On Thursday 10th of December 2015, Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) issued the below press statement celebrating the anniversary of the International Human Rights Day.
This year Human Rights Day is celebrated under the theme “Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always”
Human Rights Day is held on the day—10th December—when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948. Together with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), these instruments are known as the International Bill of Human Rights.
The celebration of Human Rights Day this year comes at a time in Sudan when the human rights situation has witnessed an appalling deterioration. Violations of rights and freedoms are rampant, a majority of them crimes committed by the state’s apparatus. These violations have been monitored and documented by independent national and international human rights organizations and reveal a grim picture of the human rights situation, including:
•Ongoing grievous violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including forced displacement; aerial bombardment; indiscriminate attacks on civilians; destruction of civilian buildings and areas such as homes, hospitals, markets, and places of worship. Increasing numbers of civilians are fleeing the “hell” created by the government’s offensive military campaigns and have sought safety in refugee and IDP camps.
•Denial of humanitarian access to hundreds of thousands of IDPs and war victims in Darfur, the Blue Nile, and South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains; obstruction of international and national aid organizations; the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) control of all humanitarian operations; the use of food as a tool for political blackmailing to achieve military gains.
•Torture; beatings; degrading treatment; arbitrary detention; forced disappearance; extrajudicial killings; summary executions of prisoners of war; mass rapes; sexual crimes; in particular by state authorities and pro-government militias.
•Deprivation of the Sudanese people’s civil and political rights including: restriction of freedoms of expression, press, assembly; the right to access information, including the right to organize politically and to travel; civil society organizations are banned and closed down; restrictions are also imposed on peaceful activities of political movements and parties, reducing even further the narrow margin of room for civil and political activities, accomplished through intimidation, threats, and political blackmailing.
•Systematic discrimination against religious minorities; restrictions on freedom of religion and beliefs; confiscation and closure of churches; detention of Christians and denial of the right to practice their religious rituals.
•Deliberate targeting of citizens on the basis of their ethnic or regional origins by NISS agents, as well as the propagation by the government of a discourse of hate and discrimination against students from Darfur and the other areas affected by war.
•Increase in poverty rates and the denial of basic economic rights by government bodies: as many as 6 million Sudanese are facing lack of access to food, exacerbated by deterioration in provision of services in other areas such as education, health and the provision of clean water.
•Ongoing and systematic discrimination and oppression of women, including use of acts of sexual violence to humiliate Sudanese women as a conflict tool.
•Impunity of government officials, including the refusal to enforce international and regional resolutions concerning accountability and compensation to victims, war crimes and crime against humanity.
On the occasion of the anniversary of the International Human Rights Days, SDFG would like to call upon all Sudanese civil and political actors to continue their peaceful resistance in order to gain their rights. Human rights principles cannot be compromised: the Sudanese people need to work together towards the promotion and protection of human rights.
SDGF would also like to take this opportunity to call upon the international and regional community, especially the bodies concerned with human rights, to refrain from sanctioning compromise on the issue of human rights in return for perceived but ultimately shortsighted political interests. The international and regional community, and its human rights bodies, must act in a way that shows victims of atrocities in Sudan that they are listening to their suffering and are standing beside them, not beside their oppressors.
In celebrating the anniversary of the International Human rights Day, SDFG reiterates its commitment to support efforts to assert basic freedoms in Sudan and the abrogation of laws that undermine such freedoms. SDFG stands firmly behind calls for the lifting of the government restrictions on humanitarian access to the war zones, as well efforts to bring justice to the victims of war and oppression and to achieve a just peace and democratic change in Sudan.