Freedom House Condemns Attacks on Women Activists in Sudan
Freedom House condemns the arbitrary detention of 20 women human rights defenders in Sudan and calls for their immediate release. The recent arrests are the latest move by President Omar al-Bashir and his ruling National Congress Party to stifle dissent.
During the past two weeks twenty female activists—many of them journalists and bloggers—have been apprehended, forcibly detained, and, in some cases, sexually assaulted. All are being held without charge. The arrests come on the heels of a series of strikes, sit-ins, and demonstrations in Khartoum as Sudan’s main opposition parties have protested the government’s crippling austerity measures. Since oil-producing South Sudan broke away from its neighbor last year, the country has enacted deep spending cuts, aimed at closing a large budget shortfall.
“Such brutality against a peaceful protest movement demonstrates Bashir’s intention to crush any opposition before it gains a foothold,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs at Freedom House. “This latest string of arrests illustrates the dire condition of freedom of expression—particularly for women—under Bashir’s regime.”
The situation for women human rights defenders in Sudan is highly precarious. In addition to being subjected to violence and sexual abuse, many are threatened with rape, the Sudanese government’s weapon of choice in the past. Moreover, those arrested have not been charged with specific crimes or misdemeanors, which strongly suggests that the government’s draconian response is aimed solely at suppressing political dissent.
Sudan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2012 and Freedom of the Press 2012.
To learn more about Sudan, visit:
Freedom in the World 2012: Sudan
Freedom of the Press 2011: Sudan
Blog: Freedom at Issue
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.
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