June 25, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese authorities this week ordered the closure of a women rights centre in Khartoum without any explanation, said a statement by the Confederation of Sudanese Civil Society Organisations (CSCSO) on Wednesday.
“On 24 June 2014 the director of Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre, Ms Fahima Hashim, was presented with a decree signed and stamped by the Sudanese ministry of justice, issuing an order for the cancellation of the registration licence of the company and its immediate liquidation,” said the statement
The justice ministry also appointed a five-person committee to oversee the Salmmah centre’s dissolution process, but its decision did not explain the reason behind the closure.
The group was established in 1997 by a number of women’s rights activists as a non-profit civil society organisation to support women’s organisations and women’s issues, with special devotion to the combat of violence against women and to the acquisition of human rights.
It was registered as a non-profit company in accordance with the Sudanese Companies Act.
“Whilst the decision to revoke the licence of the company may be within the law and jurisdiction of the ministry of justice, nonetheless, the execution of the order has not followed the due legal process and procedures,” the statement added.
The CSCSO further condemned the government’s decision to close the centre, saying it comes as “a continuation of an undeclared policy, which seeks to harass and obstruct the work of (independent) civil society organisations”.
Civil society groups also underlined that the crackdown comes at a time when the government is calling to hold a national dialogue in the country and issued decisions to ensure a conducive environment for this comprehensive process which also includes rights groups.
In December 2012, Sudanese authorities closed three civil society groups: Sudanese Studies Centre (SSC), Al-Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development (KACE), the Organisation for Human Rights and Development (ARRY). The Cultural Forum for Literary Criticism, a literary forum, was also closed.
Weeks before the closure of these groups, government officials had accused the organisations of being linked to the opposition and working to topple the regime.
Last March, Sudan’s security service banned for the first time a celebration of Women’s Day organised by the Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre and other groups.