By Ashley Martin
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay Friday urged Sudanese government officials to investigate reports that Sudanese state security forces opened fire on protesters in Nyala, capital of South Darfur on Tuesday, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 50 others.
Pillay says initial reports indicate at least five of the eight victims Tuesday were students under the age of 17, and noted that eye witnesses also reported the use of heavy tear gas.
“We urge the Government to promptly launch an independent and credible investigation into the violence and the apparent excessive use of force by security forces.” Pillay’s spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said in Geneva Friday. “There are key international guidelines that must be respected in handling protests so that the legitimate right of people to freedom of expression and assembly are fully respected.”
The UN Human Rights Commissioner urged Sudanese authorities to guarantee the right to peaceful demonstration and ensure those responsible for deaths and injuries are held accountable, adding that any police response should be carried out in accordance with the principle of proportionality.
Pillay also reiterated calls Sudanese government officials to release demonstrators and activists detained for exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and expression.