SUDAN: Closure of Leading Women’s Rights Organisation

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project condemns the closure and dissolution of Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre and calls on the government to end the attacks on civil society organisations.

Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre was registered as a charitable Company in 1997 according to the Sudanese Companies Act of 1925 and works to support women’s organizations, with a special focus on fighting to combat violence against women.

On 24th June 2014, the Director of Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre, Ms. Fahima Hashim was served with a decree signed and stamped by the Sudanese Ministry of Justice, ordering for the cancellation of the registration license of the company and its immediate liquidation, and the appointment of a five-person committee to oversee the Company’s dissolution process. The decree did not justify this decision.

The execution of the order did not follow the due legal process and procedures. Regular clothed civilians who did not identify themselves accompanied the Dissolution Committee and prohibited any non-staff members from staying at the premises.

Earlier this year, a number of women’s organizations, including Salmmah, were subjected to intense scrutiny by the Humanitarian Affairs Commission (HAC), raising concern that other women’s organizations may be dissolved. At the time, these organizations did not seek publicity about HAC’s initiative. Towards the end of 2012, there were also forcible and unjustifiable closures of a number of organizations, including Beit-al-Finoon, Arry Organization, Sudanese Studies Centre and Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development.

“The unjustified closure of these organisations demonstrates the shrinking civil society space in Sudan” said Mr. Hassan Shire, Executive Director, EHAHRDP. “The government of Sudan should work towards creating a conducive environment for human rights defenders instead of using state apparatus to attack them.”

East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project calls on Sudanese authorities to respect freedom of association as enshrined in national, regional and international human rights instruments.

For more information, please contact:

Hassan Shire Sheikh, Executive Director, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project: +256 772 753753 or [email protected]

John Foley, Advocacy and Research Officer, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project: +256 789 650 996 or [email protected]

 

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