Sudan: An urgent call to protect internally displaced persons from COVID- 19 threat

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Sudan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic must include everyone, including those forced by internal insecurity to flee their homes.

(20 April 2020) African Center for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) is deeply concerned about the potential impact that COVID-19 could have on the already vulnerable thousands of Sudanese internally displaced persons (IDPs). The Sovereign Council together with armed resistance movements must work together to find solutions to contain the outbreak. We call upon the Sovereign Council and Sudanese armed movements to urgently come up with an agreed action plan designed to protect internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the conflict zones of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan from the spread of COVID-19.

The action plan that provides for equal distribution of health care services across the country must be included in the Sudanese National Emergency Action Plan against COVID -19 under supervision of the Federal Minster of health. The Sovereign Council must also coordinate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure that Darfurian refugees in Eastern Chad and across the Sudanese boarders are also protected from the threat of COVID-19 especially now that countries bordering Sudan have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

It is vital that international support to the government is urgently stepped up to meet the massive needs. This must include funding for measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 and to promote the inclusion of IDPs in national preparedness and responses efforts. UNHCR is already working with the government, sister UN agencies and non-governmental organizations to implement various actions including creating awareness amongst IDPs in camps and informal settlements about hygiene and physical distancing.

Sudan is one country in the African continent that has witnessed armed conflicts for decades since her independence. First there was the civil war between the North and the South (now South Sudan) followed by uprisings in the regions of Darfur, and the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. As a result of these wars, thousands of Sudanese remain displaced and live in neighboring countries or in displaced people’s camps within Sudan. As of July 2019, Sudan had 1.86 million IDPs. Already disadvantaged by their displacement, these IDPs are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 due to living in overcrowded conditions, lack of proper sanitation, inadequate access to clean water and decent healthcare. We therefore call on Sudanese authorities to ensure that IDPs are able to access health facilities and services in a non-discriminatory manner.

Sudanese authorities must also ensure that IDPs are included in national plans to combat COVID-19, including access to reliable information. Without critical information about the coronavirus, IDPs may not only risk spreading the infection, but find themselves in violation of new policies. We further call on authorities to strengthen health care systems in the host communities to ensure that the pandemic does not have disproportionate impacts on certain individuals or groups of people.

ACJPS would also like to call upon the United Nation African Union Peace Mission in Darfur to support the efforts of the Federal Sudanese Minster of Health by surrendering sites that are no longer in use for usage by the health ministry.

We urge all the rebel groups to allow the Ministry of Health to access areas under their control (Darfur regions, Blue Nile and south Kordofan)  so they can provide health services to various communities.

Contact:
Mossaad Mohamed Ali, Executive Director, African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies . (English, Arabic, Swedish): +46727712782

This call to action was first published by the African Centre for Peace Studies

PRESS STATEMENT: Assassination of Musa Jar-Elnabi in Elfaid Um-Abdalla, Sudan

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(21 January 2020) On 14th January 2020, Mr. Musa Jar-Elnabi was shot dead by three masked men in Elfaid UmAbdalla for unknown reason. A case was filed at Rashad police office against anonymous. On 14th January 2020 evening hours, Mr. Musa Jar-Elnabi was driving his motor/ tuktuk back home with his young brother (underage/ child) in Elfaid Um-Abdalla. As he was approaching his home (a few meters to home) he was stopped by three armed and masked persons on motorbike. Immediately after stopping, one of them shot at him three times (bullets) in his chest. The three men ran away with their motorbike after shooting. The dead body was taken by the family members to Rashad town where a postmortem was done and a case was filed/reported at Rashad police office against anonymous. But the child (young brother) expressed that he can recognize the attackers.

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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).

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30 civil society organisation call for urgent UN Security Council action to prevent further bloodshed in Sudan

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(11 June 2019) The undersigned, 30 civil society organisations from around the world, are writing to you at a critical time, the fate of the Sudanese people hangs in the balance and bold leadership is needed to prevent further violence and support those seeking democratic change in Sudan.  

The situation in Sudan is at a critical juncture. There is an immediate and urgent need for intervention to restore civilian rule in Sudan and to address the demands made by protesters since December 2018. The moment that held so much promise for the brave people of Sudan who exercised their democratic right to clamor for change through peaceful protest now seems to be turning to a more oppressive context.

Read the full letter in English or Arabic.

Killings of Peaceful Sudanese Democracy Protesters Demand Accountability

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(6 June 2019) The attack on peaceful democracy protesters in Khartoum that began on June 3 that has reportedly seen the killing of at least 100 people and hundreds more injured demands a strong international response to immediately stop such attacks and ensure accountability for this and other violence in response to peaceful protests.

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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.

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Civil society calls for strong AU support for civilian transition in Sudan

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(29 April 2019) We, the undersigned Sudanese and African civil society organizations write to urge the African Union to take a strong stand with the people of Sudan, demanding an expeditious transfer of governmental authority from the current Transitional Military Council and setting up comprehensive mediation and support mechanisms that will support a sustainable transition to democratic rule.

Read the full letter here.

Letter to the AU Peace and Security Council

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(29 April 2019) As you are aware, the Sudanese people persistently protested and bravely stood against the former regime until its downfall on 11 April 2019. During the last four months of the Sudanese uprising, one of the key demands of the protesters has been the peaceful and immediate handover of political power to the pro-democracy political forces that led the uprising and the establishment of civilian rule after 30 years of military dictatorship. This demand was clearly articulated by the protestors and the Forces of Freedom and Change which orchestrated the demonstrations from13th December 2018 until today. The Sudanese people consider the transfer of political power from the military to a civilian-led transitional authority as an assurance that their aspirations for freedom, peace and justice will be met.

Read the full letter here.

17 Civil Society Organisations Call for UNSC Action on Sudan Coup

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We, the undersigned Sudanese, African and International civil society organizations write to express our solidarity with the people of Sudan who, over the past several months, have been calling for a peaceful, democratic transition. This effort has been endangered by the 11 April military coup. Although recent statements from the military transitional council are encouraging, the Security Council must not forget that a military regime is still in power and must take action to ensure a speedy transition to civilian authority and to sustain democratic reform. As the Troika of the United States, United Kingdom and Norway said on 14 April, “To date, the legitimate change that the Sudanese people are demanding has not been achieved. It is vital that that the authorities listen to the calls from the Sudanese people.”

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African and Sudanese Civil Society Call for Strong Response to Coup in Sudan

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(12 April 2019) We, the undersigned Sudanese and African civil society organizations write with deep concern about the military takeover in Sudan on 11 April 2019. The Sudanese people’s quest for peace and democratic change has propelled country wide protests since December 2018, which developed on 6 April 2019 into massive protests including a sit-in at the military headquarters in Khartoum which continues to the present moment. Although the people of Sudan have been calling for an end to the regime of President Omar Al Bashir, this is not how they wanted it to happen. Over his 30 year tenure, President Bashir has overseen the waging of several wars that have primarily targeted civilians, severe repression of political opposition and civil society, shrinking of civil society space and the secession of South Sudan. The recent announcement of a military transitional council headed by Awad ibn Auf, the former vice president and minister of defense under Bashir’s regime, however, represents an attempt by the regime to ensure its survival by sacrificing Bashir. Their imposition of a two year transitional period headed by the military, dissolution of the national assembly, suspension of the 2005 Constitution and imposition of a state of emergency and lack of a plan for transition to civilian rule, however, indicate that they do not share the protester’s goal of a peaceful and democratic Sudan. As a result, protestors, including both civic and political forces, have remained in the streets calling for change and a civilian transitional government.

Read the full letter.