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Sudan Muzzles Civil Society, while Claiming Commitment to Human Rights
In the latest of a series of government attacks on civil society groups, the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on February 11 raided the headquarters of El-Shorook Forum, which promotes intercultural dialogue through the arts, and halted its operations. It was the 13th such organization forced closed since 2012. Freedom House condemns the government of Sudan for its repression of civil society organizations, and urges the government to allow them to perform their work, vital to democratic society.
The NISS confiscated the laptop and mobile phone of El-Shorook’s director, as well as books and other personal property. The incursion on the headquarters followed efforts by the NISS to disrupt concerts, theater productions, and reading programs organized by El-Shorook. The headquarters raid occurred despite the organization being legally registered to operate through February 2015.
The raid also occurred the same day Sudan’s Justice Minister pledged to make a greater commitment to human rights and democratic freedoms, during a meeting in Khartoum with the United Nations Human Rights Council Independent Expert on Sudan.
The Sudanese government has escalated its repression of the basic rights of freedom of speech and assembly since public protests in September 2013, when government forces killed more than 200 people in Khartoum and arrested some 800 others, according to the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies. A significant number continue to be held without charge. The NISS has also targeted local newspapers and has banned journalists from reporting on demonstrations and detentions, confiscating newspaper copies before release and terminating news organizations’ operations.
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Blog: Sudan’s Desperate Crackdown on Human Rights Activists