The Sudan Democracy First Group mourns the loss of Osman Hummaida, a towering figure of the human rights movement in Sudan, and a tireless campaigner for democracy and peace in the country. Osman passed away peacefully in a Johannesburg hospital on Thursday 17 April following health complications, with family and friends surrounding him.
Following his arrest and the ill-treatment and torture he was subjected to in the early 1990s for his human rights activism, Osman joined the London-based Sudanese Organization Against Torture (SOAT) in 1997. He worked with SOAT until 2007, eventually becoming its director, and turning SOAT into one of Sudan’s leading human rights monitoring and advocacy groups. Under his leadership, SOAT extended valuable support to the Khartoum and Amal Centers, which provided counseling and medical support to torture victims in Sudan. Osman also campaigned for justice for the victims of the mass atrocities that took place in Darfur starting in 2003, leading to his arrest in 2008 during a visit to Sudan. He was again subjected to torture and degrading treatment.
Prevented from defending the rights of the Sudanese within country, Osman founded the Kampala based African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) in 2009, once again making of it five years later a leading human rights monitoring and advocacy group. Through ACJPS, Osman provided extensive capacity building opportunities and expert guidance to a younger generation of Sudanese rights advocates.
The many tributes pouring in from across the world on this sad occasion bear witness to Osman’s regional and international stature as an African rights defender and advocate. For the many who knew Osman, the real challenge will remain to turn our sense of loss and sadness at his passing into creative energies, as he taught us to do, by contributing to the strengthening of the human rights movement he dedicated his life to build.
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