Co-Chairs Welcome Ouster of al-Bashir and Call for Civilian Government in Sudan
Co-Chairs Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, issued the following statement on news that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been removed from office, following months of peaceful protest which had increasingly been met by a violent government crackdown:
“We welcome, with guarded optimism, the news that Sudanese President and longtime strongman Omar al-Bashir has been ousted and call for calm to prevail. We are nonetheless concerned by the statement by General Awad ibn Auf, who is subject to U.S. sanctions for his reported role in Darfur atrocities, that a two-year military government will be formed, the constitution suspended, and a three-month state of emergency declared, as this falls far short of the demands of the Sudanese people to chart a new, inclusive and democratic future.
“We will not be satisfied with a mere change of players that maintains the same governing structures and corrupt and repressive practices of the al-Bashir regime. We are encouraged by media reports that political prisoners, including pro-democracy protestors who have been detained over the past four months, are in the process of being released, and we will closely monitor this process. We applaud the peaceful and mass nature of the protests by the Sudanese people and support their desire for fundamental change. We call for the formation of an inclusive interim, civilian government, and a transition to democracy.
“We also call for President Bashir to stand trial to account not only for the recent death of peaceful demonstrators as he sought to cling to power, but also the genocide which occurred in Darfur under his rule and the bombing of civilians in the Nuba Mountains.”
The bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, composed of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, promotes, defends and advocates for international human rights, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.