. Moreover, internet and phone services have been disrupted or unavailable in Khartoum and across Sudan, and roads and bridges connecting Khartoum with the rest of Sudan have been closed, making it more difficult to access information. The internet shutdown has put more people at risk as they face attacks and cannot reach out for help or emergency assistance. We are worried that with no internet or phone service in Sudan, regions of high risk, such as Darfur and South Kordofan, with millions out of their homes, face an even greater risk of violence as the news of recent attacks having already been reported.

DAWG and the undersigned civil society leaders are also extremely concerned over the dissolution of the government, including state governors, which created lawlessness that further endangers the lives of millions of people, particularly those who dare to protest and those vulnerable people living in internally displaced camps for near two decades in Darfur and two other areas. We are further concerned about General al-Burhan’s remarks emphasizing close relations with the RSF, which further legitimizes this force involved in the genocide in Darfur. We fear that this will embolden them to continue their genocidal campaign to eradicate the people of Darfur as the RSF already continues to attack civilians. In the first seven months of 2021 alone, the RSF and Arab militias have been explicitly responsible for 388 civilian casualties in Darfur. Thus, the military takeover will obviously lead to more insecurity and heighten displacement, further deteriorating the humanitarian situation. 

As the people of Sudan and we at DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders are familiar with the military rule and its history of human rights violations, we have repeatedly warned the international community not to trust the Sudanese military leaders who have been implicated in previous crimes. We have implored the United Nations Security Council not to withdraw the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Additionally, DWAG consistently urged the United Nations Security Council to pressure the interim government to surrender al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court and be held accountable for his crimes. Unfortunately, the failure of the international community to take any of these actions seriously has led General al-Burhan to believe that he can disregard the demands of the people and dismantle the democratic transition without consequences. Orchestrating a coup while unlawfully arresting government officials and endangering the lives of millions is a grave crime that should have shocked the world and galvanized both regional and international leaders to hold the military in Sudan accountable. We greatly appreciate the several statements from regional and global actors condemning the coup, but given the severe threat in Sudan, words are not enough to avert a collapse. In order to avert a catastrophe, the United Nations Security Council must take immediate action to hold General al-Burhan and others accountable for their criminal actions and restore the civilian-led government as it was stipulated in the Interim Constitution. 

This coup has destroyed all the gains the people of Sudan have built in the last two years to rebuild their nation. It is time for the international community to listen to the Sudanese people’s demands. We believe that the United Nations Security Council members are that voice of conscience that can speak for the people of Sudan in these times of their great suffering and need. The international community has invested so much in bringing about peace in Sudan, and military leaders must be held accountable for draining such investment. If the international community does not take immediate action to ensure the restoration of a civilian government in Sudan, the possibility of achieving peace and stability will be sabotaged by the former regime’s affiliates. Therefore, DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders implore the United Nations Security Council to immediately address the current situation before it descends Sudan into chaos that will not only affect the prospect of peace and stability in Sudan but in the whole of Eastern Africa and the continent’s horn as well.

DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders call upon the United Nations Security Council to take the following actions: 

  • Reject the military coup and call for the immediate restoration of a civilian government.
  • Maintain sanctions and arms embargo on Sudan and impose targeted sanctions (including a travel ban and freezing assets) on General al-Burhan, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemeti,” and all officials and other military members involved in the coup.
  • Dispatch an independent and high-level mission to Sudan to gather factual information and monitor the situation and restore peace in Sudan. 
  • Cease all collaboration with Sudanese military officials until they surrender the power to a civilian government. 
  • Authorize a United Nations force to protect civilians, particularly in Darfur, Blue Nile, South Kordofan, and Khartoum throughout the remainder of the interim period.
  • Demand the immediate surrender of al-Bashir, Haroun, and Hussein to The Hague to hold them accountable for their crimes against the people of Darfur. 

We believe now more than ever that a civilian-led government and criminal accountability are the only way forward to establish the foundation for democracy and transform Sudan. The United Nations Security Council must prioritize accountability and the safe restoration of a civilian government in Sudan. Without it, there cannot be peace nor democracy in Sudan. The Sudanese people have demanded a civilian government, justice, and security. The United Nations Security Council has the tools at hand to leverage and ensure that these demands are met in order to bring change to Sudan. 

DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders appreciate the role of the United Nations Security Council and its efforts to mediate peace and promote stability in Sudan. We will be grateful for your kind consideration. 


The undersigned, 

Niemat Ahmadi, President, Darfur Women Action Group — Washington D.C., USA

Eileen Weiss, New York Coalition for Sudan —New York, USA 

Gregory Stanton, Founder and President, Genocide Watch — Virginia, USA

Peter Van Arsdale, Co-chair, Natural Disaster Response Committee, Rotary International — Illinois, USA

Mohamed Hamid, Global Ambassador, Darfur Women Action Group — Rome, Italy

Maria Kisumbi, Senior Advisor, Policy & Government Relations, Humanity United — Washington D.C., USA 

Rupert Skilbeck, Director, REDRESS — London, United Kingdom 

Dr. Hashim Eltinay, Salaam Sudan — Washington D.C., USA 

Dr. Mahmoud Draima, President, Darfur Association of North America — Baton Rouge, USA

Mohamed Yassin Khalifa, Educator & Human Rights Activist — Cambridge, USA

Amber Maze, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention — Indiana, USA 

Bakhiet Shata, Director, Darfur Community Association — Omaha, USA

Martha Boshnick, Co-chair, Darfur Interfaith Network — Bethesda, USA

Hagir Elsheikh, CEO, HSE Staffing Agency LLC — Pennsylvania, USA 

Dr. Beckry Abdel-Magid, Professor, Composite Materials Engineering — Minnesota, USA

Tamador Gibreel, Sudan Human Rights Network — Washington D.C., USA

Kamala B. E. Osman, Sudan Human Rights Network — Texas, USA