Assessing Progress Towards Civilian-Led Transitional Authority in Sudan

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This report is submitted by Sudanese civil society groups in response to the communique of the 846th meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC), in which the AU Commission Chairperson is requested to provide the PSC with periodic reports on the situation in Sudan in order to inform decision making by the PSC.

Civil Society Organizations (CSO) have an important role in the transitional arrangements. Accordingly, Sudanese CSO have submitted this report to the PSC on the occasion of the first 3-week reporting period following the 846th meeting of the PSC. This report is submitted in line with the Livingstone Formula and subsequent Maseru Conclusion which mandate civil society organizations to submit reports to the PSC. This report reflects the views of the Sudanese Civil Society and their take on the progress on the transition as at 20 May 2019.

Read the full report.

The Sudan Women Protest: Sudan’s revolution and the upcoming state must adhere to the women’s agenda

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The religion of Islam is the religion of the majority in Sudan. We believe that the principles of Islam and other religions and believes practiced in Sudan are a source of justice and equality whilst preserving the dignity of all human beings – both women and men.  Furthermore, international conventions and constitutions are all based on equality between human beings.  Based on these shared principles, we believe that achieving justice and equality in the laws of Islamic communities is both necessary and conceivable at the same time.

Background:

The Strategic Initiative for women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA), in Sudan – is operating among other civil society organizations in the field of human rights. SIHA Network is concerned with promoting women’s rights within the local communities, organizing women, empowering them, building their capacities, and motivating them to partake in public work. This initiative comes as a contribution from SIHA’s Membership Network hereby formed as a coalition of women’s CSOs and NGOs with the shared goal of pushing forward the development of community awareness on the issues of human rights and women’s rights in light of the democratic transition that Sudan is currently undergoing. This awareness is envisioned to be achieved through developing and sharpening women and girls’ mechanisms to safeguard their rights and create a cohesive and solidarity-based women rights and feminist movement that expresses the rights of women and girls without exclusion – through mass protest marches and rallies. This is expected to form a continuous pressure mechanism for democratic and civil governance that respects women’s rights.

The idea of Sudan Women Protest is derived from the developments that have been witnessed and are still being witnessed in the Sudanese arena. These developments have inevitably affected, and are still affecting the status of women in Sudan. In spite of the intensity of the discourse that prevailed in the early periods of the revolution around women ‘s political participation in the Sudanese revolution and the parallel and widespread presence of women in all revolutionary events and activities – the current political discourse is still limited in dealing with women’s basic issues such as development, legal rights, security and peace, and creating economic budgets that take into consideration providing opportunities for women in decent livelihood and access to education healthcare  services for them and their families.

What is aggravating these days is the re-emergence of the extremist discourse which has contributed to the exclusion, torture and criminalization of women for decades. This is apparent in the marches of dark forces and terrorist groups such as those led by Salafi Islamists proponents of the former regime who called for, and marketed the suppression of women, and hence the suppression of the society, as a tool to impose their political domination.

Due to the absence of a consistent and unified women’s resistance discourse, the idea of Sudan Women Protest came into existence. In the short term, the idea aims to create a unified platform for women’s resistance in the form of marches and demonstrations that embrace women from different backgrounds. In the long term, Sudan Women Protest will act as an efficient tool for the mobilization and support of women in coordination with women ‘s groups from different regions of Sudan and without exclusion of geographic origin, religion or political orientation; provided that the advancing of women’s rights, equality in law, and development opportunities are agreed upon.  It should eventually be emphasized that Sudanese women will not accept to be attacked under the pretext of religion or customs.

Goals of Sudan Women Protest

1) Demand for a civilian-led and democratic government that guarantees freedom of expression for all Sudanese within a coherent legal framework aligned with international and regional mechanisms which promotes space for negotiation, access to peace, justice and democracy in Sudan;

2) Urgent signing and ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women – (CEDAW); the revision and removal of all Sudanese Laws which serve to humiliate women and do not promote and protect the rights of women as soon as possible; and the ratification and adoption of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol);  and the implementation of regional and international conventions nationally through domestication and revision of legal mechanisms and policies;

3) Address and put in place strict regulations on militarization, armament and impunity in Sudan, specifically in the periphery areas of displacement, which result in systematic violations of women’s and girls’ rights and are an impediment to their movement, safety and security;

4) Issue strict laws and regulations that address the hate discourse that hurt, humiliate and undermine women in public spaces such as mosques, religious institutions, educational curricula, the press and the media, and any hate discourse that incites racial prejudice against any Sudanese citizen regardless of their gender, ethnic, religion or cultural background;

The first of the Sudan Women Protest will be on Thursday 30th May 2019 – in Khartoum, Sudan. 

Civil society responds to attacks on protesters

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(16 May 2019) The undersigned Sudanese and African civil society organisations write to urge the African Union to take urgent action following events this week in Sudan.

On 15 May, an unidentified militia fired live ammunition near McNimer bridge in an attempt to clear roadblocks and disperse protestors. At the time of writing this letter, at least eight people were reported to have been injured in the attack but the number is likely to be higher. This is the second attack made against peaceful protestors this week and follows an attack on 13 May, in which at least five demonstrators and one military official were killed and over 100 people injured in Khartoum. Live ammunition and tear gas was used against protestors at Nile Avenue, a few blocks away from sit-in at army headquarters in an attempt to break up the protest. The attack took place as protestors were breaking their Ramadan fast in the evening and the Transitional Military Council (TMC) was only able to send in army reinforcements hours later. On 4 May, protests in Nyala, South Darfur were dispersed by counter revolutionary forces which resulted in one civilian casualty and injuries.

Read the full letter.

