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Human rights in Sudan

Human rights in Sudan

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Some human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 organizations have documented a variety of abuses and atrocities carried out by the Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

ese government over the past several years. The 2009 Human Rights Report by the United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 noted serious concerns over human rights violations by the government and militia groups.

Abuses in conflict settings


Conflicts between the government and rebel groups—the civil war involving north-south tensions, the Darfur conflict
Darfur conflict
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

 involving Arab-tribespeople tensions in the Darfur
Darfur
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...

 region in the west—have resulted in rape, torture, killings, and massive population displacements (estimated at over 2 million in 2007), earning Sudan comparison to Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 in the press. There have also been several reported cases of crucifixions carried out in Sudan.

According to the Christian Science Monitor on March 25, 2004:
The Darfur region war boils down to this: African tribes have long been at odds with Arab groups in the region over access to good land. Then, last year, two armed African groups began a rebellion against the Khartoum regime. The government responded by apparently giving military support to Arab militias. There are reports of Sudanese military planes bombing villages, after which Arab militias go in and rape and kill survivors.

Ethnic cleansing


The conflict has been described by Mukesh Kapila, UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 coordinator for Sudan, as ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

, as Black Arab
Afro-Arab
Afro-Arab refers to people of mixed Black African and genealogical Arab ancestral heritage and/or linguistically and culturally Arabized Black Africans...

 militias carry out systematic massacres of tribespeople in the Darfur region. According to Kapila, "The government has a close knowledge of what's going on - and can influence the Arab militia." The UN estimates that 10,000 civilians in the Darfur region have died thus far, and over 100,000 have fled into neighboring Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

.

Slavery


Some organizations, in particular Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Christian Solidarity Worldwide is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all. Its current president is Jonathan Aitken, having taken over from Baroness Cox in 2006...

 and related organizations, argue that Enslavement
Slavery in Sudan
Slavery in Sudan began in ancient times, and has continued to the present day. During the Arab slave trade, many Black-Sudanese were purchased as slaves and brought for work in the Middle East....

 exists in Sudan and is encouraged by the Sudanese government. As an example of such allegations, in The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

on December 12, 2001, Michael Rubin said:
...[O]n Oct. 4, Sudanese Vice President Ali Uthman Taha declared, "The jihad is our way and we will not abandon it and will keep its banner high." ...Between Oct. 23-26, Sudanese government troops attacked villages near the southern town of Aweil, killing 93 men and enslaving 85 women and children. Then, on Nov. 2, the Sudanese military attacked villages near the town of Nyamlell, carrying off another 113 women and children. A Kenyan aide worker was also abducted, and has not been seen since.

What's Sudanese slavery like? One 11-year-old Christian boy told me about his first days in captivity: "I was told to be a Muslim several times, and I refused, which is why they cut off my finger." Twelve-year-old Alokor Ngor Deng was taken as a slave in 1993. She has not seen her mother since the slave raiders sold the two to different masters. Thirteen-year-old Akon was seized by Sudanese military while in her village five years ago. She was gang-raped by six government soldiers, and witnessed seven executions before being sold to a Sudanese Arab.

Many freed slaves bore signs of beatings, burnings and other tortures. More than three-quarters of formerly enslaved women and girls reported rapes.

While nongovernmental organizations argue over how to end slavery, few deny the existence of the practice. ...[E]stimates of the number of blacks now enslaved in Sudan vary from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands (not counting those sold as forced labor in Libya)...


On the other hand, fraud in the name of 'slave redemption' has been documented before, as mentioned in the Independent on February 24, 2002. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article204708.ece

Child soldiers


According to Rory Mungoven, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers is a UK-based non-governmental organization that was formed to prevent the recruitment and exploitation of children in warfare and to ensure their reintegration into larger society by means of research, advocacy, and capacity building...

, Sudan has one of the worst child soldier problems in the world. There are more than 17,000 child soldiers fighting on the government side or for rebel forces even after 25,000 former child soldiers had been demobilized from rebel groups in Southern Sudan in 2001. They carry AK-47s and M-16s on the front lines of combat, while serving as human mine detectors, participating in suicide missions, and acting as spies. Many are abducted or recruited by force, and often compelled to follow orders under the threat of death. Others join armed groups out of desperation or after being subjected to lies and brainwash. Many children are promised that they are going to attend school, which are actually military training facilities disguised as school. The facilities, despite being under the direction of the United Nations and international organizations, are where children were brainwashed to become ruthless killers. Improvements in technology have provided weapons which weigh less, cost less, and can be assembled, loaded, and fired by an illiterate child, adding additional appeal to child soldiers.

