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UN human rights experts denounce internet shutdown in Sudan

United Nations (UN) independent expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan Aristide Nononsi gives a press conference in the capital Khartoum on February 22, 2017. (Photo GettyImages/AFP)
July 8, 2019 (GENEVA) – UN human rights experts have denounced measures taken by the authorities to shut down the Internet in Sudan, as the military council said the measure is crucial to protect the deal reached with the opposition.

After, the bloody attack on the pro-democracy sit-in on 3 June, the military junta shut down the internet fearing to hamper the protest movement in the country following calls for a general strike.

However days after reaching a deal with the Force for Freedom and Change, the internet blackout continues stifling freedom expression in the country without a valid explanation.

The shut down was condemned by three UN experts including Aristide Nononsi, Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Sudan; Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association; David Kaye Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

"In the past few weeks, we have continued to receive reports on Internet blocking of social media platforms by the Transitional Military Council," the three experts said in a joint statement on Monday.

The statement underlined that the internet shut down is a clear violation of international human rights law and cannot be justified under any circumstances.

"We urge the authorities to immediately restore Internet services. The Human Rights Council has unequivocally condemned measures that intentionally prevent or disrupt access to information online, and recommended all States to cease and refrain from such measures," further said the statement.

In a briefing to foreign diplomats in Khartoum on Sunday about the agreement reached with the opposition FFC, military council spokesperson and head of its political committee Shams al-Din Kabbashi explained the continuation of the internet blackout by the protection of the deal.

He said groups opposed to the deal plan to carry out a campaign to distort it. However, the vowed to restore the internet within two or three days.