STOP DEPORTATIONS TO SUDAN
Two Sudanese men currently detained in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre in London have been on hunger strike for 37 days in protest against their indefinite detention, and are determined to continue until they are released. Visitors and human rights activists supporting their cases are extremely concerned for their health.
Tarik Adam Rhama and Ali Abdullah Ahmed began their strike on 22 May
in Campsfield IRC (Kidlington, nr. Oxford) but have since been moved
to Harmondsworth. Tarik reports that he was subject to torture while
imprisoned in Sudan, while a medical examination could not show
conclusively that Ali is over 18. Both should therefore fall under
UKBA’s category of “persons considered unsuitable for detention.”
Their state of health and the fact that neither of their removals is
imminent argue further for their release.
Both men are non-Arab Darfuris and are therefore classed by current
case law as being at risk of persecution should they be returned to
Darfur; Tarik was arrested in 2008 in Khartoum and believes he would
be killed if he were to be returned to Sudan. His father is from the
Tunjur tribe and his mother is from the Nuba mountains, a region whose
inhabitants are currently the target of considerable persecution at
the hands of the Sudanese government; upon his arrival in Dover in
March 2012, he was immediately detained, then moved to Campsfield,
where he began his strike after being in detention without indication
of when he might be released for over two months.
There are further complaints relating to inhumane treatment and lack
of medical care in detention; an independent doctor’s report described
observations of Ali’s vital signs taken by the detention centre during
his strike as “sporadic.” At one point, staff at Harmondsworth ignored
Tarik's request for a lower bed when he complained that after 30 days
of only water he was too weak to climb up to the top bunk bed he was
allocated. He is not receiving regular attention from a doctor, but
only from a nurse, despite extreme stomach pain and stabbing pains in
his chest, as well as back pain from a pre-existing condition. He
cannot walk without difficulty or speak loudly. He is not kept
informed of what will happen to him.
Access to legal advice with appropriate translation has also been very
infrequent. At over thirty days into his hunger strike, although legal
appointments had been conducted with translators present, they had
been Algerian or Iraqi rather than speakers of Sudanese Arabic.
Campaigners have vowed to continue calling for both men’s release;
demonstrators in London on 30th June participating in one of a number
of protests around the world against Sudan’s NCP regime on its 23rd
anniversary, will also be encouraged to contact the Home Office in
support of the hunger strikers’ pleas.
All other Sudanese men who maintained the hunger strike started on 22
May have now been released. The latest to be released was Mohamed
Suliman Tagal, who was released last week after the Home Office were
no longer able to claim that his removal was imminent. Many of the
same factors applicable in Mohamed's case are also present in Tarik
and Ali's cases. Campaigners say this is a further demonstration of
the arbitrary nature of immigration detention and UK Border Agency
Information regarding hunger strikes:
05/08/13 - UK Gov's human rights and democracy report on Sudan
The UK Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's report on human rights and democracy in Sudan (from here) >>>
"The human rights situation in Sudan deteriorated significantly between April and June 2013."
Latest update: 30 June 2013
The human rights situation in Sudan deteriorated significantly between April and June 2013 largely due to escalating conflict and insecurity.
Fighting between the government of Sudan and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) intensified with a major attack by the SRF at the end of April on the towns of Umm Rawaba in North Kordofan and Abu Karshola in South Kordofan. According to OCHA figures, 63,000 people were displaced in this fighting. There are reports from local human rights groups that SRF soldiers looted the towns and killed an unknown number of civilians. In June, SRF forces shelled the state capital of Kadugli on a number of occasions hitting a UN compound and killing a UN peacekeeper and also hitting a local football stadium that was hosting a regional tournament. FCO Minister Simmonds made a statement condemning the attack.
Meanwhile, Sudan Armed Forces continued their campaign of aerial bombardment in South Kordofan and Blue Nile with credible reports that civilian settlements were affected. Human rights groups have also reported that the government of Sudan continues to detain without charge civilians suspected to be members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North in the government-held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
OCHA now assess that the number of those affected or displaced by conflict in the two borderstates may be as high as 907,000 in South Kordofan and 158,000 in Blue Nile, although it is impossible to verify these figures without independent access to the areas. OCHA also report that there are now 223,000 Sudanese refugees in South Sudan and Ethiopia who fled the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
In Abyei, on May 4, the Paramount Chief of Dinka Ngok, Kuol Deng Majok, and a United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) peacekeeper were killed when armed men attacked their convoy in the area of Baloom. FCO Minister Simmonds issued a statement expressing deep concern and urging restraint on all sides.
In Darfur, worsening insecurity led to massive displacements with OCHA estimating that there have been over 300,000 new IDPs since the beginning of the year, including 27,000 refugees who fled to Chad and 3,500 who have fled to the Central African Republic. This was driven by a number of factors, including inter-communal fighting over resources and clashes between government and armed movement forces, particularly in parts of Northern, Southern and Central Darfur. Access to people affected by conflict in Darfur remains constrained due to the government of Sudan’s new Directives for Humanitarian Work issued in March, under which access by international humanitarian organisations and their staff to conflict areas is fully restricted.
There were no real improvements on political and civil rights in this reporting period. On 1 April, President Bashir made a positive speech calling for national dialogue with all opposition forces and ordering the release of some political detainees. But there has been no further progress on implementation of this new approach. Furthermore, Vice-President Taha issued a directive to lift pre-publication censorship on newspapers. However, since his directive, security services have temporarily suspended at least three newspapers due to their reporting.
