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Sudan: End violence against women protesters and ensure accountability

ISHR joins civil society organisations in calling on Sudan to end the attacks against Sudanese women protestors and WHRDs following the military coup.

During protests on 31 March 2022 , two women protesters were arrested in Omdurman and taken to Omdurman women prison, according to lawyers in Sudan. 

Fatima Altayeb and Yasmin Mohamed Bashir, students in Alahfad University were reported missing by their families, according to lawyers in Sudan. Later on, they were found in Omdurman women prison. Their families and lawyers were not allowed to meet them. 

On 24 March 2022 in Port Sudan in eastern Sudan, two protesters were arrested and released on bail. The protesters reported beating and harassment by police officers during their arrest. 

Najat Babikir is a 19 year old student who lost her eye due to a severe injury by the internationally- forbidden shotguns during protests in Bahry on 21 March 2022. She was shot in her eye and lost her sight immediately. Another young woman lost her sight on the same day during protests in Madani. 

During the protests on 6 April 2022 in Port Sudan, two women leaving the protest were forced down from the car by members of the joint forces and they were beaten. According to eyewitnesses, the officers attacked the girls and attempted to sexually assault them. The attackers ripped off the clothes of the two young women. The driver fought back, and he was beaten and was hospitalized later. 

Sulima Ishaq, the head of the Violence against Women Unit in the Ministry of Social Affairs was summoned on 7 April 2022 by the Prosecutor for crimes against the State. She was interrogated about her statements regarding the rape of of women protesters in relation to the statement of the head of the UNITAMS in front of the UN Security Council last month. Ishaq was held for interrogation on charges under article 47 of the Sudanese criminal law of 1991 (procedures of juveniles) for a few hours and she was released on bail, according to the emergency lawyers group. Women groups and WHRDs working in documentation of sexual violence and SGBV crimes committed after the military coup are facing threats and intimidation. 

Women protesters, journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders are facing increasing attacks since the military coup of 25 October 2021. The emergency law, especially order number 3 /2022, is used to arrest and prosecute women activists. Civic space for women rights’ groups is shrinking, while violence against women is increasing across the country. Tribal conflicts in Darfur led to the death of over 100 people in the last week. Hundreds of families were displaced, mostly women and children. 

Since the 25 October 2021 coup, over 93 protesters were killed, at least 3000 were injured and over 2500 individuals were arrested. On 24 December, Lieutenant General Al-Burhan issued an emergency order (No. 3/2021) granting regular security forces, including the Sudanese Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces, the police and the General Intelligence Service, new sweeping powers enabling them to arrest and search individuals and buildings, regulate movements of people and confiscate goods and property. The emergency order also granted immunity to regular forces against any proceedings.” (UNITAMS report March 2022). This new emergency order ended hopes for justice and accountability for the crimes of the security forces since 25 October 2021. 

We, the undersigned organisations, call on the government of the 25 October coup to stop its crimes against WHRDs and women protestors and in particular to:

  1. Immediately release Fatima Altayeb and Yasmin Mohamed Bashir
  2. Ensure an immediate international and independent investigation into the crimes committed by Sudanese security forces causing injuries and permanent damage to women protestors and WHRDs
  3. Ensure accountability for the crimes of sexual violence committed by security forces
  4. Immediate end the targeting of all WHRDs and women protestors including Sulima Ishaq

In addition, our organisations call on the OHCHR, the Expert on Sudan Mr. Adama Dieng and all relevant Special Procedures to take urgent action to condemn these crimes against women protesters and WHRDs, and call for accountability for these violations.

Signatories:

  1. Sudanese Women Rights Action
  2. Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in MENA
  3. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

 

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