HUDO: Potential Confrontation between Talodi Residents on a Sit Down Demonstration and RSF Soldiers in Sudan

(10 September 2019) Since 5th September 2019, Talodi residents together with Aleri and Kalogi people went on a sit down demonstration at Talodi Locality building opposing the use of cyanide by gold mining companies. The Rapid Support Force (RSF) threatened them which raised fear that the experienced massacre of 3rd June 2019 in Khartoum could be repeated.

Read the full statement.

Civil society calls for a credible Human Rights Council response on Sudan

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(4 September 2019) Ahead of the 42nd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council (“HRC” or “the Council”), we, the undersigned civil society organisations, urge you to ensure the Council takes action to address serious human rights violations and abuses that have been and continue to be committed in Sudan, and to support systemic reforms in the country. As detailed below, the Council should formulate a holistic response to the situation in the country, including by ensuring an investigation of violations committed since December 2018, renewing the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sudan, and strengthening monitoring and reporting by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Read the full letter.

SKBN Coordination Unit: Humanitarian Update August 2019

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(16 August 2019) At the peak of the lean season in the SPLM-N controlled areas of south Kordofan and Blue Nile the food supply for communities is stressed. Heavy rain reported in Blue Nile in June is estimated by local authorities to have destroyed crops of 95% of people along the Yabus River, affecting about 300 feddans (126 hectares) of arable land. In Moguf, area local authorities estimate that about 35% of land was affected by floods.

Read the full update in English and Arabic.

NHRMO: Civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile continue to suffer attacks

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(4 August 2019) This report covers the period April to June 2019. While the country has been in ongoing turmoil, including the toppling of long-time ruler Omar Al-Bashir on 11 April, attacks against civilians have continued to take place. Most of the human rights violations reported in this update took place in Delami County, Nuba Mountains. Significantly, almost all the attacks were perpetrated by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) rather than by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) or the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), the SAF-allied militias who had previously been more visible in perpetrating such attacks in the Two Areas. Civilians in the two areas have not noticed any meaningful change following the toppling of Al-Bashir and the struggle for power between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and civilian opposition forces. Although the number of attacks still have not reached the level prior to the sharp diminution that began in June 2016, there were more human rights violations incidents perpetrated by the Sudan government in the Two Areas during the first six months of 2019, compared to the prior two years. Similarly, as a result, there were more people injured and killed during the first six months of 2019 than during the last six months of 2018.

Read the full report.

ACJPS: North Kordofan: Urgent call to investigate the killing of six peaceful protesters including 3 minors in El Obeid

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(2 August 2019)  The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) calls on the international community to urgently investigate the killing of six peaceful protesters that occurred on 29 July 2019 in El Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan, Sudan. The international community, including the United Nations Human Rights Council should urgently set up an independent and impartial commission to ensure an immediate and effective investigation into the full scale of the killing, identify those responsible, and recommend ways to hold them accountable.  On 29 August 2019, more than 500 high school students across El-Obeid participated in a peaceful protest denouncing the shortage of fuel and bread in the state which has caused a hike in costs of public transport from 2 to 3 Sudanese Pounds per passenger and long queues in front of bakeries.  The peaceful protest started at about 7:30 a.m in Kerima market after hundreds of students found themselves stranded at the bus station as many were unable to afford the new bus fares. The students gathered in the market and started chanting, “no transport, no bread” as they peacefully marched along the streets of El Obeid. According to a reliable source, the government-backed Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) started firing gun shots in the air as protesters approached the Sudanese French Bank. The student protesters ignored the gun shots and continued with their peaceful march. A few minutes later, the RSF indiscriminately fired live ammunition at the students killing five people instantly, including three minors. Another male adult was shot when he tried moving closer to talk to the RSF. ACJPS was informed that after the gun shots, some members of the Sudanese Armed Forces joined in to whip the student protesters with sticks, lashes, wood and iron bars.  The ACJPS has obtained the following details of the deceased:  

