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Archive for the tag “Omar Al-Bashir”

Sudan: 30 women detained in inhumane conditions following involvement in protests (20.02.2019)

The detainees include members of opposition political parties, human rights defenders, journalists, teachers and doctors.

PARIS, France, February 20, 2019 – The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) and FIDH are deeply concerned about the safety of 30 women detained without access to lawyers or family members by the Sudanese National Security Intelligence Services (NISS) in Omdurman women’s prison. The detainees were targeted for their participation or suspected involvement in the ongoing protests calling for the resignation of president Omar al-Bashir. ACJPS and FIDH have gathered disturbing information about the detention conditions of these women, all of whom have been subjected to invasive strip searches, amounting to acts of sexual violence.

The detainees include members of opposition political parties, human rights defenders, journalists, teachers and doctors. Of the 30 women currently held at Omdurman, 18 were arrested during protests held between December 20, 2018 and February 2, 2019. They were forced to climb into NISS pickup trucks and to face downward so that they could not recognize where they were being taken. The other detainees were arrested over the same time period during NISS raids of their private residences and political party offices. The oldest detainee is in her late 70’s whilst the youngest is 24 years old. At least one is suffering from asthma.

Sudanese authorities must preserve the safety of the 30 women detained in Omdurman prison and ensure they have immediate and unequivocal access to their family members, medical services and to lawyers of their own choosing. Those arbitrarily detained must be released and for those charged, authorities must ensure due process of law and a fair trial including the right to promptly access courts and to review the legality of their detention”, declared Mossaad Mohamed Ali, ACJPS Executive Director.

ACJPS and FIDH have received reliable information indicating that the 30 women were made to sit for hours while facing the wall as they waited for admission into the prison. After having their phones confiscated and inspected, all of the women were subjected to body searches by NISS agents including in their private parts, amounting to acts of sexual violence. While in detention, they have not had access to sanitary towels, thus exposing them to risks of infection. Many have been subjected to verbal abuse including calling them prostitutes. At least eight women are obliged to share a single cell measuring approximately 5×5 meters.

NISS authorities have used detainees’ family members to pressure them to reveal information. The husband of at least one detainee was brought to the prison by NISS agents to force her reveal the identity of members of the Sudanese Professionals Association. Before the arrest of another detainee, her nephew was arrested by NISS to force her to report to their offices. Her nephew was eventually released.

“The information we have received suggests that the 30 women detainees may have been subjected to various forms of acts of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, including acts of sexual violence. Authorities must take immediate action to end these violations, to carry a prompt investigation into these acts and to hold those responsible to account”, declared Sheila Nabachwa, FIDH Vice President.

At least 816 people have been arrested and detained and 40 others killed since protests broke out across Sudan on 19 December 2018. While protests initially focused on denouncing increases in prices of basic commodities, they quickly developed into calling for the resignation of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, leading to a violent response from security agencies. On 29 January 2019, the Director of NISS ordered the release of all detainees  but only a few of those detained were released. Security agencies have continued to arrest protesters and disperse rallies. Most recently, on 10 February 2019, police used teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters participating in a march organized by the Sudanese Professionals Association calling for the release of all women detained since the December 2018 protests. Police intercepted the protesters as they marched towards Omdurman women’s prison and arrested several people.

ACJPS and FIDH are deeply concerned about the detention conditions of all those who have been arrested and detained in relation to the protests, considering NISS’s well-documented record of acts of torture against detainees. Our organisations urge authorities to guarantee the safety of all detainees, in compliance with provisions of the Sudanese 2005 Interim Constitution and with regional and international treaties to which Sudan is party.

ACJPS and FIDH further reiterate their call upon Sudanese authorities to end all acts of harassment and intimidation of citizens who seek to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.

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High level UN delegation concludes a three-day visit to Sudan (12.02.2019)

Their visit focused on the transition of the UN’s engagement in Darfur in the context of the drawdown of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur, known as UNAMID.

KHARTOUM, Sudan, February 12, 2019 – On 12 February 2019, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Bintou Keita; the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Development Programme, Mourad Wahba; and the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco concluded a three-day visit to Sudan. Their visit focused on the transition of the UN’s engagement in Darfur in the context of the drawdown of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur, known as UNAMID.

