Introducing Conducive Environment Watch
This month, SDFG launches a new blog, Conducive Environment Watch. The blog will track the Government of Sudan’s commitments to creating a conducive environment, providing a monthly update on repressions, improvements, and other developments.
In the first issue, we look at events in September 2014.
On 26 September, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) agreed to renew the mandate of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan for a further 12 months under agenda item 10. The UNHRC also announced that Thomas Edward will become the new independent expert. However, the Sudanese Justice Minister Mohamed Bushara Dousa said that Khartoum objected to the appointment of a new independent expert by UNHRC on the grounds that rules and norms dictate that the concerned state must be consulted. Dousa also claimed that UNHRC had withdrawn the appointment of Thomas Edward.
Freedom of Expression and Association
- On 29 September, Al Ahram Al Youm newspaper was confiscated by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) without any justification. Post-printing confiscation of newspapers is a form of financial punishment that has been practiced by NISS for years, as the papers’ owners have to pay for printing without then being able to sell their papers. Al Siha newspaper was suspended indefinitely from publishing in May 2014. NISS consistently imposes heavy pre-print censorship on all newspapers, instructing editors not to publish any article, news item or report covering anti-government protests, critical of the armed forces or corruption.
- In the early morning of 26 September, NISS agents raided the office of the Communist Party in Omdurman. They broke the doors and confiscated documents and computers belonging to party.
- On 25 September, NISS prevented Darfur Bar Association member Mohamed Abdulla Al-Doma from traveling to Nairobi to attend a conference co-organized by Columbia University. Security agents held his passport and ticket and told him that he was banned from international travel. This is the second time that Mr Aldoma, who also serves as the National Umma Party (NUP) deputy, has been banned from traveling abroad. In August 2014, he was prevented from traveling to Paris to attend the signing of the Paris Declaration between the NUP and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).
- On 24 September, NISS confiscated Al Jareeda newspaper, an independent daily publication, and prevented the paper from further distribution without giving them any reason or justification. NISS has suspended Al Jareeda on a number of occasions throughout this year alone.
- On 25 September, NISS arrested the Secretary General of the NUP and three women, after they attended a memorial service organized for Sarah Abdul Baqi, who was killed during the September 2013 protests. Among those arrested: Sarah Nugdallah (NUP), Rabah Al Sadiq Sadiq al-Mahdi (NUP), Najat Bushra (civil society activist) and Elham Malik (SPLM-North).
- In an attempt to prevent a series of events to commemorate the victims of the September 2013 protests, NISS launched a campaign of mass arrests for political activists from 17 to 23 September. The number of those detained in the last week of September has reached over 70. Their whereabouts remains unknown.