Stop de crackdown on peaceful protests in Sudan

Around 40 protesters were shot dead, dozens were injured by live fire used as well as tear gas and rubber bullets in Sudan in one week of demonstrations. The protests started on December 19th, in the northern Sudanese city of Atbara, spread to many other cities and reached to the capital Khartoum. Sudanese government response to these protests has been excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests and detention.

Chants calling for President Omar Al-Bashir to step down reflect people’s voices of frustration for the dire economic and social conditions, social injustices and widespread corruption. The economic reform policies adopted in mid-October, “to provide citizens with a decent life” as announced by the government turned out to be series of austerity measures that resulted in lifting of subsidies on basic goods and services such as bread, fuel and electricity. The price hikes together with the Sudanese pound deterioration made economic conditions worse in the country, in which 46.5 percent of the population is found to fall below the poverty line, and unemployment rate standing around 19.5% and around 5.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

At international forums Sudan acknowledges elimination of poverty, achieving inclusive social protection, improving education and health among measures to achieve sustainable development and its engagement with civil society in these measures, yet on the ground, the situation is the opposite with systematic crackdown, violations on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. As was seen in 2013 and 2016 protests, unlawful use of force, arresting and detaining opposition voices, National Intelligence and Security Service banning press from reporting on protests and demonstrations, blocking access to social media in order to curtail mobilization have been Sudanese authorities’ common practice.
With this joint appeal, we call Sudanese authorities to respect, protect and fulfill people’s rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression in accordance with international human rights treaties, that Sudan is a state party to, principally to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Revision of economic and social policies should be prioritized in order to address inequalities, ensuring redistribution and social justice and aiming at achieving sustainable development for all. Furthermore:

  • Sudanese authorities should immediately stop killing peaceful protesters; halt the use of live fire on protestors, arbitrary detention.  All those arbitrarily detained should be released.
  • The attempt of censorship and information control through social media shut down must stop.
  • Sudanese authorities should conduct immediate and impartial investigations for all cases of killings of protesters to end impunity for perpetrators.

Source: Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND).