Impose Sanctions on Officials Linked to Atrocities Against Peaceful Protesters in Sudan

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What do we, the people, want the Canadian government to do?

1. Immediately place economic sanctions on the military officials -- and those connected to them -- involved in committing the atrocities against the Sudanese people.

2. Demand that the military council call democratic elections -- with Canadian election monitors on the scene to ensure there are no irregularities in the results -- to follow the will of the Sudanese people.

3. Ensure the Sudanese military council -- and its partners -- immediately refrain from using any live ammunition against peaceful protesters.

A summary of the situation in Sudan:

What first started as a protest against Sudan's authoritarian president, Omar al-Bashir, turned into jubilation and hope on the streets this year after he was arrested. Sadly, instead of the new beginning that protesters had yearned for, months of chaos and bloodshed have followed, and that's dominated news coverage across the globe.

[Here's a video from Al Jazeera that explains the entire situation in Sudan, alongside another from NowThis that explains the recent massacre. It would be especially helpful for those of us who are visual and auditory learners.]

How did it all begin?

In December, the Sudanese people started an uprising.

The rallies began as demonstrators protested against the rising cost of food and shortages of fuel, but they eventually morphed into protests against the president, Omar al-Bashir.

The movement, however, started off optimistically, with the nation's women at the heart of the demonstrations, making for iconic images and videos of them defying the police's brutality, which were then shared widely.

Why did the Sudanese people want Omar al-Bashir out?

Bashir's legacy, throughout his 30-year reign, has been one of human suffering and atrocities.

In 1989, he took over as President of Sudan after he led a coup that ousted the previous government. Although he's technically been re-elected several times, human rights groups frequently question the results of the elections, saying they may have been rigged.

Bashir was ruthless on his attacks, even on some of his own people, including some 15,000 villagers who were estimated killed by the government-backed Janjaweed militia between early 2003 and late 2004 in Darfur. (In that conflict, millions of Sudanese people were displaced, which has caused a major humanitarian crisis in parts of the country.) In numerous reports, the Janjaweed militia was also accused of raping women in Darfur, and the government has been accused of using chemical weapons against the community there as well.

In 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Bashir on charges of genocide and war crimes related to Darfur, however, nothing meaningful happened because, in 2014, the case had to be suspended because of lack of support from the United Nations Security Council.

[Here's a video from CNN showing how Sudanese women, targeted for their gender, are driving the protests to topple Bashir.]

Late last year, protests to topple Bashir from power started, causing numerous deaths as security forces loyal to Bashir used excessive force and violence against peaceful demonstrators, Amnesty International and numerous other activist groups said.

In an interview with CNN in April, a Sudanese demonstrator said: "The situation is getting bad -- a lot of people dying. And they are torturing so many people. ... So, we are here to protest that and to ask the international community to stand with the Sudanese people."

Finally, after months of protests, Bashir was arrested in April and removed from power in a military coup announced by the Sudanese defence minister, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, who said that a military council would take control to oversee the peaceful transition of power, he said.

Why is he no longer in power?

Protesters, still overcome with hope, initially celebrated Bashir's ouster with dancing in the streets, including many young people who had never known a time when he wasn't in power.

The excitement soon gave way to demands that the transitional military council make way for a civilian-led interim body and elections. And, for many protesters, the only way forward was through democratic elections; the military council and opposition groups had originally agreed on a three-year transition period in which democracy would be instituted, but talks sadly broke down in May.

In an interview with CNN, a Sudanese activist, Omar al-Neel, said: "All the Sudanese people are in the street and demanding the downfall of the regime and not recycling the same people." (Omar is, of course, referring to the fact many of those on the military council are Bashir loyalists -- and wouldn't want to give away their power after holding it for so long.)

Demonstrations will only end when the ruling generals transfer power to civil transitional authority, protesters across the country had said.

How have the demonstrations changed?

Since May, violence has sadly marked protests, however, smaller, peaceful demonstrations have occurred, including a mass civil disobedience campaign that emerged largely online.

The effort, which rendered the streets of the capital of the country, Khartoum, mostly deserted, included not going to work and "general civil disobedience for a civil state," said the organizing group, the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has also led anti-Bashir protests in the past.

Meanwhile, the bloodshed has continued, with soldiers and paramilitary groups earlier this month opening fire on a pro-democracy sit-in in Khartoum, leaving at least 118 people dead, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said. The massacre horrified human rights activists and numerous governments worldwide, although hardly any action has occurred since then, except for empty-worded statements condemning the horrible actions by the Sudanese government -- and forces supported by them.

Sudan is sliding into a "human rights abyss," a United Nations expert said, calling for an independent investigation into the possible war, or genocide, in the country.

What are governments doing across the world?

CNN reports that critics around the world have bashed the White House for inaction, despite Sudan's swift destabilization, however, they have responded, albeit slowly.

After months of political turmoil, the State Department appointed a veteran diplomat as its special envoy for Sudan. And the State Department is engaging with officials in the region and welcomes calls from the African Union, Egypt and Saudi Arabia for an end to violence and resumption of dialogue, the agency added.

Special envoy Donald Booth will lead the United States' push for a "political solution ... that reflects the will of the Sudanese people," the State Department said. He served as special envoy for Sudan and South Africa from 2013 to 2017, CNN reports.

Booth has been in Sudan for the last week, specifically to speak with Tibor Nagy, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, and to meet with leaders and call for an end to attacks on civilians.

Special note from petition author:

This summary was adopted -- and summarized -- from a CNN article, which can be found here.

I have tried to include all sources for my information via hyperlinks, so please let me know if I've missed any. And, as always, if there are any spelling or grammatical errors, please point them out in the comments.