This page summarizes cases raised with Sudan by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2017 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from Sudan.
Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared.
Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) – the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available).
Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of Sudan, English).
The Special Rapporteur regrets that no reply has been received from the Government of Sudan to the urgent appeal sent during the reporting period. He considers responses to his communications as an important part of the cooperation of Governments with his mandate, and urges the authorities to provide as soon as possible detailed responses to all the concerns raised in his communication.
The Special Rapporteur recommends a thorough and independent investigation regarding any allegations of excessive use of force and of torture and ill treatment, including against women, during peaceful demonstrations; to hold accountable those responsible and to provide full redress to victims.
The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank the Government of Sudan for the replies it transmitted to three of the communications he sent during the reporting period, but he regrets that two communications have remained unanswered. He considers responses to his communications as an important part of the cooperation of Governments with his mandate, and urges the authorities to provide as soon as possible detailed responses to all the concerns raised in his communications.
The Special Rapporteur is gravely concerned about the physical and psychological integrity of individuals exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association in Sudan. He is seriously concerned about reports indicating that on the occasion of demonstrations largely peaceful that have been taken place during the reporting period, law enforcement officials used teargas, rubber bullets and batons to disperse and arrest peaceful protesters; and that several demonstrators were subject to torture while in detention. The Special Rapporteur is particularly disturbed about allegations of deaths during demonstrations. He reminds that the right to life and to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are a non-derogable right in international human rights law, including in the context of assemblies. In this regard, he refers to Article 5 of the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials Adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (1990), which provides that “whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life.” He also underlines that “States Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible. In the event of the death of the victim as a result of an act of torture, his dependants shall be entitled to compensation.” (Article 14 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the Syrian Arab Republic is a State party). He calls upon the authorities to carry out a thorough and independent investigation; to hold accountable those responsible; and to provide full redress to victims. He further calls upon the authorities to release immediately and unconditionally all persons convicted for exercising their legitimate rights and freedoms. He requests the Government to keep him informed about the investigations conducted in relation to the aforementioned cases.
Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur is concerned about the closure of several human rights associations in the country. He notes the reply transmitted by the Governmentof Sudan, but he remainspreoccupied that these measures may be related to the human rights work carried out by theconcerned associations and may be a direct attempt to silence and intimidate independent civil society actors. He urges the authorities to take positive measures to ensure individuals can freely exercise their right to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly and are not subject to, or threaten to be subject to, discrimination, threats or use of violence, harassment, persecution, intimidation or reprisals.
The Special Rapporteur refers to Human Rights Council resolution 21/16, and in particular operative paragraph 1 which “reminds States of their obligation to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely, online as well as offline, including in the context of elections, and including persons espousing minority or dissenting views or beliefs, human rights defenders, trade unionists and others, including migrants, seeking to exercise or to promote these rights”.
The Special Rapporteur would like to thank the Government of Sudan for its response on 22 August 2013 concerning the alleged arbitrary incommunicado detention of peaceful protestor Messrs. Hatim Ali Mohammed and Sharf Eldein Tia. He further requests the authorities to provide him with detailed information concerning the legal grounds for the arrest and detention of Mr. Hatim Ali Mohammed, including the relevant sections of the Criminal Law Act 1991. Moreover, the Special Rapporteur urges the authorities to provide a detailed response to the joint urgent appeal sent on 17 October 2013 without further delay. He considers responses to his communications as an important part of the cooperation of Governments with his mandate
The Special Rapporteur calls upon the Government to put in place an enabling and safe environment allowing individuals to exercise their legitimate freedoms of peaceful assembly and association without undue hindrances. He reiterates the content of the operative paragraph 2 of the Human Rights Council Resolution 24/5 that “[r]eminds States of their obligation to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely, online as well as offline, including in the context of elections, and including persons espousing minority or dissenting views or beliefs, human rights defenders, trade unionists and others, including migrants, seeking to exercise or to promote these rights, and to take all necessary measures to ensure that any restrictions on the free exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are in accordance with their obligations under international human rights law.”