SIHA: Massacre on Nile Street – Peaceful Protesters in Khartoum Shot at by Security Militias

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(14 May 2019) Last night – May 13th 2019 in Khartoum, the enduring sit-in continued to peacefully await a power transition to civilian government. As observed, the sit-in has backed the negotiation process between the Alliance for Freedom and Change and the Sudanese Military Council (MTC). Many Sudanese citizens attend the Iftar meals held at the sit-in, marking the end of the day of fasting in a peaceful and communal setting.

However, last night was disturbed by sounds of live ammunition echoing from multiple directions on Nile Street, which had recently been added to the territory of the sit-in. Heavy teargas across the sit-in area added to the panic caused by the noise of live ammunition – and as the situation became more fraught many protesters ran towards the sit-in barriers in alarm at this serious attempt to dissolve the sit-in and harm the protesters. A few moments later, the source of the gunfire sounds were identified and a long line of casualties being carried by fellow protesters appeared to come from the Nile Street side of the occupied sit-in area. The mobile clinics at the sit-in area were quickly filled, and ambulances arrived taking the injured to hospitals across Khartoum. The attacks on civilians lasted between 6:15pm and midnight. Medical sources say that there are 125 people known to have been injured by the attacks.

This morning of May 14th, it was reported by the medical doctors’ committee operating inside the sit-in area that five (5) protesters and one (1) military officer were shot in the head and chest and lost their lives.

Their names are listed below: 

  • Ruba Mohamed of 17 years (the only female);
  • Mohamed Ibrahim of 25 years;  
  • Mohamed Hassan of 21 years;  
  • Ahmed Ibrahim of 20 years; 
  • Mudathir ElShikh of 30 years; 
  • An Army Officer (a male whose name has not been released yet); 

According to many eye-witnesses, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) who for the tenure of the sit-in has surrounded the sit in – withdrew swiftly just before the shooting started. Many eye-witnesses on Nile Street also reported that they were shot at by the same Rapid Support Forces (RSF) personnel based on their uniform and type of vehicles. Additionally, this morning of May 14th, hundreds of the RSF fighters who are stationed around Khartoum especially on the bridges were seen holding whips and flogging civilians on public bridges and pedestrian walkways.

In the press conference held by the military council, Hashim Abd al-Muttalib Mohammad Babikir, a member of the council blamed the peaceful protesters at the sit-in, accusing people of provoking military personnel which consequentially led them to attempt to dissolve the sit in.

During the time of the attack, it was estimated that almost one million people of all walks of life, gender, ages and cultural backgrounds – including families with young children – were having their Ramadan meal within the sit-in area. The protesters’ demands for a civilian government and peaceful democratic transformation have been backed and supported by Sudanese from across the country.

The Sudan Military Council currently in control of the country must be held accountable for the massacre that occurred in Khartoum yesterday. This situation of systemic extra judicial killing by Sudanese security forces rises to levels of crimes against humanity according to international law. The Alliance for Freedom and Change must speak out categorically against these atrocities; otherwise it too will bear responsibility for the lives lost in these attempts to stop the protesters from struggling for justice.

ACJPS: Sudanese Public Order: A law designed to control people, not protect morality

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(9 May 2019) Since 1989, Sudan has witnessed a new era (under Inghaz Government) which based its rule on the philosophy of Political Islam, which introduced the so called “civilization project” as a political manifesto. The civilization Project aimed to enforce the ‘Islamic religious State’. Religious state contradicts the cultural, social, historical and ethnic components of Sudanese society, which is characterized by pluralism and diversity, what questioned its legitimacy.

Read the full statement.

ACJPS: Sudan weekly update

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The Transitional Military Council and opposition agree on a joint council as the African Union extends deadline for the third time.

(6 May 2019) The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) has documented a number of events that has taken place between 25 to 30 April 2019, as peaceful protesters in Sudan continue with their demand for a civilian-led transitionary council.

Read the full statement.

SIHA: VIOLENCE AGAINST PEACEFUL PROTESTERS IN NYALA, SOUTH DARFUR

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(6 May 2019) Horrifying reports of violence against peaceful protesters by police in Nyala, South Darfur show that the government there continues its efforts to roll back the gains of the revolution. The police in Nyala used live ammunition and tear gas to attempt to clear the sit in that has been taking place outside the Nyala army head-quarters since 6th April, 2019. It is reported that 8 people were seriously injured by live ammunition, many more lost consciousness and were injured by the teargas. One man died this morning (May 5th, 2019) as a result of his gunshot wounds. There are also reports that the military assisted with attempts to break up the sit in by beating protesters with canes.

The Governor of South Darfur Major General Hashim Khalid Mahmoud claims that his decision to ban peaceful protests and efforts to disperse the ongoing sit-in are made to ensure “security” in the area.

The Governor of South Darfur Major General Hashim Khalid Mahmoud claims that his decision to ban peaceful protests and efforts to disperse the ongoing sit-in are made to ensure “security” in the area.

The Governor’s actions come just days after the administration in Nyala issued emergency orders prohibiting nudity, indecent dressing, and the selling of alcohol subject to fines and imprisonment, along the lines of the old regime’s public order laws. These actions show that the government in Nyala has not yet made its peace with revolutionary change and Sudan’s transformation to peace and democracy, as they continue to uphold the values of the ousted regime of Omar al-Bashir. This includes violence and repression against all civilians, but particularly women and marginalized ethnic groups.

We at SIHA condemn these actions, and call for increased scrutiny to push for revolutionary change across Sudan, especially in Darfur. We demand the Peace and Security Council at the African Union and the international community to take a firm stand in order to further stop all forms of violations against the people of Darfur who have suffered for decades as a result of the brutality of Bashir regime and Sudan’s political Islamist government.