Home | News    Sunday 19 October 2014

Al-Mahdi calls for UN pressure to secure release of female Darfurian students

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October 18, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) has urged the UN’s new human rights chief to exert pressure on Khartoum to release the female Darfurian students arrested more than a week ago by Sudanese security authorities.

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The leader of Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi (Photo: Reuters)

Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi has sent a letter to the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of Jordan, explaining attendant circumstances of the forcible eviction of Darfur female students from the University of Khartoum.

On 5 October, security agents stormed the Zahra dormitory complex and forcibly evicted about 70 female students from the building and arrested 18 students.

Fifteen students are still being held without charge in Omdurman prison and have been denied access to legal representation and their families.

Authorities said they asked the female students to vacate the ramshackle residence in September in order to conduct routine maintenance works, but that students had refused to leave despite being offered alternative accommodation.

In his letter, al-Mahdi said that students were forcibly evicted from the dormitory complex on the second day of Eid al-Adha holiday, pointing that a force comprised of 100 personnel from various regular forces stormed the building.

He noted that evicted females students said they were verbally and physically assaulted, stressing that 22 students were detained besides several unidentified others who have been taken to unknown locations.

The NUP leader added the released students said they were being harassed and photographed in scandalous positions in order to blackmail them.

He demanded the human rights high commissioner to put pressure on the Sudanese government for the immediate release of the detained female students and to allow them to stay in the dorms.

“If there is a real need to evacuate the students’ barracks, it must be conducted voluntarily and after providing a permanent and suitable accommodation for the female students particularly those who are from Darfur”, he said.

On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Sudanese authorities to investigate abuses, including sexual assaults, committed against Darfur female students, demanding release of students who are still in custody or brining them to trial.

Al-Mahdi called for forming an open and independent commission of inquiry to investigate the unjustified violence committed against students in Gazira University in 2012, and University of Khartoum students in 2014 besides the recent incident.

He demanded accountability for those responsible for these abuses and compensating the victims morally and materially, calling for enactment of deterrent penalties against acts resulting from racism.

Four students of Gazira University were murdered in December 2012 after their arrest by security agent on the ground of exemption from tuition fees.

Last March, Ali Abakar, a third year student of economics at the University of Khartoum, was shot dead when security forces and the police entered the campus, using tear gas and live bullets to disperse a demonstration organised by Darfur students.

The NUP leader underscored the need to implement government pledges set forth in the Abuja and Doha peace agreements particularly those relating to students in higher education institutions.

He pointed that most of the evicted students came from IDPs camps in Darfur and have no families or relatives to sponsor them in the capital Khartoum, saying they live under difficult conditions.

“According to the affirmative action principle approved in Abuja and Doha peace agreements, the government has various commitments towards Darfur students”, he added.

Al-Mahdi pointed the government started to disavow its responsibility since 2011, adding that the NSWF made several attempts to evict Darfur students from the dormitory complex in the past but failed due to solidarity of female students.

RIGHTS GROUP SUBMITS PETITION

Meanwhile, the women’s rights group, No to Women’s Oppression, on Thursday has submitted a protest note to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against NISS and NSWF in the eviction incident.

The memo pointed that various regular troops had stormed the dormitory complex and arrested female students without legal grounds, saying they were held in unknown locations.

It added that complainants were exposed to several abuses including sexual harassment, beating, throwing, destruction of property and prevention from accommodation rights.

The memo stressed that these actions violate article (51) of the National Security Act (NSA), calling upon the NHRC to hold an investigation on the incident and determine the legality and legitimacy of the NISS and NSWF actions.

Article 51 of the NCA grants the detained or arrested person the right to be informed of the reason of his or her arrest or detention. It also provides for a right of an arrested or detained person to inform his or her family members.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 19 October 2014 08:48, by South South

    This is the culture of Fake Arabs in Sudan. For Darfurian, you need to fight, fight and fight. They will listen to you in the end like the way we forced to listen to us in South Sudan

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