The Special Rapporteur reminds the Government that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights acceded by Sudan on 18 March 1986, guarantees the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
Responses to communications
The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government of the Sudan for its response to the allegations referring to the arbitrary closure of the Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre in June 2014 (SND 4/2014) and the arrest and incommunicado detention of student activist Mr. Mohamed Salah Mohamed Abdelrhman (SDN 3/2014). However, he regrets that the communication sent on 7 May 2014 about the alleged threats against human rights defenders remains unanswered (SDN 1/2014). In this connection, the Special Rapporteur urges the authorities to comply with Human Rights Council resolutions on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association that call on States to respond promptly to his communications, namely resolutions 24/5 (2013), 21/16 (2012) and 15/21 (2010).
Negative obligation of the State to not to unduly interfere with these rights
The Special Rapporteur takes note that the authorities found no records of the existence of a non-profitable association under the name of Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre. Given the severity of the allegations and the fact that the reported arbitrary closure of associations was the subject to a prior communication on 17 January 2013 (SDN 1/2013 and response 15/03/2013), the Special Rapporteur wishes to take this opportunity to remind the Government of the Sudan that the action to suspend or dissolve an association is one of the severest types of restrictions on freedom of association. Therefore, a decision to suspend or dissolve an association should be used only when less restrictive measures would be insufficient and should comply with international human rights law and standards, namely be guided by the principles of proportionality and necessity (A/HRC/20/27, paragraph 75).
Environment in which these rights are exercised
The Special Rapporteur remains concerned by the allegations of harassment and threats against a member of the Human Rights Network for Democracy and his family and trusts the Government will soon respond to the series of questions raised in his communication (SDN 1/2014). Similarly, he expresses concern at the reported arrest and ill-treatment in detention of a student activist who had voiced criticism against the handling of the protests and alleged killing of a protestor in Khartoum in March 2014 (SDN 3/2014). If verified, such actions could have a detrimental effect on other individuals exercising or wishing to exercise this right. The Special Rapporteur recalls the concerns of the Human Rights Committee at allegations indicating that State officials have subjected opponents and perceived opponents of the Government, human rights defenders and other activists to harassment, intimidation, arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture and ill-treatment (CCPR/C/SDN/CO/4, paragraph 22). He reminds the Government of the Sudan of its responsibility to guarantee an enabling environment for civil society activists to operate freely and without fear, as per article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, acceded by the country on 18 March 1986.
Responses to communications
The Special Rapporteur regrets that he has not received a response to his communication and reminds the Government of Sudan that he considers responses to his communications as an important part of the cooperation of Governments with his mandate. He calls upon States to cooperate fully with and assist him in the performance of his mandate, in compliance with Human Rights Council resolutions 24/5 (2013), 21/16 (2012) and 15/21 (2010).
The Special Rapporteur reiterates serious concern at the rising infringement on freedom of association in Sudan. He remains very concerned at the drastic decisions to deregister fourteen associations for contravening the Law on Cultural Groups of 1996 regulating associations carrying out legitimate work in Sudan, which appear to obstruct the exercise of the right to freedom of association (SDN 1/2015). He reminds the Government of Sudan that the action to suspend or dissolve an association is one of the severest types of restrictions on freedom of association. Therefore, any such decision to suspend or dissolve an association should comply with international human rights law and standards, namely it should be guided by the principles of proportionality and necessity (A/HRC/20/27, paragraph 75).
The Special Rapporteur deplores allegations of arrest, detention, inadequate conditions of detention, and charges against a human rights defender as well as the alleged criminal charges brought against two clergyman and undue restrictions of religious freedom of the Christian communities, respectively in communications SDN 2/2015 and SDN 4/2015. He reiterates his concern regarding allegations that indicate that the religious autonomy of churches, the rights to freedom of expression, religion and freedom of peaceful assembly of the Christian religious minorities have been seriously undermined by ongoing mass expulsion, arrests, detentions of foreign Christians and confiscation or destruction of church properties since the end of 2012. Such actions are bound to have a detrimental effect on other individuals exercising or wishing to exercise their right to association, peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and religion.
