Today, 19 September 2022, marks one year in detention for two young Chinese human rights defenders: Huang Xueqin, an independent journalist and key actor in China’s #MeToo movement, and Wang Jianbing, a labour rights advocate. China must respect and protect their rights in detention.
Mariam Tirab, a 20 year old woman from Sudan was sentenced to death by stoning on 27 June 2022. She was found guilty by a judge in Kosty, in the White Nile state for violating Article 146(2) on adultery. The young woman was arrested in 2021, when a police officer interrogated her without informing her that her confession will be used against her in court. She has been tried without access to legal representation and was not informed about the charges and the penalty of the crime of adultery (Zina) in Sudanese laws. She was denied her constitutional and legal rights under the Sudanese laws.
Article 146 of the Sudanese criminal law is built on the Sharia laws, where married women charged with adultery are sentenced to death by stoning, while unmarried women are punished by 100 lashes. Despite the legal reforms of 2020, wherein the transitional government banned corporal punishments, the Sharia laws related to adultery remain unchanged.
Mariam Tirab was sentenced, despite not being granted access to proper legal aid or provided with basic information about her rights. Her confession was obtained by police through illegal procedures.
The legal procedures and the justice system is failing women in Sudan, denying many access to the basic right to a fair trial. A group of lawyers and women’s rights organisations has started an appeal of the case to a higher court.
In the last 10 years, Sudan has witnessed several cases similar to Mariam’s where the sentences were overturned on appeal. Under the current military regime, the justice system in Sudan is at its worst, as unfair and politicised trials have become the norm. The lack of a civilian government in the country for almost a year is increasing challenges for local women human rights defenders, and human rights groups are exerting pressure on the military regime to reform the justice system.
Since the 25 October 2021 military coup, systemic violence against women has increased across the country. The return of fundamental Islamic leaders to the political scene in support of the military has led to an increase in the oppression of women’s rights. The police force under the Public Order Laws was recreated under a new name – “social police”, which is considered a major setback for women’s rights in Sudan. Women and girls are constantly being scrutinised for what they wear and how they appear in public. University officials have imposed dress codes and prevented some female students from entering the gates without a scarf. The former regime imposed the hijab in Sudan for three decades prior to the revolution in 2018. Within one year of the military coup, women in Sudan are living under the same oppressive system once again. The military leaders are closing public spaces and using repressive laws to crush the resistance movement led by women.
A visit to Mariam Tirab in prison was prevented by a judge recently. She is detained in Kosty city of the White Nile state under inhumane prison conditions. Women’s rights and human rights groups started a campaign and organised protests calling for her release and for legal reforms that respect women’s rights.
We, the undersigned groups and individuals, call on the Sudanese authorities to:
- Overturn the sentence against Mariam Tirab and grant her the right to a fair trial and access to lawyers and visits while in detention.
- Abide by and respect their obligations to international laws as a State party to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).
We call on relevant UN Special Procedures, mandate holders and the OHCHR to take action to urge Sudanese authorities to overturn this sentence, end violations of the international human rights law, and respect the State obligations to protect women and human rights.
AWID ( Association of Women in Development)
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Global Fund for Women
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Women Living Under Muslim Laws
Canadian Federation of University Women
Collectif genevois de la Grève féministe
Nora organization for compacting violence against women’s and girls
Sudanese Women Rights Action
Urgent Action Fund-Africa
İnsan Hakları Derneği (İHD)/Human Rights Association
Hafidha Chekir, FIDH/Tunis
Taha Metwally/ANKH Association
Arefe Elyasi /Open Stadiums
Nedal Alsalman /BCHR
Razan Nour/ Innovation for Change Middle East and North Africa
Sawsan Salim/ KMEWO
Rajaa ahlafi /Adala association for the right to a fair trial
Onaheed Ahmed /Sudanese Front For Change
Nizam Assaf/Amman Center for Human Rights Studies
Ahmed Mefreh/Committee for Justice
Cecilie Olivia Buchhave/KVINFO
Connie Carøe Christiansen/KVINFO
Vanessa Mendoza cortés/ Associació Stop violències Andorra
Sama Aweidah/Women’s Studies Centre
Meriam Mastour/Les Foulards Violets
Marieme helie lucas/ Secularism Is A Women’s issue (siawi.org)
Mémoire et citoyenneté
Hagir Omer, Madania
Sally Armstrong/ Journalist
Yussef Robinson/ SDfHR
Abramovich Fabienne/Collectif féministe
Stéphanie Friedli/Collectif genevois de la Grève féministe
Aude Spang/Collectif genevois de la Grève féministe / Syndicat Unia
Francoise Nyffeler / Collectif de la Greve Feministe
One year after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the UN independent experts have affirmed the calls of Afghan civil society that “it is time to rapidly step up efforts to ensure accountability for violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law. Impunity will only lead to further violations and deterioration of the human rights situation in the country.”
Joint statement calling for the release of Salma al-Shehab