From 9 to 11 February, they visited Darfur where they engaged with local and State authorities, native administration, IDPs and Civil Society among others in order to ensure a smooth transition of peace-building tasks from UNAMID to UN Agencies, Programmes and Funds and the relevant authorities of the Government of Sudan (GOS). On 11 February, the delegation returned to Khartoum where they met with the Assistant Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Elham Ahmed and a high level delegation from all Government bodies working with UNAMID.

The discussion revolved around issues related to the transition and eventual exit of UNAMID by June 2020.

The high level UN delegation held a broader meeting between UNAMID, the UN Country Team (UNCT) and the Government of Sudan in order to coordinate efforts to facilitate a smooth transition.

During these engagements the three Assistant Secretaries -Generals emphasized that the responsibility of achieving peace, stability and development for the people of Darfur lies with the Government of Sudan while all other entities can play a supporting role.

This joint mission reflected the United Nations’ commitment to supporting this important process and ensuring national ownership for sustaining Peace.

Sudan Doctors Syndicate: New trends of violence and brutality against civil protestors in Sudan (08.02.2019)

The Sudan Consortium: An Open Letter to the African Union – 35 African civil society organisations call for stron AU response to popular uprising in Sudan (06.02.2019)

Sudan: Release Doctors from Unlawful Detention, Stop Obstructing Health Care Delivery (04.02.2019)

The Sudanese government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is detaining doctors and targeting hospitals with tear gas amidst mass protests against the al-Bashir regime. Physicians for Human Rights demands that the Sudanese government release doctors and health care workers being held unlawfully, provide medical care for detainees in need, and allow medical responders and hospitals to function without threat of violence.

PHR has been tracking attacks on doctors and health care facilities in Sudan since the start of protests in December and is in close touch with medical professionals on the ground. Twenty-seven doctors remain imprisoned, almost entirely denied communication with their families, as well as being left untreated for injuries sustained when arrested and for preexisting medical conditions.

Seven hospitals have been directly attacked. Security forces have raided facilities, shot bullets and tear gas into them, and detained doctors, leaving patients suffocating from tear gas, terrified to seek medical care, and without enough health workers to attend to them.

Physicians for Human Rights medical expert Dr. Rohini Haar, said the following in response to the ongoing attacks against Sudanese doctors and health care facilities:

“Detaining doctors and attacking hospitals not only represent egregious violations of international law but also cause significant downstream health impacts for the entire community. The government must release Sudanese physicians who have come together to take a leading role in demanding respect for basic human rights and fulfilling their duty to provide medical care to all. The government’s use of tear gas, live ammunition, and violence – both within hospitals and on the streets – to quell peaceful protests must cease immediately.

“The doctors who have been arbitrarily detained and kept in isolation from other detainees without the ability to contact their lawyers or family members must be released immediately and permitted to continue their life-saving work. The government must stop the illegal targeting of health care facilities, be held accountable for the killing of Dr. Babiker Salama, and allow any detained doctors access to medical care.”

Dr. Salama was shot and killed in January while trying to care for an individual injured during a protest. Among the doctors known to be detained with health conditions are Dr. Alfateh Omer Elsid, who suffers from cancer and is being denied chemotherapy treatment, and Dr. Muaz Faisal, who fell and broke his leg while detained. Dr. Hiba Omar is the only doctor who has been allowed a visit with family; she told her husband that she was pressured to give up names of doctors leading the Central Doctors Committee.

Since 1988, PHR has documented assaults on medical workers, including systematic attacks on doctors in Bahrain, jailing of doctors in Iran, attacks and persecution of medical workers in Turkey, and targeting of medical facilities and health workers in Syria and the former Yugoslavia.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

Sudan: Forces Signatories to the Declaration for Freedom and Change – A Joint Statement, Khartoum February 2, 2019 – Shadows of Death (02.02.2019)

Sudan: Qatar Airways and Kenya Airways temporarily suspend Ticketing Authority (28.01.2019/24.01.2019)

Sudan: Amidst deaths, injuries, imprisonments, UNICEF stresses children’s protection ‘at all times’ (24.01.2019)

Children are likely among the dead during a month of nationwide protests in Sudan with “scores” of others injured and detained, according to a top UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) official, who spelled out that “children should never be targeted nor used or exploited”.