  • Ahmed Abdul Whab (m), 15 years old, a student at Abdul Hussein Jafar high school.
  • Hassan Saad (m), 17 years old, student at Al-Obied Industrial high school 
  • Mohamed Al-Fatih (m), 17 years old, a student at Ismail Alwali high school 
  • Badur Eldien Abdulla Ismail (m), 23 years, a student at Heath Academic 
  • Ahmed Abdul Karein (m), 40 years old 
  • Younies Adam Younies Malla (m), 45 years old, he was shot while asking RSF forces to stop shooting at the crowd. He was a businessman in El-Obied 

Reports indicate that at least sixty-two people suffered injuries from the gunshot wounds, teargas and whipping. Most of the injured were taken to different hospitals in El Obeid including Health Insurance hospital, Primary Hospital, Extra Care hospital and Alawia Yassin Hospital whilst four were transferred to Khartoum for medical care.   On 30 July, the Chairperson of the Transitionary Military Council (TMC), Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan condemned the killing in El Obeid and ordered the Governor of North Kordofan, Al-Sadiq Al-Tayeb Abdalla to establish a committee to investigate the incident. Mr Al-Sadiq Al-Tayeb Abdalla has issued a decree declaring a night time curfew in the state from 9 pm to 6 am. Local authorities have also issued a decision suspending classes at all schools in the state until further notice.  The massacre in El Obeid has stirred anger and protests across Sudan. On 30 July 2019, thousands of students took to the streets in Khartoum, and cities across the country demanding for justice for students killed and injured. The Sudanese Professional Association has also called on Sudanese to take to the streets to denounce the El Obeid massacre and demand that perpetrators be brought to justice.   On 2 August 2019, the TMC stated nine members of the RSF have been arrested and dismissed from service following their actual or suspected participation in the massacre and that the office of the prosecutor general will be considering charges against them. We urge that all perpetrators should be held to account, including the commanders.  The enjoyment of freedom to peaceful assembly, association and expression by Sudanese citizens is very crucial for the transition into a new regime and a civilian government. We urge Sudanese authorities to respect these rights which are guaranteed in the Constitution and International treaties ratified by Sudan. ACJPS also reiterates its calls to the Transitional Military Council to;

  • Respect citizen’s legitimate demands for democracy
  • Offer free treatment and rehabilitation for all those injured by security forces during protests since December 2018.  
  • Remove all militias, including the Rapid Support forces and child soldiers from towns of Sudan.   

SIHA: The Courageous Women of Sudan Continue to Stand Alone against the Scourge of Sexual Violence

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(23 July 2019) Hundreds of Sudanese women across the country from Kordufan to Gadarif, and Port Sudan in Eastern Sudan and Atbra and greater Khartoum came out in hundreds to protest the high prevalence of sexual violence and acts of rape that took place against women, men and children during the brutal mass crime that was committed against peaceful civilians during the Khartoum massacre on June 3rd 2019.

The Sudan Doctors’ Committee documented 70 cases of rape. Additionally, more cases of sexual violence and sexual harassment that took place in the aftermath of the massacre continue to be documented by women’s rights and civil society organizations. To date, female students and workers, women traders and street vendors continue to report incidents of aggressive sexual harassment including grabbing and use of demeaning sexist and insulting language on the streets of Khartoum and other cities of Sudan by the RSF and Bashir /militant Islamists regime soldiers.

The sustained sexual harassment/ violence and intimidation of women as they walk the streets of Greater Khartoum on their way to work, schools or the market, can be understood as a response to, and direct attack on, the key role women have played throughout the protests that have been ongoing since December last year. The intimidation directed at women is clearly an attempt to reverse the gains they made in the occupation of public space despite the discriminatory laws and policies imposed by Bashir’s regime.

On June 30th, millions of Sudanese across the country from all walks of life came out to further assert their demands for a civilian and democratic government. There were thousands of women protesters. However, once again they were met with extreme violence from the RSF and former Bashir forces who fired live ammunition, killing at least 15 people and injuring many more across the country.

Women, girls and children report that they feel threatened to walk home from work or school because of the consistent harassment and grabbing by soldiers. Men who have attempted to aid some of the women themselves have also been subject to beating and have been shot at with live bullets, leading to death or serious injuries.

Despite the “broad” declaration, Sudan’s civilians and women continue to live under direct threats of the armed militia, whilst the rule of law and legal institutions continue to be paralyzed and sidelined.

