HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [10.03 pm]: I rise tonight to bring members’ attention to the situation in Sudan. That might sound like an unusual issue to be raising within the state Parliament, but this has been brought to my attention by members of the Sudanese Australian community who are living in Western Australia. I need to acknowledge the distress that they are experiencing, recognising that many Sudanese Australians arrived in Australia precisely to escape the sort of oppression that is occurring. They have family and friends who are being directly affected by these violent actions.

Members may remember that in April this year, Omar al-Bashir was removed from power after months of protest and civil disobedience. Members may also recall that the Transitional Military Council installed itself and has resisted all local and international calls to hand over power to a civilian transitional government. What is happening now in Khartoum is devastating. The people of Sudan are now protesting for the Transitional Military Council to hand back power to civilian leaders. Last week, more than 100 people staging a week-long sitting outside army headquarters in Khartoum were killed. They were killed and injured simply for peacefully protesting. These people and many others in Sudan have been pursuing dialogue and they are calling for the generals who overthrew Omar al-Bashir to hand over power to a civilian government. We need to remember that people have a right to peacefully protest no matter where they are in the world. They have a right to publicly express their concerns and to call for civilian government. This week, we have seen that the general strike that started on Sunday is ongoing, and more killings are being reported.

The Greens stand in this place to be very clear that we condemn these deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of government-supported militias and the Sudanese Army. We call on the federal government also to condemn this. We call on the military council to end its use of lethal force against its own people and to hand over power to a civilian transitional government. We want to see an independent investigation into these atrocities and we want to see justice for the victims. People are going to have to be held accountable for their crimes. It is very important that we do not remain silent while peaceful protesters are being killed. We should not stay silent in the face of reports that Sudanese authorities are beating up medical professionals and volunteers, and ambulances are being prevented from reaching the injured. Bodies are reportedly being dumped in the Nile.

The Greens are deeply concerned by the human rights situation in Sudan and we express our sincere solidarity with the Sudanese people. The Greens fully support Australia’s Sudanese community and the community’s family and friends who are back in Sudan. We acknowledge the distress that is being felt here in Australia by Sudanese Australians and everyone who has family and friends in Sudan. Australians must speak up for democracy and human rights in Sudan.


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