Joint Press Release on the Arrest and Detention of Women Human Rights Defenders in Sudan


    The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Special Rapporteurs) are closely monitoring the situation of women human rights defenders in Sudan.

    The Special Rapporteurs are deeply concerned by the persecution, arrest and arbitrary detention of women human rights defenders in Sudan following the peaceful demonstrations conducted on 13 July 2012 in Khartoum, Sudan, against the violence, including sexual violence, perpetrated against female students by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) during their recent demonstrations.

    The Special Rapporteurs are further concerned by the fact that five of the women arrested are now being held at unknown locations. The situation is even more alarming given that agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of Sudan resort to the use of force by throwing tear gas into houses in the Wad Nubawi area in order to arrest more demonstrators.

    The Special Rapporteurs consider these acts to be a serious violation of the right to dignity and physical integrity, and freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful demonstration. They consider that these acts are solely aimed at muzzling human rights defenders combating impunity for violence against women in Sudan.

    The Special Rapporteurs strongly condemn these acts of intimidation, arrest, arbitrary detention and inhuman and degrading treatment carried out against women human rights defenders.

    The Special Rapporteurs urge the Sudanese authorities to take all necessary measures for the immediate and unconditional release of the arbitrarily arrested demonstrators, to put an end to impunity and ensure that all the perpetrators of acts of violence are brought to justice. 

    The Special Rapporteurs further urge the Sudanese authorities to take the necessary measures to stop all acts of harassment and intimidation carried out against human rights defenders working in Sudan and to ensure their effective protection.

    The Special Rapporteurs urge the Government of Sudan to respect and guarantee the right to dignity and physical integrity, and the right to freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, and peaceful demonstration of the population in general and women in particular.

    The Special Rapporteurs remind the Government of its commitments to protect human rights defenders as stipulated in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Kigali Declaration, the Grand Bay Declaration and other international human rights instruments ratified by Sudan.

    Lastly, the Special Rapporteurs call upon the Sudanese Government to sign and ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.

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