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Sudan Human Rights - History

Sudan Human Rights - History


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The government maintained a COH in conflict areas by refraining from military offensives during the year. This restraint stood in contrast to its behavior in prior years, in which the SAF regularly initiated offensives, especially during the dry season. During the year there was no confirmed evidence the government, including the security forces under its command or control, initiated offensive operations. There were also no confirmed reports of aerial bombardments--a trademark of government offenses in previous years.

Killings: During the year military personnel and paramilitary forces committed killings in Darfur and the Two Areas. Most reports were difficult to verify due to continued prohibited access to conflict areas, particularly Jebel Marra in Darfur and SPLM-N-controlled areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.

Only one major clash between rebels and the government was reported, although there were other smaller skirmishes. In May a joint force of the two Darfur armed movements of Sudan Liberation Movement/Minni Minnawi and Transitional Council (SLM/TC) clashed with government forces, including the RSF, while entering from South Sudan and Libya. The clashes resulted in numerous unconfirmed deaths on both sides. A joint statement released by the groups on May 22 confirmed the killing of SLM/TC general Mohamed Abdul al-Salam, in addition to the arrest of its chairman, Nimir Abdel Rahman, and several others. While there were no reports of RSF violations following clashes in East Darfur, there were reports of attacks and looting by progovernment militias on villages in the Ain Siro area in North Darfur.

In September security forces used fatal excessive force against demonstrators in Kalma IDP camp in South Darfur (see section 1.a.).

On November 25-26, fighting in North Darfur State between the RSF and tribal members loyal to Musa Hilal, a Rizigat tribal leader and former Janjaweed militia commander, resulted in several deaths, including some RSF soldiers. A report from a credible source that government forces killed 193 persons, including 34 women and 39 children, during the clashes could not be verified by year’s end, as the government impeded UNAMID’s access to the location following the clashes. The deadly clashes reportedly resulted from a government-run weapons collection campaign in the area, which Hilal opposed.

On May 31, an attack on UNAMID peacekeepers in South Darfur’s capital by an unknown group killed one military peacekeeper. By year’s end the government had not apprehended the perpetrators, but authorities announced they were investigating the incident.

In August, Vice President Hassabo Mohammed Abdelrahman, accompanied by the High Committee for Arms Collection on a visit to Darfur, announced a six-month nationwide campaign for the collection of arms with a focus on the conflict areas of Darfur and Kordofan. The announcement followed official government directives to collect arms. According to the government, arms would be collected from forces including the RSF, BGs, and Central Reserve Police, in addition to tribes and individuals. The campaign began in mid-September with a month-long “voluntary disarmament” phase, followed by forced disarmament. The government trained and deployed additional RSF militias to support the campaign. Vice President Hassabo stated the campaign was a follow-up to the recommendations of the National Dialogue and was key to the stability of the region with regard to both the security and economy. Both West and East Darfur announced they had already begun receiving weapons from BGs and Native Administration. Meanwhile South Darfur had established committees mandated to tour the state to raise awareness and sensitize communities of the campaign. Vice President Hassabo stated no compensation would be offered for weapons, saying, “We do not want the campaign to turn into a business,” giving the security forces full power and force to disarm individuals. Since the August campaign announcement, the government reported a visible decline in civilians carrying weapons.

In the disputed territory of Abyei, the security situation remained unpredictable but generally calm. Most human rights abuses were due to criminal activity and tribal conflict between the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya, with several major security incidents occurring in and around common marketplaces. On July 7, five armed persons hijacked a vehicle outside the Amiet market. On July 8, an unverified number of armed persons shot two civilians, killing one and injuring the other. On July 9, four Misseriya opened fire on another vehicle along the road to Amiet market. The attack killed two Dinka individuals and injured three others. Security forces temporarily closed Amiet market on July 10 as a result of the string of deadly attacks and immediately launched investigations into the incidents.

Abductions: International organizations were unable independently to verify reports of disappearances due to lack of access to conflict areas.

