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Sudan Government Must Cease Killings and Unlawful Arrests of Civilians
Sudan must end a violent government crackdown that has resulted in the deaths of more than 100 protesters, including children, and the arbitrary arrest of several hundred individuals. Freedom House is increasingly concerned by reports of violence and calls on the government of Sudan to immediately stop the killing and unlawful arrest of civilians, and to respect the rights of the Sudanese people to life, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, and freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the Sudanese town of Wad Madani, south of Khartoum, last week to protest the government’s austerity measures, which have caused a sharp increase in gas prices, sparking anger and frustration among the Sudanese people. Protests quickly spread, and the government responded with brutal violence, using live ammunition on marching protesters and detaining several activists whose whereabouts remain unknown.
Recent reports from within Sudan indicate an alarming rise in the level of violence being used against protesters by government security forces. Information from hospitals and morgues that victims are coming in with gunshot wounds to the head and upper torso seems to confirm the government’s application of an indiscriminate and excessive “shoot to kill” policy against protestors. Rights groups report that the majority of persons killed are young people between the ages of 15 and 25, but children as young as 10 to 12 have also been shot by security forces.
Arbitrary arrests are also increasing, with reports of security services arresting political opposition and civil society leaders in their homes and detaining them in National Intelligence and Security Services' (NISS) facilities. Meanwhile, the government has intensified its efforts to restrict the flow of information outside of the country, shutting down three newspapers, banning journalists from taking photos of the protests, and ordering reporters to refer to protesters as ‘saboteurs.’ In response, journalists have called for a general strike, while several newspapers have voluntarily stopped printing in order to avoid pressure from the government. The ongoing repression of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Sudan resulted in the country being ranked “Not Free” in Freedom in the World 2013 and Freedom of the Press 2013.
Freedom in the World 2013: Sudan
Freedom of the Press 2013: Sudan
Press Release: Arbitrary Arrests and Use of Force against Demonstrators in Sudan Alarming
Press Release: Sudan Needs Closer Scrutiny by UN Human Rights Council
Blog: Sudan’s Desperate Crackdown on Human Rights Activists