  • SIHA therefore asserts that Sudan is in the midst of a political crisis and the declaration /agreement needs to spell out clearly how it will be represented by, and be accountable to marginalized groups and women. 
  • The yet to be established Joint Sovereign Council and Cabinet of Ministers must be responsible for ending hostilities, enforcing rule of law, and ensuring accountability and justice representing the legitimate demands of Sudanese men and women.
  • Sudan Freedom and Change forces and the upcoming civilian government must acknowledge sexual violence as a crime, and address accountability and justice for sexual violence survivors and those who were killed. Sudanese women stress the urgent need for an independent investigation, where the Sudanese people should play an instrumental role.

AN OPEN LETTER OF PUBLIC CONCERN FROM AFRICAN AND SUDANESE CIVIL SOCIETY

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RE: The Militarization of Public Space in Rural and Urban Areas in Sudan and the Corresponding Increase in Cases of Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment and Intimidation in the Aftermath of the Khartoum Massacre

(8 July 2019) We, the undersigned are a coalition of Sudanese and African civil society organizations working in and concerned with Sudan, which is supported, collectively, by hundreds of thousands of people across Sudan and Africa. This initiative came together with the shared goal of bringing to light the ongoing violations against the Sudanese people, with a particular focus on the targeting and intimidation of women and girls.

We acknowledge the agreement reached on Thursday 4th July 2019 between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Freedom and Change Alliance (FCCA), and we encourage the mediators to continue supporting Sudan in the establishment of a civilian and democratic state that meets the expectations and recognizes the sacrifices of Sudanese people.

The people of Sudan have witnessed three decades of fundamental transformation of civil space. The Sudanese government’s failure to engage peacefully with its citizens has led to the escalation of civil wars. By and large, the response to increasing insecurity and uprising in the outlying regions of the country has been a heavy reliance on the militarization of civilians, transforming these regions into battlefields.

Over time, the militarization of civil spaces has slowly become the norm. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) is an extension of the Janjaweed militia that was used by the Bashir regime to terrorize civilians in Sudan’s western regions of Darfur and Kordofan. Eventually, these forces were brought to Khartoum by Bashir to protect the regime’s interest and maintain their hold on power. The use of these militias that represent the violent state and their ever-present position in civil space is a violation of human rights and rule of law and preys on the vulnerabilities of civilians, particularly women.

As the Revolution in Sudan has gradually gained traction in the media and on the global scape, the signatories of this Letter of Concern view it as imperative to bring to the fore the manner in which sexual violence and sexual harassment are being used as a deliberate strategy to destroy the solidarity of the people of Sudan, with a particular aim to break the involvement of women in the current popular Revolution and transition. This goal can be illustrated in the statement by the leader of the RSF/Janjaweed militia who said, “After this – (referring to June Khartoum Massacre), “all women should go back home”.    

During the Khartoum Massacre on 3 June, the Sudan Doctors’ Committee documented 70 cases of rape, and cases of sexual violence and sexual harassment in the aftermath of the Massacre continue to be documented by women’s rights and civil society organizations.

To date, female students and workers, women traders and street vendors continue to report incidents of aggressive sexual harassment including grabbing and the use of demeaning sexist and insulting language on the streets of Khartoum and other towns and cities of Sudan by the RSF/Janjaweed soldiers.

The sustained sexual harassment and intimidation of women as they walk the streets of Greater Khartoum on their way to work, schools or the market, can be understood as a response to and a direct attack on the key role women have played throughout the protests that have been ongoing since December last year. The intimidation directed at women is clearly an attempt to reverse the gains they made in the occupation of public space despite the discriminatory laws and policies imposed by Bashir’s regime.

A statement by the Women’s Cooperatives Union of Food and Beverage Vendors in Khartoum attested to more than five thousand female vendors being victimized by the actions of the military and Janjaweed forces that actively perpetrated abuse and sexual violence, as well as theft and deliberate property damage against women vendors. The damages caused have had significant influence on the economic livelihood of the women vendors as their business apparatus was destroyed strategically as means of economic dis-empowerment.