NEW YORK, United States of America, January 24, 2019 – “Children were reportedly killed in ongoing turmoil that broke out last month in Sudan,” Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said on Wednesday, noting that “scores of children were also injured and others detained”.

Against the back drop of an “unprecedented hike in the cost of living and shortages in bread and fuel” he said that poverty has increased, “forcing some families into negative measures like taking their children out of school”.

Pointing to information it had received, UNICEF revealed that there has been an uptick in the number of Sudanese children now requiring health and nutrition care, since the anti-Government protests began.

“While it is difficult for UNICEF to verify these reports, children must be protected at all times from all forms of violence, harm, cruelty and mistreatment whether physical or mental” stressed Mr. Cappelaere.

“UNICEF calls on the authorities in Sudan to prioritize the protection of children and safeguard their rights to education and health in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child” concluded the UNICEF Regional Director.

News agencies have reported that demonstrations against an on-going economic crisis have been taking place across the country on a near-daily basis, since 19 December. Large crowds, including teenagers and demonstrators in their 20s, have been calling for an end to the 30-year rule of President Omar al-Bashir.

There have been reports of many being fired on with tear gas and bullets, and thousands being detained. The UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, expressed alarm at the use of “excessive force” last Thursday.

A Government crackdown against journalists covering the protests is also reportedly underway. At least 26 people are reported to have died, including two security officers.

Sudan: University of Medical Sciences & Technology – Graduates’ Union – Statement (19.01.2019)

Reports of excessive force against Sudan protests deeply worrying – Bachelet (17.01.2019)

Bachelet called on the Government to protect the exercise by all of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, regardless of their political affiliations.

GENEVA, Switzerland, January 17, 2019 – Credible reports of the use of excessive force, including live ammunition, by State security forces against protestors across Sudan over the past month are deeply worrying, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Thursday. Bachelet called on the Government to protect the exercise by all of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, regardless of their political affiliations.

The demonstrations since 19 December 2018 have taken place in a number of cities across Sudan, including Wad Madani, Port Sudan, Al-Qadarif, Atbara, Berber, Dongla, Karima, Al-Damazin, Al Obeid, Khartoum, Sinar, Bara, Nyala and Omdurman. The Government has confirmed that 24 people have died in the course of the protests, but other credible reports suggest the death toll may be nearly twice as high. Many others have been injured. According to information received, security forces have also followed some protestors into the Omdurman Hospital and fired tear gas and live ammunition inside the premises of the hospital. Reports also suggest that police fired tear gas inside Bahri Teaching Hospital and Haj Al-Safi Hospital. These two hospitals are in Khartoum North, where a large protest was organized by opposition groups.

Authorities have also confirmed that up to 6 January, at least 816 people were arrested in connection with the demonstrations. Reports indicate that these include journalists, opposition leaders, protestors and representatives of civil society.

“A repressive response can only worsen grievances,” High Commissioner Bachelet said.

“I am very concerned about reports of excessive use of force, including live ammunition, by Sudanese State Security Forces during large-scale demonstrations in various parts of the country since 19 December. The Government needs to ensure that security forces handle protests in line with the country’s international human rights obligations by facilitating and protecting the right to peaceful assembly.” *

As a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since 1986, Sudan is obliged to take all necessary measures intended to prevent arbitrary deprivations of life by their law enforcement officials. In particular, all operations of law enforcement officials should comply with relevant international standards, including the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (General Assembly resolution 34/169)(1979) and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990).

The High Commissioner noted that fact-finding committees had been established by the Government and the National Commission of Human Rights. She urged that any investigations be conducted in a prompt, thorough and transparent manner, with a view to accountability.

“I also call on the authorities to ensure that all those arbitrarily detained for the exercise of their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression are promptly released, and that these rights are fully protected,” Bachelet added.

“I urge the authorities to work to resolve this tense situation through dialogue, and call on all sides to refrain from the use of violence.”

Bachelet stressed the readiness of the UN Human Rights Office to deploy a team to Sudan, to advice the authorities and help ensure they act in accordance with the country’s international human rights obligations.

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