Sudan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:41 am on 13th June 2019.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Conservative, North West Norfolk 10:41 am, 13th June 2019

I am very grateful to the Minister for her response. When Omar al-Bashir stood down and the Transitional Military Council took over—the Minister alluded to that—there was a huge amount of optimism. There were peaceful protests and there was space for opposition groups. Since last weekend, however, the situation has become horrendous. We have seen the Rapid Support Forces—the former Janjaweed militia—play a part in killing over 100 people. A number of women have been arrested, as have various opposition politicians, including Mohamed Esmat, and three key people from the SPLM-N—the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North.

The Minister mentioned the help she is giving to Sudanese diaspora groups here. What conversations are we having with them, and what additional assistance can we give the alliance? Will she provide more details on that? Its leaders are being arrested, and many key personnel who are abroad want to come back and need help. What efforts are the troika and Her Majesty’s Government making to put pressure on countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which are apparently giving support to the Transitional Military Council?

Finally, the Minister rightly mentioned the African Union, which has a key role to play. Does she think it sensible for the AU to have suspended Sudan’s membership at a time when there should be dialogue, discussion and pressure applied, and what will she and the Secretary of State do to work with the AU, which is absolutely the key player in this, to make sure that common sense prevails, that space is given for democracy and that the will of the people triumphs in a country that has so much potential, but which is suffering so much at the moment?