He reminds the Government of Sudan of its positive obligation to ensure that civil society, including human rights defenders, can carry out their legitimate work free in a safe and enabling environment without fear of threats or acts of intimidation or harassment of any sort.
Responses to communications
The Special Rapporteur regrets not having received a response to his communications. He considers responses to his communications to be an important part of the cooperation of Governments with his mandate, in line with Human Rights Council resolutions 24/5 (2013), 21/16 (2012) and 15/21 (2010).
Environment in which these rights are exercised
The Special Rapporteur is extremely worried at the alarming trend of restriction of civil space for civil society in the Sudan, especially at the crackdown on activists that seem to oppose or criticize the Government or that work in activities related to the protection and the promotion of human rights. He expresses concern at the reported arrest, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment and judicial harassment of individuals for expressing their legitimate rights to freedom of expression, of freedom of association and of freedom of peaceful assembly. In particular, members and affiliates of the Centre for Training and Human Development (TRACKS) have been the object of multiple human rights violations as highlighted in communications SDN 2/2016, SDN 6/2016 and SDN 9/2016.
The Special Rapporteur reiterates his concerns regarding the alleged killing of several individuals, including Mr. Abubakar Hassan and Mr. Mohamed al-Sadiq Wayo, as well as the arrest of various other students in the context of several demonstrations held by students protesting against the sale of the university buildings in April 2016 (SDN 5/2016). He remains concerned about the excessive use of force by NISS officials, who allegedly fired indiscriminately into crowds, leading to the death of Mr. Abubakar Hassan and Mr. Mohamed al-Sadiq Wayo.
He calls on authorities of the Sudan to ensure that no one is subject to excessive or indiscriminate use of force, in the event that use of force is absolutely necessary. The Special Rapporteur also stresses the duty of the State to ensure that law enforcement authorities who violate the right to peaceful assembly are held fully accountable for such violations by an independent oversight body and by the courts of law (A/HRC/20/27). He invites the Sudan to refer to the compilation of practical recommendations for the proper management of assemblies (A/HRC/31/66), which recalls that the use of force by law enforcement officials should be exceptional and assemblies should ordinarily be managed with no resort to force. Any use of force must comply with the principles of necessity and proportionality (para. 57).
He expresses his outrage at the arrest of 24 political activists and members of the Sudanese Congress Party, the Reform Now Movement, the National Consensus Forces (NCF) and the Congress of Independent Students in November 2016 (SDN 9/2016). The Rapporteur recalls that no one may be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention. In the context of assemblies this has particular import for the criminalization of assemblies and dissent. Arrest of protestors to prevent or punish the exercise of their right to freedom of peaceful assembly, for example on charges that are spurious, unreasonable or lack proportionality, violates these protections (A/HRC/31/66, par. 45).
Besides the communications alleging the involvement of NISS officers in the reported human rights violations, the Special Rapporteur received additional alarming allegations that NISS officials, and, in some cases other security forces, systematically target opposition political party members, human rights defenders, students, demonstrators and other activists, leading to numerous arbitrary arrests, arbitrary detentions, torture and ill-treatment of individuals in detention as well as various forms of harassment against these individuals. He urges the authorities to undertake independent and transparent investigations into the situation of the individuals mentioned in the communications sent and to bring all perpetrators to justice as well as to offer adequate redress to the victims.
He reminds the Government of the Sudan of its responsibility to guarantee an enabling environment for civil society activists to operate freely and without fear, as per article 22 of the ICCPR, acceded to by the country on 18 March 1986.
For the full reports, containing communications, replies and observations for all countries, see the following links: