Michelle Bachelet

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is urging Sudan’s new rulers to uphold the constitution and take heed of human rights as they try to move the country forward after the toppling of president Omar al-Bashir.

Many things worry the high commissioner about what she considers is a volatile and uncertain moment in Sudan’s future.

Bachelet notes the crisis in Sudan has its roots in human rights grievances. She says the solution to the crisis also must be grounded in human rights.

Bachelet’s spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, says the high commissioner fears the ousting of longtime president Omar al-Bashir by the army will not result in a more democratic rule-based society.

She says Bachelet is disturbed by the military council’s announcement Thursday saying it would suspend the constitution and take charge of running the country during a two-year political transitional period.

“We are very concerned about this. The constitution of Sudan needs to be upheld. There are important human rights protections that are contained within that constitution…. We also understand that the announcement that was made yesterday did not indicate any possibility for people to participate in this transition,” Shamdasani said.

Bachelet is calling on the authorities to ensure the inclusion of civil society and dissenting voices in charting a way forward.

The International Criminal Court has issued a statement demanding Sudan’s deposed president appear before the court to face justice. Al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide committed in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Shamdasani told VOA her office is encouraging the government of Sudan to fully cooperate with the ICC.

“We are also calling for full accountability, including for the use of excessive force that has taken place since December this year. And, we are calling for full respect for the rule of law,” Shamdasani said.

Between 40 and 70 people reportedly have been killed and hundreds arrested since peaceful protests against the government of Omar al-Bashir began in mid-December. Bachelet is calling for an investigation into the killings and for the release of all those detained.

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