Country Profile

In May 2017, Aristide Nononsi, the UN-mandated independent expert on the human rights situation in Sudan, raised concern over the lack of democratic reforms as an obstacle to ensuring the protection and promotion of human rights across the country. In a statement published on 22 May, Nononsi drew attention to the continued restrictions on civic space, and in particular, to the plight of a number of high-profile Sudanese activists.[1]

[1]    United Nations Human Rights – Office of the High Commissioner, “Sudan / Human rights: UN expert calls on the Government to adopt urgent democratic reform,” 22 May 2017,, Accessed 3 October 2017.

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Freedom of Association

The tenth annual Sudan Freedom of Association and Expression report, issued in July 2017 by the Confederation of Sudanese Civil Society Organisations, detailed 15 instances where freedom of association had been obstructed. Office closures, arbitrary arrests, interrogations, and spurious prosecutions accounted for 73% of the total violations reported. Other categories included the use of laws (13%) and extra-judicial harassment (14%), including threats, surveillance, physical or sexual assaults as well as destruction of property.[1]

On 29 August 2017, HRDs Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, Hafiz Idris, Tasneem Taha Zaki, Abdel-mukhles Yousef Ali, Abdelhakim Noor, and Mubarak Adam Abdullah were issued presidential pardons. All six had been charged with criminal offensives as a result of their human rights activities.[2] Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, a prominent rights defender, along with nine other defenders, was detained for more than eight months. He was charged with two other Darfuri human rights defenders with “undermining the constitutional system” and “waging war against the state,” both of which carry either the death penalty or life imprisonment. The charges, dropped in August, are believed linked to allegations that the men helped in the production of Amnesty International’s 2016 report on the use of chemical weapons in Jebel Marra. At least two of the detained men were severely beaten, and another forced to confess under torture.[3]

Freedom of Expression

Between 17-19 June 2017, Akhar Lahza newspaper was confiscated due to an opinion article written by Abdukkah Al-Sheik that offered advice to the President. On 10 July the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) confiscated printed copies of Alzawia and Alzaim sport newspapers after warning newspapers not to publish news of the Sudan Football Association’s suspension following government interference in its internal administration. Similarly, on the morning of 13 July, the NISS prevented the distribution of printed copies of Algareeda newspaper without explanation or prior notice.[4]

On 10 July 2017, Amel Habani, a journalist with Al Tagheer online newspaper, was found guilty of threatening and insulting a public servant, and sentenced to a fine of 10,000 Sudanese Pounds ($1,500 US) or face imprisonment for four months. Habani declined to pay the fine and was released when the Sudanese Journalist Network campaigned to raise funds and paid the fine instead.[5]

On 12 July 2017, Izzeldien Dahab, a journalist with Algareeda newspaper, was summoned and interrogated by the Press and Publications Prosecutor of Khartoum in connection with an article he published 10 April regarding corruption in the Ministry of Finance in South Darfur. He was charged under Article 17 (defamation) of Sudanese Cybercrime Act (2007).[6]

Freedom of Assembly

At least five people were killed and 29 others sustained gunshot wounds when Sudanese security forces opened fire on a crowd of protestors at the Kalma camp for internally displaced persons in Nyala, South Darfur on 22 September 2017, shortly before a planned visit by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir.[7]

[1]    Confederation of Sudanese Civil Society Organisations, “Sudan Freedom of Association and Expression,” July 2017,, Accessed 3 October 2017.

[2]    Frontline Defenders, “Presidential pardon issued for six HRDs,” 30 August 2017,, Accessed 3 October 2017.

[3]    African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, “22 NGOs call for strong, action-oriented resolution on Sudan at UN Human Rights Council,” 21 September 2017,, Accessed 19 October 2017.

[4]       African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, “Crackdown on Media Freedoms: May-July 2017,” 14 August 2017, , Accessed 20 September 2017.

[5]       African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, “Crackdown on Media Freedoms: May-July 2017,” 14 August 2017, , Accessed 20 September 2017.

[6]       African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, “Crackdown on Media Freedoms: May-July 2017,” 14 August 2017, , Accessed 20 September 2017.

[7] African Centre of Justice and Peace Studies, “Deadly force used to disperse protest against Sudanese President at Darfur IDP camp”, 28 September 2017,, accessed 19 October 2017.

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