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Sudan Democracy First Group condemns wave of arbitrary arrests in Sudan

Sudan Democracy First Group

25 September 2014 - In a desperate attempt to prevent a series of events commemorating the victims of the September 2013 protests, Sudan’s notorious National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) launched a campaign of mass arrests of political and youth activists in the last few days. The number of those detained in the past week has reached over 50 activists, whose whereabouts remain unknown (a list of the detainees is reachable here). Security forces used unprovoked lethal force in suppressing the September 2013 peaceful protests against price increases of essential commodities. Human rights organizations estimated the number of those killed, at least 170, whilst the government continues to maintain that “only” 80 people were killed.

Sudan Democracy First Group is deeply concerned about the safety and wellbeing of these detainees given the NISS’s long history of subjecting political detainees to degrading and inhumane treatment, and physical and psychological torture. We¬¬¬ condemn in the strongest terms the arbitrary arrests conducted by the Sudanese authorities in Khartoum. This vicious attack on political freedoms in these critical times reveals that the government in Khartoum is inherently incapable of accepting or tolerating any degree of basic freedoms. The government relies heavily on security solutions towards any political issues. No doubt, the recent wave of arrests further undermines the fragile process of national dialogue and increases political polarization and instability in the strife-torn country.

Despite the government’s disingenuous call for national dialogue, over the past few month human rights violations in Sudan have significantly increased. The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mashood Baderin, who presented his report to the Human Rights Council today, noted that Sudan has committed many human rights violations in the past months, including: arrests and detentions of political opposition leaders and youth activists; post and pre-publication censorship and regular confiscation of newspapers by security agents; permanent harassment and closure of many civil society organizations without justification; systematic violations of freedom of religion, including closure of churches and apostasy cases; and the continuation of armed conflicts that contribute to the deterioration of the humanitarian and human rights situation in conflict areas.

Meanwhile, the Government of Sudan (GoS) has sent a large delegation to Geneva in its desperate attempt to convince the UN Human Rights Council and the international community to keep the mandate of the Independent Expert’s mandate under agenda item 10, as opposed to agenda item 4, which provides for more significant and appropriate monitoring of the country. The government delegation’s endeavour to paint a rosy and false picture on the condition of human rights in Sudan is undermined by none other than the regime’s own daily massive rights violations.

GoS must immediately stop arbitrary arrests, and release those in detention. The UN Human Rights Council should denounce these continuing violations. The gravity of the situation in Sudan necessitates the appointment of a Special Rapporteur under agenda item 4. The UN Human Rights Council should establish an independent investigation into ongoing human rights violations in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur, and the indiscriminate killing of protestors in September 2013.

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