One Year Since Constitutional Declaration: Mass Demonstrations Leave Many Injured and Detained

The Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) expresses deep concern about the cruel treatment of demonstrators by government forces on August 17th, the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Constitutional Declaration. Thousands—organized by the Resistance Committees—marched in Khartoum as well as in various parts of Sudan with demands to correct the course of the revolution. Many have been injured, and at least 77 protesters have been detained in one day. 

A year ago, Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) signed the Constitutional Declaration, introducing the formation of the current Sudanese interim government. Held in the capital Khartoum, the signing ceremony began the interim period of 39 months, where the two parties compromised on matters of Sudan’s militia, including the status of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan.

Regrettably, one year later, the recent escalation of violence across the country and failure from the government to protect civilians as well as hold those responsible accountable has led thousands to march on the streets, demanding change. Amid heavy police presence, the people called for the restructuring of the regular armed forces and the FFC as well as justice, peace, and an immediate start to the formation of the Legislative Council. The demonstrations erupted in violent clashes from the protesters and the police, who used tear gas against the demonstrators’ barricades. As reported by Radio Dabanga, there were multiple hit-and-run cases and the exact number of injuries and arrests are to be determined.

The Sudanese Central Doctors Committee, the Sudanese Women’s Union, and the Sudanese Professionals Association condemned the violent dispersal of peaceful demonstrations. The people called for Prime Minister Hamdok to take responsibility and personally address their memorandum, but he was reportedly “unavailable.”

DWAG stands with the Sudanese people and strongly urges the interim government to live up to its commitment and meet the aspirations of those who have paid the highest price for a change in Sudan. Thousands have repeatedly called out on the intensification of violence and injustice rampant all across Sudan, but one year has passed since the government promised its people reform and peace, and no effective action has been implemented to ensure their protection. The violent outbreaks prior to the Constitutional Declaration anniversary prove that local militia are far from capable of ensuring stability across Sudan, and the police clashes during Monday’s protests further reinforces the violent tendencies of government forces towards civilians. 

DWAG strongly urges the Sudanese interim government not only to listen to the demands of the Sudanese people but also to apply and enforce strict measures towards the protection of its civilians as well as the proactive assurance for accountable law enforcement. If the transitional government continues to dismiss the pleas to action, the international community must do their part to intervene to put an end to the ongoing Suffering in Sudan and hold the interim government accountable. DWAG calls upon international forces to assist the civilians in their time of need. One year of constant conflict, violence, and injustice has gone unheeded, and the government has shown prominent trends of negligence towards its people. An independent UN peacekeeping force must be deployed to ensure the safety of civilians across Sudan as well as the accountability of militia forces. Effective action is imperative to put an end to the three decades of killing, protect Sudanese lives, and lead the country toward a just peace with accountability.