Prisoner abuse


Several hundred adults and children were imprisoned after members of the Justice and Equality Movement
Justice and Equality Movement
The Justice and Equality Movement is a rebel group involved in the Darfur conflict of Sudan, led by Khalil Ibrahim. Along with other rebel groups, such as the Sudan Liberation Movement , they are fighting against the Sudanese Government, including the government's proxy militia, the Janjaweed...

 attacked Khartoum in May 2008, a disproportionate number from the Darfur region. Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 criticised the Sudanese government for refusing to provide any information on their whereabouts. Evidence of widespread torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 and abuse was found on released prisoners and was gathered in numerous interviews recorded by Human Rights Watch.

Persecution of human rights defenders


In the period from 2003 to 2011, Mudawi Ibrahim Adam
Mudawi Ibrahim Adam
Mudawi Ibrahim Adam is a Sudanese human rights activist and engineer known for his role in exposing human rights violations in Darfur...

 was repeatedly arrested for charges related to his human rights work with the group Sudan Social Development Organization
Sudan Social Development Organization
The Sudan Social Development Organization, better known by the acronym SUDO, is a Sudanese non-profit organisation working in Sudan, with offices located around the country, aiding civilians affected by conflicts and internally displaced persons...

. These arrests were protested by groups including Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

, Front Line
Front Line (NGO)
Front Line or The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders is an Irish-based human rights organisation founded in Dublin, Ireland in 2001 to protect human rights defenders at risk, i.e...

, and Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

, the latter of whom named him a "prisoner of conscience
Prisoner of conscience
Prisoner of conscience is a term defined in Peter Benenson's 1961 article "The Forgotten Prisoners" often used by the human rights group Amnesty International. It can refer to anyone imprisoned because of their race, religion, or political views...

."

On 5 March 2009, the same day that President Omar al-Bashir
Omar al-Bashir
Lieutenant General Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir is the current President of Sudan and the head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier in the Sudanese army, led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister...

 was indited by the ICC, the Sudanese government ordered the closure of SUDO, and its offices were taken over by state security forces. The New York Times reported that the letter closing the offices "came from the Humanitarian Affairs Commission, which is run by Ahmed Haroun
Ahmed Haroun
Ahmed Mohammed Haroun is one of three Sudanese men wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur...

, one of the people facing an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

 for mass slaughter in Darfur." The Sudanese government simultaneously expelled "the International Rescue Committee
International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee is a leading nonsectarian, nongovernmental international relief and development organization based in the United States, with operations in over 40 countries...

, Oxfam UK, CARE, Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a global aid agency engaged in transitional environments that have experienced some sort of shock: natural disaster, economic collapse, or conflict. People working for it move as quickly as possible from bringing in food and supplies to enabling people to rebuild their economy with...

 and the Dutch section of Doctors Without Borders. Mudawi and SUDO appealed their closure in court, winning the appeal in April 2010. However, according to a 2011 SUDO press release, the organization remains effectively closed: "in Sudan you can win a case but nothing changes. SUDO’s offices remained locked, its assets remained frozen, and the organization in Sudan was not allowed to resume operations."

See also


  • 1998 Sudan famine
    1998 Sudan famine
    The famine in Sudan in 1998 was a humanitarian disaster caused mainly by human rights abuses, as well as drought and the failure of the international community to react to the famine risk with adequate speed. The worst affected area was Bahr El Ghazal in southwestern Sudan...

  • LGBT rights in Sudan
    LGBT rights in Sudan
    Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in Sudan face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Sudan, and the topic of homosexuality is taboo....

  • Aegis Students
    Aegis Students
    Aegis Students, a subsidiary of Aegis Trust, is an international student-based genocide prevention movement, committed to educating, campaigning and fundraising to end genocide and mass atrocities....

    , an international student-based genocide prevention movement, focused on Sudan.
  • Aegis Trust
    Aegis Trust
    Aegis Trust, founded in 2000, is the leading British NGO which campaigns to prevent genocide worldwide. Based at the United Kingdom’s Holocaust Centre, which opened in 1995, the Aegis Trust coordinates the UK Genocide Prevention All-Party Parliamentary Group , funds the Genocide Prevention Group ...


External links