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Travel ban on opposition leaders shows human rights crisis in Sudan: al-Digair

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January 15, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Chairman of Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) Omer al-Digair Sunday said the travel ban against him and other opponents confirms the government determination to maintain its repressive policy, and reflects the continuation of human rights crisis in the country.

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SCoP leader Omer al-Digair (ST Photo)

Sudanese authorities on Saturday morning prevented a number of opposition leaders from travelling to Paris, among them al-Digair, Kamal Ismail of the National Alliance Party and Yahia Hussein of the Sudanese Ba’ath Party. In the evening of the same day, faced the same fate a three-member delegation from the National Umma Party (NUP) including deputy chairman Mohamed Abdalla al-Doma, deputy chairman Merriam al-Mahdi and secretary general Sarah Nougdallah.

In statements to Sudan Tribune on Sunday, the SCoP leader condemned the travel ban imposed on the opposition leaders, pointing that the lack of freedoms will only exacerbate the political crisis in Sudan.

"The travel ban shows the continuing human rights and political crisis in the country . Also, it expresses the absence of freedom of speech and the regime’s determination to keep alive tyrannic approach which would only exacerbate the comprehensive crisis".

"The current actions of the Sudanese government leaves no other choice than to unite the ranks of the opposition in order to emerge from the quagmire of the crisis, to create a better reality and to put the country on the path of progress and development, all together," he added.

The Sudan Call forces, a coalition of the political and armed groups, are part of a process for peace and democratic transition in Sudan mediated by the African Union. However; the political operation is stalled and the government preferred to move with its reforms saying they can join it when they want, refusing to concede to their demands.

The opposition, on the other hand, applauded calls by activists for civil disobedience in November and December of last year and decided to back them.

Al-Digair, his deputy and the former SCoP chairman had been arrested and were accused of being behind the peaceful protests. The ruling party and the security service used to describe the opposition groups allied with the armed opposition as the "fifth column" inside the country.

The leader of the left party said they were heading to Paris to participate in the meeting of Sudan Call Leadership Council. According to him, The meeting will discuss the recent political developments in the country and will take the needed decisions on it. Also the participants will discuss organisational issues of the alliance.

The travel ban came 24 hours after a decision by U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday to suspend sanctions against Sudan enabling trade and investment transactions to resume with the east African nation. The move comes in recognition of Sudan’s collaboration to curtail terrorism, and its efforts to improve humanitarian access.

Asked whether Washington would intervene and demands Khartoum to allow them to travel, al-Digair said they would not complain to the American administration.

He further called on the international community to support the legitimate demands of the Sudanese people for peace, freedom and justice and not to limit their relations with Khartoum to the security cooperation.

The opposition leader expressed hopes that the partial lift of American sanctions on Sudan would benefit to the Sudanese people and contribute to alleviate it suffering

"However, based on our knowledge of this regime, this hope remains surrounded by doubts," he said.

He explained that the lifting of sanctions is not "a magic wand to end the deepening economic crisis". Adding, "it may provide opportunities for loans, deposits and grants, but will not address the root of the economic crisis due to the lack of productive sectors".

"The policies of the regime lack to the minimum of planning, strategy, and scientific induction as well as comprehensive vision, " he said.

All the policies of the regime are based on how to ensure they remain in power," he concluded.

The American decision to ease sanctions on Sudan was welcomed by the different opposition leaders due to its harsh impact on the ordinary people.

(ST)

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