There were numerous abuses similar to the following: In May an elder of Gallab village was kidnapped along with others riding in the car with him. They were stopped by militiamen in a Land Cruiser west of El Fasher and were beaten; their money and mobile phones were looted, and they were taken at gunpoint to a nearby village. The kidnappers contacted the village elder’s relatives and demanded ransom to release them. Reportedly, they sent money 1,000 Sudanese pounds (SDG) ($125) per person and the kidnappers released them two days later. Reportedly, the kidnappers were Arab armed groups in Land Cruisers with machine guns, “roaming in the area, doing whatever they want,” which could accurately describe BGs, the RSF, or merely armed bandits.

UNAMID reported that abduction remained a lucrative coercive method adopted by various tribes in Darfur to obtain the payment of diya (“blood money” ransom) claimed from other communities.

Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture: Human rights organizations accused government forces of perpetrating torture and other human rights violations and abuses. Government forces abused persons detained in connection with armed conflict as well as IDPs suspected of having links to rebel groups. There were continuing reports that government security forces, progovernment and antigovernment militias, and other armed persons raped women and children.

The extent to which rebel groups committed new human rights abuses could not be accurately estimated, largely due to limited access to conflict areas. The state of detention facilities administered by the SLM/AW and SPLM-N in their respective rebel-controlled areas could not be verified due to lack of access.

Human rights groups continued to report that government forces and militias raped, detained, tortured, and arbitrarily killed civilians in the five states of Darfur and government-controlled areas of Blue Nile.

From December 2016 to November, UNAMID documented 115 cases involving 152 adult female victims of conflict-related sexual violence and 68 minors. In 2016 UNAMID documented 100 cases with 222 victims. UNAMID received the cases from all five Darfur states. Gross underreporting remained prevalent.

The government rejected UNAMID figures on the basis the cases had not been reported to state authorities, but observers concurred that the government needed capacity building in how to track cases.

Unexploded ordnances killed and injured innocent civilians in the conflict zones. There were numerous examples similar to the following: On November 5, three schoolboys in Nyala, South Darfur, found an unexploded ordnance and played with it. The ordnance exploded and injured the three boys and two nearby men. The incident was reported to the police, and the injured individuals were taken to the Sudan-Turkish Hospital for treatment.

Child Soldiers: The law prohibits the recruitment of children and provides criminal penalties for perpetrators. Allegations persisted, however, that armed movements, government forces, and government-aligned militias had child soldiers within their ranks. Allegations also persisted that antigovernment rebel groups used children.

Unlike in prior years, the government reportedly stopped its support to the South Sudan opposition group, Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition, which was widely reported to recruit and use child soldiers. The United Nations verified the government worked closely with UNICEF to implement its action plan to prevent the recruitment and use of children by government security forces.

Many children lacked documents verifying their age. Children’s rights organizations believed armed groups exploited this lack of documentation to recruit or retain children. Due to problems of access, particularly in conflict zones, reports of child soldiers were limited and often difficult to verify. Sources confirmed the capture of multiple children by the government during an armed offensive of the SLM-Minni Minawi faction in Darfur in May.

UNAMID reported that concerted efforts to curb the recruitment of child soldiers in Darfur had led to significant progress, but the potential use of children in ethnic clashes remained a major concern.

Representatives of armed groups reported they did not actively recruit child soldiers. They did not, however, prevent children who volunteered from joining their movements. The armed groups stated the children were stationed primarily in training camps and were not used in combat.

There were reports of the use of child soldiers by the SPLM-N, but numbers could not be verified, in part due to lack of access to SPLM-N-controlled territories.

Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

Other Conflict-related Abuse: Humanitarian access improved for UN and NGO staff considerably during the year, particularly access to East Darfur. There were still incidents of restrictions on UN and NGO travel to North Darfur and East Jebel Marra, primarily due to insecurity. In late December 2016, the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) issued new guidelines to ease restrictions on movement of humanitarian workers; however, the guidelines were not consistently implemented during the year.

The government continued periodically to use bureaucratic impediments to restrict the actions of humanitarian organizations. Despite the substantial improvements in access during the year, authorities delayed the release of food and necessary equipment to UNAMID for prolonged periods. For example, the government continued to delay the release of food-ration containers in Port Sudan, although to a lesser extent than in the prior year. The resulting shortages hampered the ability of UNAMID troops to communicate, conduct robust patrols, and protect civilians; they incurred demurrage charges and additional costs for troop- and police-contributing countries and the United Nations.

