U.N.’s top rights body to hold urgent session on Sudan on Friday

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold an emergency session on Sudan on Friday at the request of Britain and other countries following last week’s military coup, a U.N. statement said on Tuesday.

Britain’s request, lodged on Monday, was on behalf of 18 member states, more than the one-third required to convene a special session of the 47-member Geneva forum, and included Sudan. It was backed by 30 countries with observer status, including the United States.

On Tuesday, the permanent mission of Sudan to the U.N. in Geneva circulated a notice to other delegations announcing it had withdrawn its ambassador. Sudan did not appear on the U.N.’s list of 17 countries that backed holding the session.

Last week, Sudan’s military took power in a coup, detaining civilian officials and politicians, and promising to establish a new government of technocrats. The Oct. 25 coup has been met with opposition and street demonstrations over the last week.

Jeffrey Feltman, the United States’ special envoy for the Horn of Africa, said on Tuesday  that the Sudanese military had shown “restraint” in its response to demonstrations on Saturday, which he said was a sign of potential for a return to power sharing with civilians.

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