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African Union suspends Sudan from the organisation

10.06.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
The Africa Union on Thursday, June 6, suspended Sudan from the organisation and all related activities. In a statement on twitter, the AU said “The #AU Peace and Security Council has with immediate effect suspended the participation of the Republic of #Sudan in all #AU activities until the effective establishment of a Civilian-led Transitional Authority, as the only way to allow the Sudan to exit from the current crisis”. The African Union has also warned that it will take other actions against Sudan if power is not transferred to a civilian authority, which is a prime demand of the protesters.

This decision came about after the brutal crackdown of the weeks-long sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum. This is the most devastating clash between the military and civilians since President Omar Al-Bashir was overthrown by the military in April.

Brief history of Sudan

Sudan, officially known as the Republic of Sudan is located in the north eastern part of Africa. Sudan is bordered by Egypt in the north, Eritrea in the east, South Sudan in the south and Chad in the west. Other neighbours include Ethiopia, Libya and the Central African Republic.

Sudan is rich in natural resources such as petroleum, chromium ore, iron ore, copper, silver, gold and zinc. Despite all these resources Sudan is ranked by the UN as one of the poorest countries in the world. This is undeniably as a result of the on-going crisis in the country which has lasted for over 20 years, and has seriously hindered development and progress in the country.

After the ousting of Omar al-Bashir by a peaceful protest in April, there was hope for a peaceful transition and that things will be better for the country. Unfortunately, demonstrations continued and protesters organised the Sudanese Professionals Association and democratic opposition groups emerged, and have engaged in street demonstrations, with demands that the transitional military council steps aside in favour of a civilian-led transitional government among other reforms in the country. There has been serious tension and sometimes violence during these protests as a result of brutal military crackdowns. The most serious crackdown was that of June 3; the Khartoum Massacre, where Sudanese armed forced invaded a protest camp, killing about 60 people. By June 6, the number of deaths had risen to over 100. It is on this day that the African Union decided to suspend Sudan from the organisation and all related activities.

Previous sanctions on Sudan

The first sanction on Sudan came in 1993, after the US identified the country as a state sponsor of terrorism. The US imposed economic sanctions on Sudan and also restricted some of her financial transactions.

In 1997, another set of sanctions were placed on Sudan for her continuous support for international terrorism, human rights violations and efforts to destabilize neighbouring governments. This time around, the president of the United States of America issued executive order 13067, which laid a trade embargo on Sudan and also blocked some government assets.

The next set of sanctions on Sudan was place by President George W. Bush, who imposed new economic sanctions in 2006, as a result of the continuous violence in the Darfur region. This new sanctions targeted Sudanese citizens and government controlled companies connected to the violence in Darfur. These sanctions were lifted by the us government in 2017

It should be noted that these sanctions were meant to make the Sudanese government end the crisis and human rights violation in the country. Unfortunately, these had little or no success.

Effects of AU sanction on Sudan

The main reason behind Sudan’s suspension by the African Union is to exert pressure on the transitional military council to establish a civilian-led transitional authority, and they have only 60 days to do so.

There are risks of diplomatic isolation if the transitional military council refuses to hand over power. This could lead to more violence.

Though this suspension is for a good course, it is feared that this could lead to more violence, escalating to another civil war, in case the transitional military government refuses to hand over power to a civilian.

Whether the African Union will be able attain their objectives (make the TMC hand over power) as a result of Sudan’s suspension is still uncertain. This is because of the amount of help the TMC received from Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Cairo.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Credit image : google image / illustration

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