Darfur reportedly hosted an estimated three million persons in need of humanitarian assistance, of whom 1.6 million were in 60 IDP camps, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). Nonetheless, the government continued to push for a reduced role for the international humanitarian community. Certain parts of Darfur, including rebel-held areas in Jebel Marra, largely remained cut off from humanitarian access. During the year UNAMID also substantially reduced its presence in Darfur due to budgetary constraints and government requests. UNAMID’s mandate, however, remained largely unchanged, with a continued emphasis on the protection of civilians, facilitation of humanitarian assistance, and conflict mediation. Between August and October, UNAMID closed 11 of 34 sites in Darfur, including sites in every Darfuri state except for Central Darfur. UNAMID staff reported the reduction would severely restrict UNAMID’s ability to carry out missions, such as verifying reports of human rights violations. Despite the downsizing, UNAMID intended to open a new temporary operating site in Golo to service Jebel Marra, in accordance with the UN Security Council’s renewal of UNAMID’s mandate in late June. At year’s end this site’s planning was under way, but the government had not allowed the establishment of the base.

Government forces at times harassed NGOs that received international assistance. Although humanitarian access improved generally, the government sometimes restricted or denied permission for humanitarian assessments, refused to approve technical agreements, changed operational procedures, copied NGO files, confiscated NGO property, questioned humanitarian workers at length and monitored their personal correspondence, restricted travel, and publicly accused humanitarian workers of aiding rebel groups. Unidentified armed groups also targeted humanitarian workers for kidnapping and ransom.

Armed persons attacked, killed, injured, and kidnapped peacekeepers and aid workers. On October 7, rebels kidnapped 70-year-old Swiss humanitarian worker Margaret Schenkel from her residence in El Fasher, North Darfur. Schenkel is a long-time resident of Darfur and well respected by the community for her work serving women and malnourished children. In mid-November, Schenkel was freed by security forces.

On May 31, an attack on UNAMID peacekeepers in South Darfur’s capital by an unknown group killed one military peacekeeper. In a statement released the next day, UNAMID noted the incident had been reported to the relevant Sudanese authorities and called on the government to swiftly apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

All states in Darfur were under varying states of emergency. Between January 1 and November 10, UNAMID police received 1,737 reports of criminality and banditry, which included 1,029 persons killed. This represented an 8.1-percent decrease in crime from 2016. Police confirmed 1,146 of these cases and made 179 related arrests. North Darfur had the highest crime rate, while South Darfur had the only crime rate that increased from 2016. The attacks included rape, armed robbery, abduction, ambush, livestock theft, assault/harassment, arson, and burglary and were allegedly carried out primarily by Arab militias, but government forces, unknown assailants, and rebel elements also carried out attacks.

The UN secretary-general stated that the number of attacks against UN agencies and humanitarian organizations continued to decline.

Conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, especially in Central Darfur, continued to be taboo. Humanitarian actors in Darfur continued to report that victims of sexual and gender-based violence faced obstructions in attempts to report crimes and access health care.

Largely unregulated artisanal gold-mining activities continued in all of the Darfur states, although it was a lesser source of tension between communities than in previous years. Claims to land rights continued to be mostly ethnic and tribal in nature. Clashes sometimes resulted from conflicts over land rights, mineral ownership, and use of gold-mining areas, particularly in the Jebel Amer area in North Darfur. Observers believed those clashes resulted in deaths and displacement.

On July 21, clashes renewed between Maaliya and Rezeigat tribesmen, reportedly over livestock theft in East Darfur in the three localities of Yassin, Shaeria, and Abukarinka. The clashes resulted in approximately 290 deaths and numerous others injured, according to local sources. More clashes continued in the following days in the three localities, and armed tribesmen suspected to be Rezeigat were sighted in different locations in East Darfur’s capital El Daein mobilizing to join the clashes. Armed tribesmen in El Daein and environs reportedly “commandeered small cars, Land Cruisers, and trucks by force” to transport them to the area. Fighting subsided by July 26, with government authorities deploying troops. The number of armed tribesmen reportedly subsequently decreased in El Daein.

Although the government made public statements encouraging the return of IDPs to their homes and the closure of camps in Darfur since “peace” had come to Darfur, IDPs expressed reluctance to return due to lack of security and justice in their areas of origin or elsewhere.

