COUNTRIES

Sudan

Country Profile

Since december 2018 Sudan has been subjected to violent repression by the ex-regime and succeeding Transitional Military Council that was inducted into leadership on 11 April 2019. The Rapid Support forces, Sudan Armed Forces and Sudan National Intelligence and security services all operate under the authority of the new heads of state Abdel Fattah Al Burhan who acts as head of the council and Deputy Lieutenant General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo otherwise known as Hemeti. Protestors and Human Rights Defenders have been subjected to sexual violence, beatings, thousands of arbitrary arrests and incommunicado detentions in additon to the threat of armed violence from paramilitary forces. There is a strong need for legal accountability as ex-president Omar El Bashir has yet to be prosecuted for the ethnic genocide orchestrated by his regime in addition to further accusations of money laundering and human rights abuses raised by the national court. An agreement has been signed by the FFC and military council to formalize civilian rule through the establishment of a sovereign council, which after 3 years would allow the FFC to choose a new prime minister of Sudan. The council will consist of 11 members, 5 of military backgrounds and 5 civilian FFC members with the additional member to be chosen in consensus between the groups. A military official will head the council for the first 21 months followed by an FFC head for the remaining 18 months. Furthermore, an all civilian legislative council will be created with 40% of seats declared to reserved for female representatives. the deal also involves mechanisms of bringing about peace in collaboration with active military groups in the region.

Freedom of Association

The tenth annual Sudan Freedom of Association and Expression report, issued in July 2017 by the Confederation of Sudanese Civil Society Organisations, detailed 15 instances where freedom of association had been obstructed. Office closures, arbitrary arrests, interrogations, and spurious prosecutions accounted for 73% of the total violations reported. Other categories included the use of laws (13%) and extra-judicial harassment (14%), including threats, surveillance, physical or sexual assaults as well as destruction of property.[1]

On 29 August 2017, HRDs Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, Hafiz Idris, Tasneem Taha Zaki, Abdel-mukhles Yousef Ali, Abdelhakim Noor, and Mubarak Adam Abdullah were issued presidential pardons. All six had been charged with criminal offensives as a result of their human rights activities.[2] Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, a prominent rights defender, along with nine other defenders, was detained for more than eight months. He was charged with two other Darfuri human rights defenders with “undermining the constitutional system” and “waging war against the state,” both of which carry either the death penalty or life imprisonment. The charges, dropped in August, are believed linked to allegations that the men helped in the production of Amnesty International’s 2016 report on the use of chemical weapons in Jebel Marra. At least two of the detained men were severely beaten, and another forced to confess under torture.[3]

Freedom of Expression

Between 17-19 June 2017, Akhar Lahza newspaper was confiscated due to an opinion article written by Abdukkah Al-Sheik that offered advice to the President. On 10 July the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) confiscated printed copies of Alzawia and Alzaim sport newspapers after warning newspapers not to publish news of the Sudan Football Association’s suspension following government interference in its internal administration. Similarly, on the morning of 13 July, the NISS prevented the distribution of printed copies of Algareeda newspaper without explanation or prior notice.[4]

On 10 July 2017, Amel Habani, a journalist with Al Tagheer online newspaper, was found guilty of threatening and insulting a public servant, and sentenced to a fine of 10,000 Sudanese Pounds ($1,500 US) or face imprisonment for four months. Habani declined to pay the fine and was released when the Sudanese Journalist Network campaigned to raise funds and paid the fine instead.[5]

On 12 July 2017, Izzeldien Dahab, a journalist with Algareeda newspaper, was summoned and interrogated by the Press and Publications Prosecutor of Khartoum in connection with an article he published 10 April regarding corruption in the Ministry of Finance in South Darfur. He was charged under Article 17 (defamation) of Sudanese Cybercrime Act (2007).[6]

Freedom of Assembly

At least five people were killed and 29 others sustained gunshot wounds when Sudanese security forces opened fire on a crowd of protestors at the Kalma camp for internally displaced persons in Nyala, South Darfur on 22 September 2017, shortly before a planned visit by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir.[7]

[1]    Confederation of Sudanese Civil Society Organisations, “Sudan Freedom of Association and Expression,” July 2017, https://gallery.mailchimp.com/dfd42f039063b9cb770e8695e/files/e2bbb4fd-6f57-4bcd-bccf-e8710d587c04/2017_Q2_Sudan_Freedom_of_Association_Expression_Watch_English.pdf?ct=t(Civil_Society_Watch_Issue_54_17_2016)&mc_cid=729d045f23&mc_eid=4be5d5e660, Accessed 3 October 2017.

[2]    Frontline Defenders, “Presidential pardon issued for six HRDs,” 30 August 2017, https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/mudawi-ibrahim-adam-detained, Accessed 3 October 2017.

[3]    African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, “22 NGOs call for strong, action-oriented resolution on Sudan at UN Human Rights Council,” 21 September 2017, http://www.acjps.org/22-ngos-call-for-strong-action-oriented-resolution-on-sudan-at-un-human-rights-council/, Accessed 19 October 2017.

[4]       African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, “Crackdown on Media Freedoms: May-July 2017,” 14 August 2017, http://www.acjps.org/crackdown-on-media-freedoms-may-july-2017/ , Accessed 20 September 2017.

[5]       African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, “Crackdown on Media Freedoms: May-July 2017,” 14 August 2017, http://www.acjps.org/crackdown-on-media-freedoms-may-july-2017/ , Accessed 20 September 2017.

[6]       African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, “Crackdown on Media Freedoms: May-July 2017,” 14 August 2017, http://www.acjps.org/crackdown-on-media-freedoms-may-july-2017/ , Accessed 20 September 2017.

[7] African Centre of Justice and Peace Studies, “Deadly force used to disperse protest against Sudanese President at Darfur IDP camp”, 28 September 2017, http://www.acjps.org/deadly-force-used-to-disperse-protest-against-sudanese-president-at-darfur-idp-camp/, accessed 19 October 2017.

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By remaining silent on Sudan, the UN Human Rights Council validates the sidelining of human rights

After failing to convene an emergency session on Sudan in the aftermath of the 3 June massacre, and failing to hold an urgent debate during its 41st ongoing regular session, the UN Human Rights Council (“Council”) is set to fail to adopt a resolution on the coun­try. By remaining silent on Sudan, the Council validates the side­lining of human rights from the regional mediation process and overall political efforts to settle the crisis, Defend­Defenders said today.