Press Release: Sudan Protest and the Violation of Basic Human Rights

Wednesday 17th January 2018

On Tuesday 16th of January 2018, hundreds of Sudanese citizens took to the main streets of the center of Khartoum, in response to a call from the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) to march, rally and protest against the approved 2018 National Budget. The approval of the budget resulted in the skyrocketing of prices of almost all basic consumer goods. The peaceful march was planned by the organizers to deliver a petition to the Governor’s Office of the Khartoum State. The SCP has publicly announced the march and formally notified the Khartoum State authorities about its date, time, starting point and route.

Nonetheless, a few minutes after it began, the Police and none uniformed Security Forces, attacked the peaceful marchers using excessive physical force and tear gas, in an attempt to disperse the crowd. The march continued unabated, but the Police and Security Forces’ aggression against marchers and stand-buyers escalated using multiple techniques, including beating, dragging, arresting, pushing, confiscating phones and using verbal abuse.

The actions of the Police and Security Forces against protestors proved once again the disrespect and violations by the Government of Sudan (GoS) to the basic rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association, which are stipulated in the Sudanese laws and its constitution. The call for 16th January march has, by all measures, satisfied and met  the legal and administrative requirements set by the GoS, but still the GoS’s Security and Police Force chose to undermine its own constitution, laws and regulations and as such, the actions of these forces make them liable according to the Sudanese legal framework itself.

Moreover, during and after the march, the security forces launched a spree of arrest and detention of hundreds (106 on Tuesday evening) of marchers and political and civil society activists, before the release of sixty of them in the late evening of the same day. Out of 106 detainees, 46 were taken to a political security detention facility in Khartoum North (Bahri), where they are still under detention. Eyewitnesses reported that some of the detainees, especially those kept at the Bahri facility, were badly treated by security agents, including some being subjected to torture and inhumane treatment.

The opposition alliance of political and civil forces have called for another peaceful protest at Alahlia School Square, in Omdurman on Wednesday the 17th and on Thursday 18th  of January to commensurate the memory of the late Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, who was executed by the late President Nimeri in 1985.

SDFG calls upon the Police and Security Forces to uphold the laws and the constitutional prerogative that safeguard and protect the rights of the Sudanese to the basic freedoms of assembly, association and expression. The breach of these rights by the GoS against its own citizen’s make the government and its security forces liable in front of courts.

Lastly, SDFG calls upon the international community, including governments, international and regional organizations and the human rights organizations and monitors to voice their concern regarding the action of the GoS against its own citizens.