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Sudan freezes bank account of Khartoum human rights center

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Khartoum Center for Human Rights and Environmental Development

Freezing of the bank account of the Khartoum Center for Human Rights and Environmental Development

February 25, 2009 — In further violation of human rights and in line with the policy of undermining civil society organizations’ in Sudan, the Government of Sudan, through the "Humanitarian Aid Commission – Khartoum State", has opened a new front in its campaign and has frozen the bank account of the Khartoum Center for Human Rights and Environmental Development (KCHRED) on February 19th, 2009.

This measure is the first step in the implementation of threats made previously by the Sudanese authorities indicating that should an arrest warrant be issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Omer Bashir comprehensive barriers to the fulfillment of the rights and liberties provided for in the Interim Constitution of 2005 and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement would be imposed.

The implication was that such measures would include widespread targeting of Sudanese civil society organizations and activists involved in the field of human rights.

This action also comes in the context of attempts to hinder the activities of, and defame, defenders of free expression and free press by publishing accusations of receiving money from, and being directed by, foreign sources. Previous attempts to defame staff members of KCHRED came in the form of newspaper articles making such serious accusations.

Freezing the bank account of KCHRED is aimed at halting the Center’s activities and ultimately securing its permanent closure by claiming that the Center has failed to fulfill its obligations. In mid-February, 2009, KCHRED was subjected to a number of sudden raids carried out without prior notice or any consideration for the sanctity of the organisation. Officials from both the Federal and Khartoum State Commissions forced their way onto the premises of KCHRED, assaulted staff members and forced them to undergo long interrogations about the organisation’s activities, sources of funding and the nature of its work. Staff members were not spared from detention and frequent summoning by the security services. In an incident which received global publicity the President of the Center along with two human rights activists were detained, interrogated and tortured on the grounds of allegations that they had collaborated with the ICC. This was preceded by a campaign of summoning and interrogation by the security organs against KCHRED staff members.

We therefore express our total rejection of these unconstitutional and arbitrary acts which target human rights activists and defenders of free expression and free press.

We affirm our continued resistance to all forms of repression against human rights defenders and call upon the Sudanese government to cease its aggression and campaign against human rights organisations.

We urge human rights organisations and all Sudanese civil society institutions to confront this aggressive campaign in all its forms, and to call on the Sudanese government to fulfill its constitutional and international obligations regarding the protection of human rights defenders.

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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