Many women, female and male children report that they feel threatened to walk home from work or school because of the consistent harassment and grabbing by the soldiers. Men who have attempted to aid some of the women themselves have also been subject to beating and have been shot at with live bullets, leading to death or serious injuries – as happened to a young man along Gumhureya Street on 18 June when he tried to defend some women who were being grabbed aggressively by the RSF/Janjaweed soldiers, but was instead shot at and badly injured. Other reports following the Khartoum Massacre stated that the RSF/Janjaweed soldiers forcefully entered university female student hostels and a number of the female students were raped.

Despite the agreement that was reached last week, the presence of the RSF/Janjaweed militia is still very conspicuous. There are large numbers combing the city’s streets throughout the day. It is clear that these forces have neither been withdrawn nor returned to their camps. In another incident that occurred over the past weekend in Khartoum, a woman working at the Apple Café, in Khartoum II area was raped by RSF/Janjaweed soldiers. Reports have been received from the rural and urban centers around the country, specifically Darfur and Blue Nile that civil spaces are highly militarized and civilians continue to be terrorized. To date, well over 150 deaths have been recorded and almost as many rape cases have been documented, amounting to crimes against humanity.

Despite the ongoing attacks against civilians, on 30 June millions of Sudanese across the country from all walks of life came out to further assert their demands for a civilian and democratic government with thousands of women protesters. Yet again, they were met with extreme violence from the RSF/Janjaweed and former Bashir forces who fired live ammunition, killing at least 15 people and injuring many more across the country.

Sudan is in the midst of a political crisis, the 4 July agreement needs to spell out clearly how it will be represented by and be accountable to marginalized groups and women.  The yet to be established Joint Sovereign Council will be responsible for ending hostilities, enforcing rule of law, and ensuring accountability and justice representing the legitimate demands of Sudanese men and women.

Amidst rising recognition by the African and international community of Sudan’s plight at this very pivotal time, the following recommendations should be considered:

  • The African Union and international community must categorically address the high level of militarization of civil spaces in Sudan and the strong presence of armed militia.
  • The AU and international community must pressure the upcoming Sudanese government and support Sudan in establishing rule of law institutions and abiding by regional and international mechanisms that would address and challenge sexual violence and sexual harassment as crimes;
  • The African Union and the United Nations must establish mechanisms to address the extensive recruitment of child soldiers into Sudan’s paramilitary RSF/Janjaweed immediately considering their violations of regional and international child rights’ mechanisms and the serious ramifications on the country’s peace and stability;
  • The Sudanese authorities must acknowledge sexual violence as a crime, and address accountability and justice for sexual violence survivors and those who were killed;
  • There are hundreds of victims and eyewitnesses to the Khartoum Massacre and the aftermath. We stress the urgent need for an independent investigation, where Sudanese should play an instrumental role. This committee should consist of Sudanese activists and advocates who have documented the cases and are informed of the local context including credible Sudan-based lawyers, civil society, and African male and female expertise. This committee needs to be formed immediately and the collection of the testimonies of survivors and witnesses should be prioritized;

Copy to:

  • The IGAD led by H.E. Abiy Ahmed Ali The Prime Minster of Ethiopia
  • Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat
  • African Union Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security H.E  Bineta Diop
  • The Minister of State for Africa – United Kingdom, H.E. Harriett Baldwin
  • The United States Special Envoy to Sudan, Ambassador Donald Booth
  • United Nations Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Pramila Patten
  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet
  • Members of the United Nations Security Council

Sudan crisis: accountability is a key ingredient for moving forward

(21 June 2019) Khartoum, Kampala, The Hague, New York Following the presentation of the 29th report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), FIDH, ACJPS and SHRM call on members of the UNSC, and the international community as a whole, to recognise the importance of accountability in resolving the current and past crisis in Sudan, including in the Darfur region, and to take concrete steps to bring all those allegedly responsible for atrocities committed in Sudan to justice. Particularly, the Council must take action to support the ICC’s mandate, including by addressing states’ non-cooperation with the Court and to execute the pending arrest warrants.

Read the full statement at http://www.acjps.org/sudan-crisis-accountability-is-a-key-ingredient-for-moving-forward/