Starting from January 7, 2018 the Sudanese government has used excessive force to suppress peaceful protests in several cities. Women protesters were subjected to violence during the protests which led to the injury of tow female students in Al Geneina west of Darfur, and the arrest of dozens of women protesters in many cities, among them women rights defenders, women journalists and political leaders.
On January 7, the fifteen-year-old Azza Hamdan was shot in the arm; while protesting in Al Geneina in west Darfur. Also fifteen-year-old Safa Suleiman, shot in the thigh in the same protest. The Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service ( NISS) and police has used excessive force and live bullets during the protest in Darfur. The region is living in a state of conflict and witnessed mass violence against women that included mass rapes of women and crimes against humanity according to the International Criminal Court. This protest by students against austerity measures was followed by another protest by displaced people in Al Hasahisa Camp in Zalinji in Darfur, where the Janjweed militia with the police killed woman named Shaimaa Eisa.
In Khartoum dozens of women protesters and a women activists among them lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders were arrested in the period from January 11 to February 7, 2018. The Sudanese security arrested for one day four members of the No Oppression Against Women Initiative. After their release these activists have been summoned for daily interrogation until now. Their names are Rashida Shamseldein ( she has a six month child, who she had to leave without nursing for over 12 hours everyday), Ihsan Fagiri, Najlaa Norin, and Gomaria Omer.
Among those in detention since January 16, 2018 is the prominent journalist and human rights defender Amal Habani . She is the coordinator of the No Oppression Against Women Initiative in Sudan, and recipient of the 2014 Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award. According to reports she has been tortured during and intergroation with electric rod and have been denied access to family and health care. Nahid Jabrallah is the Director of the Sima Centre for Training and Protection of Women and Children’s Rights based in Khartoum, she is has also been in detention since January 16. Both has been detained from the street during a protest in the center of Khartoum. Journalists Rashan Oshi from Mijhar Alsyasi newspaper and Imtnan Alrady from Alyom Altali newspaper were arrested at the same event and later released after 4 days in detention, but they remain under security surveillance.
National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) officials have arrested over 400 individuals since 11 January 2018, among dozens of women some of have been released after days in detention in the security offices or have been released by bale in the day after being arrested by riot police and detained for hours. Sudanese riots police used stick, tear gas and live ammunition to break protests in several cities. Female protesters reported harassment by police during protest and in the arrest process.
Following the large protest in center of Khartoum on January 16, 2018, women political leaders were arrested after another protests in Omdurman. Sara Nugdallah a professor in Alahlia University and the General Secretary of Umma Party, has been arrested from her house on January 18. Sara is 65 years old and suffer from several health conditions, she has been detained without access to lawyers or family. Asmaa Mohamed Taha a leader in the Sudanese Republican Party was arrested On February 1, 2018, and released a day later. Also Amal Jabrallh, a doctor, union activist and member of central secretary of the communist party, and sister of Nahid Jabrallah the human rights defender has been detained from home on February 2. Amal and Nahid are the only care takers of their disabled mother, who does not have any one to care for her after their detention. The member in the Unionists Part Alaa AbduRahim Has been detained in East of Khartoum protests on February 7, and her whereabouts remain unknown. HadElried Almahi, 65 years old member of Sudanese women union and the communist part was arrested from her house on February 7, and taken to unknown place.
Lawyer Hanan Hassan was arrested in North of Khartoum on January 31, while traveling to defend detained protesters. Human rights defender Rawaa Jafar was arrested in Omdurman protest on January 17, and here family was denied access to her, and her whereabouts remain unknown. Israa and Shaymaa Ibrahim Elskeikh are daughters of the political leader of the Sudanese Congress Party Ibrahim Alsheikh were arrested in January 31, from their house with their cousin who is a child of 15 years old and taken to unknown place.There is at least 20 women rights activists and political leaders in detention now without access to lawyers, health care or family members, as they remain in detention without any legal charges.
The Sudanese government has initiated a massive crackdown on Sudanese human rights and political activists started in the first week of January 2018. The crackdown comes in the wake of calls by Sudanese opposition parties and civil society organizations to protest against the lifting of subsidies which led to massive raise in prices, and pushed million of Sudanese women and children to the verge of mass hunger and food insecurity.
Sudanese Women Human Rights Defenders Project express it is deep concern about the safety and well being of the women detainees. The Sudanese security have a long documented record of maltreatment of women detainees. We believe that women detainees in the NISS detentions are at risk of maltreatment including sexual harassment, torture and rape. Therefore, we call on the Sudanese Government to:
– Immediately release all women detainees as they were detained while exercising their legitimate right to participate in peaceful protest or express their opinion.
– The Sudanese government also must reveal the whereabouts of those women in detentions ad all detainees and protect their rights to have access to lawyers and family and health care.
_ the government should end all forms of violence against women while in protest and investigate the reports of excessive use of violence against protesters and especially women.