Freedom House Calls for End to Repression of Popular Protests in Sudan
On Sunday, June 17, Sudanese police violently retaliated against peaceful protests that began in the female dorms at the University of Khartoum and had spread to the entire university campus by Saturday. Freedom House calls upon the Sudanese government to immediately end the violent actions of its police forces and to allow Sudanese citizens to protest according to their rights as enshrined in the Sudanese constitution.
The students were protesting the severe rise in food and fuel prices after the government decided to end subsidization of key commodities as a result of the economic crisis currently plaguing Sudan. The armed police officers attacked and beat students inside the campus, traditionally a hotbed for activism and free speech. Today, protests spread to several neighborhoods of the capital and other major cities throughout the country. According to activists, the recent protests are meant to coincide with the 23rd anniversary of the current military government’s takeover of power from the peacefully elected government of Sudan, on June 30, 1989.
Sudan, ruled by a military-backed regime that brought President Omar al-Bashir to power in 1989, is considered by Freedom House to be one of the world's worst human rights abusers. President Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for his involvement in the Darfur conflict. Since South Sudan achieved independence in July 2011, Sudan's ruling National Congress Party has brutally cracked down on peaceful protests throughout the country and continued to fight rebels in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states in an effort to maintain its grip on power. The recent border conflict with South Sudan has intensified the government's crackdown on opposition voices throughout the country.