A further concerning development was the case of three men sentenced to amputations of the hand for theft in a court in El Fasher, North Darfur, in June. The sentences have not yet been carried out. Human rights organisations also report that in June, a female student was fined for wearing trousers by a public order court in Khartoum.
Religious freedoms have come under threat with evidence of a trend towards religious intolerance. Since September 2012, at least 215 foreign Christians have been expelled from Sudan with some having their assets in-country confiscated by security services. There are also many examples of Sudanese and South Sudanese Christians being harassed and sometimes detained by security services and some church premises closed down or demolished. FCO officials have raised strong concerns about this trend with senior interlocutors in the government of Sudan.
The UN Independent Expert on Human Rights in Sudan, Professor Mashood Baderin, visited the country from 16th – 19th June. The government of Sudan offered cooperation during his visit and he travelled to the state capitals in South Darfur and Blue Nile and to parts of North Kordofan. British Embassy officials met the Independent Expert during his visit to feed in views ahead of his report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2013.
Sudan’s authorities target Sudanese activists in Cairo, Amnesty International warns
(From Sudanese Online)
Amnesty International confirmed that the repression still pursuing Sudanese activists who took refuge in Egypt for security, pointing out that those activists who fled persecution and dangerous climate in Sudan during recent years to Cairo hoping to complete their work safely from abroad still facing harassment and attacks despite the border.
In statement issued late Saturday, the Organization said that it had documented a number of cases for Sudanese activist living in Cairo who faced death threats, surveillance by unidentified men and physical assaults, including rape and attempted murder, pointing out that a number of activists claimed that the Sudanese Embassy and Sudanese security services agents in Cairo target and frighten them.
Amnesty International said it had documented how pressure and harassment exercised by authorities in the field of development, peace and human rights increasing in Sudan, indicating that many of those who changed their activity to Egypt live in fear amid continuing harassment and death threats.
Amnesty International's Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, said that ''if the Sudanese authorities are behind those attacks, this raises several serious questions about whether the Egyptian authorities are aware of these processes on its territory” demanding Egyptian authorities quickly investigate the situation and ensure that Sudanese authorities clients such operations that threaten human rights in Egypt.
Sudanese journalist tortured and dumped at roadside
(From Doha Centre For Media Freedom - article here. Video at the bottom of this update.)
A Sudanese freelance journalist was found by her family after suffering torture at the hands of the intelligence forces
A Sudanese freelance journalist who went missing on October 29 was found on the roadside of Khartoum on Friday.
Somaya Ibrahim Ismail Hundosa was held captive by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and was physically and emotionally tortured in detention. In an interview with GIRIFNA, her family explained that Hundosa was subjected to "torture and beating with whips and hands." She was also subjected to "verbal racist slurs directed at her and her tribe," and her head was totally shaved.
Hundosa lives in Egypt and was visiting Sudan during the Eid holidays. Her articles were published in local Sudanese publications and independent dailies such as Al-Watan and Al-Sahafa. Hundosa was accused by the NISS of writing articles against the regime and her Facebook account was also hacked several times before the abduction.
Hundosa was captured from an unknown location near her home in Khartoum. Her sister received a call later that day informing her about Hundosa’s abduction. Later, her family received an SMS stating that Hundosa was being held by NISS agents. However, NISS did not publicly confirm or deny the action.
Journalists for Human Rights urged the government to immediately investigate these, "horrendous violations, hold accountable responsible officials and stop security agents from bullying."
Hundosa’s case highlights the plight of journalists in Sudan. In July, Doha Centre for Media published a report highlighting the detention and torture of many activists and journalists as widespread protests swept the nation. According to DCMF, in 2011 more than 20 newspapers were closed or suspended, at least 10 journalists were detained and tortured, and up to 12 reporters and other media contributors received court summons or were subject to judicial investigations.
See also video below (in Arabic) --
A demonstration took place in London this weekend protesting against the Sudanese government. Many different groups took to the streets in solidarity with thousands in Sudan that have been protesting against the Sudanese regime.
ARTICLE IN THE SOCIALIST WORKER
STATEMENT ON SUDAN
The UKBA continues in its attempts to return Sudanese nationals to Sudan, where they face torture and persecution by state officials. Many Sudanese in the UK, coming from all parts of the country, are actively seeking to remove President Al-Bashir and see him account for his actions before the International Criminal Court. The activities of these people – demonstrations, rallies, meetings, etc. – are being monitored by Sudanese state officials, which will surely increase the risk of torture and ill-treatment if they are returned to Sudan.
We call upon the UKBA to stop returning people who have suffered torture and other inhuman treatments at the hands of Sudanese officials and to recognise the danger faced by all Sudanese activists of further and increased persecution if returned to Sudan.
We also call upon all Sudanese in the UK to continue to develop their activism while in the UK and to co-ordinate their efforts in linking regional groups to form a coherent opposition to Al-Bashir and the current Sudanese government. We recognise and support the calls for Al-Bashir to account for his actions before the ICC in The Hague, but warn that this should not be the only course of action, nor viewed as the only hope for change in Sudan. The ICC is at a crossroads, increasing its numbers of arrest warrants and suspects being tried at this time of financial cuts and reluctance from Member States to increase their funding. This process is also time-consuming and reliant upon the governments of other countries arresting Al-Bashir and transferring him to the ICC if he visits any Member countries of the Court (which he has done previously through visiting Kenya and Jordan). The ICC is not a magic fix for Sudan and it should not be relied upon. It is the people of Sudan who, together, embody the potential to overthrow Al-Bashir and forge a future that is fit for their people.