Home | Comment & Analysis    Saturday 4 February 2017

Silencing Dissent – the War on Human Rights in Sudan

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

By Andrew Anderson

The recent decision by President Obama to lift sanctions on Sudan might give cause for hope that the human rights situation in the country might finally be moving in a positive direction.

Sadly, the reality is that the situation is going in the opposite direction and the government of Sudan is currently waging a campaign of violence and intimidation to silence the last voices of dissent. The ongoing violence by government forces, pro-government militia groups and anti-government armed groups forms the backdrop to continued harassment, arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions and torture of human rights defenders (HRDs) by Sudanese military and security forces.

In November the government arrested 23 opposition activists, 10 of whom are currently on trial, following a three day stay at home strike organised to protest at the rising cost of living and the cutting of government food subsidies. The government’s immediate response was uncompromising confrontation. Speaking to supporters at an event in the east of the country, President Bashir said “We want to tell them that if you want to overthrow the regime, then face us directly on the streets. I challenge you to come out onto the streets. But we know you will not come because you know what happened in the past… This regime will not be overthrown by keyboards and WhatsApp.”. In 2013 more than 200 people were killed when the army and police cracked down on protests against a previous round of subsidy cuts.

Meanwhile the government has shut down independent media and has repeatedly seized the print runs of newspapers prior to distribution. In this way the newspapers have to incur the printing costs while being unable to sell any of the papers. It is yet another way to silence independent or critical voices.

One of those voices is that of Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam. Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim is one of the most distinguished human rights defenders in Sudan known for his role in exposing human rights violations in Darfur. He is the founder and former director of the Sudan Social Development Organization (SUDO), which works on human rights as well as water, sanitation and health.

Dr Mudawi is a man who has devoted his life to trying to pull Sudan out of the chaos of war and conflict and to building a peaceful prosperous Sudan. He wrote “I think we have no choice. If we want to live a decent life in our own country we have to continue working with the people, struggling with them. We need the support of the international community. We need to feel that there are people behind us. It is a moral support. It is not tangible but it has a deep meaning in the heart. It has something, even when you close your eyes you see people who you haven’t seen, you imagine their shapes, but they are holding your hand continually”.

But now it is Mudawi himself who needs this support.

On 7 December 2016, Mudawi Ibrahim Adam and his long-time driver Mr Adam El-Sheikh were arrested on the University of Khartoum campus and forcibly transferred to an unknown location. On 12 December, Ms Nora Abaid, an accountant from Mudawi Ibrahim Adam’s engineering company, Lambda Engineering, was arrested by NISS agents who approached her in an unmarked car. They all continue to be detained incommunicado. Under the 2010 National Security Act (NSA), detainees can be held in custody for up to four and a half months without judicial review.

On 22 January 2017, Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam started a hunger strike, in protest of his arbitrary detention since 7 December by the Sudanese authorities. Reports received today describe how members of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) badly beat him and chained him to the wall of his cell. It seems this is an attempt to force him to end his hunger strike. Mudawi has been tortured before. He has now been detained on at least five occasions by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) since 2003. He has been threatened and he has been subjected to prosecution on fabricated charges. And yet he has refused to flee his beloved country. He has continued to work peacefully for an end to conflict and respect and rights for all in Sudan.

The government of the United States and other providers of significant development aid must send a clear message to the government of Sudan that the lifting of sanctions is not an unconditional act of benevolence. The government of Sudan must honour its commitments to improve the human rights situation. A starting point would be the release of Dr Mudawi and all those jailed for using their right to peaceful protest.

Andrew Anderson is Executive Director Front Front Line Defenders – the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, based in Dublin, Ireland



The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


National dialogue building nation 2017-05-22 21:10:41 By Amb. Dhano Obongo Initially, I congratulate and commend H.E the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, for recognising the need for a national dialogue among 64 (...)

The raging just revolution in Darfur will continue burning until victory 2017-05-22 21:04:22 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman Author Mahmoud Yusuf says that we live in a historical stage full of serious events that will affect the future of mankind on this planet, including what is related to (...)

South Sudan: How culture of revenge inhibits development and progress 2017-05-13 08:09:39 By Steve Paterno Admittedly, revenge or the act of it is inherently human in nature. The human beings since biblical times could not dissuade from the proverbial practice of an 'eye for an eye.' (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


HRW denounces "collective punishment" in South Sudan’s Wau 2017-04-15 07:06:48 Human Right Watch South Sudan: New Spate of Ethnic Killings Urgent Need for Justice; UN Should Increase Patrols in Wau (Nairobi, April 14, 2017) – Government soldiers and allied militias (...)

Statement by South Sudanese Communist Party on the National Dialoguel 2017-03-22 05:44:42 The Communist Party of South Sudan On the Initiative of the National Dialogue The initiative taken by the President of the Republic of South Sudan declaring a need for a national dialogue is an (...)

An Appeal to President of the Republic of South Sudan 2017-03-15 07:22:45 Dear. Mr. President, I write to appeal to you for the release of political detainees now in the custody of the National Security Service at Jebel and other detention facilities. In doing this, I (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2017 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.