The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, Commissioner Reine-Alapini Gansou, expresses grave concern about reports of restrictions on freedom of expression and association, thereby affecting the work of human rights defenders in Sudan.
The Special Rapporteur is particularly concerned about the closure of the Office of the Salmmah Women’s Center in Khartoum. Indeed, it is reported that on 24 June 2014, the Minister of Justice is said to have cancelled the registration of the organization as a result of the work of the human rights defender, Madam Fahima Hashim.
The Special Rapporteur has been informed by reliable sources that without providing any sufficient explanation and a reasonable timeline for the organization to respond to the accusations levelled against it, the doors of the organization are said to have been closed, manu militari, on 24 June 2014, by persons who refused to declare their identities following a letter dated the same day. At the same time, these persons are said to have seized some documents and other working materials of the staff. The Special Rapporteur also notes that this action is occurring following the participation of Madam Fahima Hashim in the Global Summit for an End to Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones held in London from 10-13 June 2014.
The Special Rapporteur would like to remind the Sudanese authorities about their obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as their commitments under the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Kigali Declaration and the Grand Bay Declaration.
The Special Rapporteur urges the Sudanese authorities to ensure that human rights defenders carry out their work freely without any fear for their physical and moral integrity.
The Special Rapporteur calls on the Sudanese authorities for the annulment of its decision for the dissolution of the Salmmah Women’s Center Organization and that all the confiscated documents and materials belonging to the said organization should be returned to the leadership of the Center.
The Special Rapporteur also seizes this opportunity to request the Government to take all necessary measures to avoid any action intended to prevent the women’s rights defenders and particularly the human rights defender, Madam Fahima Hashim from enjoying her fundamental freedoms and carrying out her work in a secure environment.
Done in Banjul, 30 June 2014
Commissioner, Special Rapporteur, Me Reine Alapini-Gansou