Restrictions imposed by the government in Abyei on NGOs limited the implementation capacity of humanitarian and development actors, especially in the northern parts of Abyei. Additional problems included inadequate funds, high implementation costs owing to security and logistical constraints, delays in the issuance of travel permits, and government restrictions on the movement of personnel and supplies.


Human Rights in Sudan

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) for a hearing on human rights in Sudan and the humanitarian crises arising from the Government of Sudan’s longstanding human rights abuses.

Ten years since the beginning of state-sponsored crimes against civilians in Darfur, which the U.S. government found to constitute genocide, the human rights and humanitarian situation in the region remains dire. Civilians continue to face violent attacks by government forces, pro-government militias, and armed opposition groups, while humanitarian aid is severely limited for an estimated 2.3 million internally displaced persons. Some 130,000 Darfuris have been newly displaced in the first months of 2013 alone.

The state-sponsored violence and human rights abuses have spread to other areas of Sudan, resulting in a vast humanitarian crisis. The Government of Sudan’s indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states and its continued blocking of humanitarian relief have created a crisis that is nearing famine conditions. Over 900,000 Sudanese are in desperate need of humanitarian aid. The United Nations and independent monitors have documented abuses by the Government of Sudan and armed groups it supports that “may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.” Nearly 200,000 Sudanese have fled to South Sudan, a young country that is poor, has virtually no infrastructure, and faces its own challenges of state-building while resolving inter-communal and ethnic armed violence.


Sudan

I've always been interesting in learning about other countries' culture. Today I had the opportunity to overview some of the shockking conflicts other countries are facing. I'll tell you the ones that inspired me the most, and that were really interesting!

Adriana: Tibet
I chose these blog because it is so interesting to know about Sudan. Also Adriana clearly states wh they need help. She also says how Tibet should be free from Chinese have their own culture, language etc.

Alberto: China
I chose these blog, because it really interesting how we think China is a properous and problem free country. But really it is facing lots of problems that we usually din't know about. I really liked how he said that they are very cultural!

Gustavo: Italy
This blog I just love! It is so fresh, interesting and informative. It is not just the color, that attracts me to read and to love it, it is the information, it just awesome. Italy is the best country ever, I would really want to lern more abou this country!

John: India
I chose John's blog because he talks about women human rights. Of course we women have to stand up for what we believe in.

Juan Carlos: Cuba
Cuba's blog is really interesting and shocking. This one, until now has been the one that shocks me the most and that makes me realize there are many people out there suffering and we do nothing about it. Cuba has many coflicts, arguments and suffeing but I'm sure Cubans are willing to move forward and overcome this problems.


Lizbedy: Indonesia
I really like this blog, because everything is so clear. Lizbedy really makes the "reader" understand what she's talking aboout, what the country needs, and what should be done about it.

Miguel C: Somalia
Miguel's blog I really liked because, it was really brief but also very informative. It's clear that Somalia has had a rough government, over many years.

Natalia O: Syria
This blog, I chose beacuse it is so intersting to hear about how many protests are going on in Syria. Also even childrens along with their parents are part of this protests, which is really shocking but interesting.

Karolina: Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast is claerly facing many challenges due to disagreements between presidents. I chose this blog because she also said what can happen if YOU don't help. For example more violence, human rights abuse, etc.

Sarah: Honduras
Honduras, as stated in Sarah's blog, is facing some though challenges. The conflicts in this country are very similar to those peple in other countries are facing right now. Racism, unequalness, and also judging people because of their sex prefferences. This conflicts concern us all, because this is also happening to us in Puerto Rico.


U.S. Department of State

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Sudan, a republic with an estimated population of 40.2 million, is governed according to a power-sharing arrangement established by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the 22-year civil war between the north and south and established an interim Government of National Unity (GNU). The CPA calls for national elections to be held in 2009. The GNU is composed of the National Congress Party (NCP), dominated by Islamists from the north and ruled by authoritarian President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his inner circle, and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), the political wing of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) led predominantly by Christians and practitioners of traditional indigenous religions from the south. The most recent national elections were held in 2000 Bashir was reelected, and his political party won 340 out of 360 seats in the parliament in deeply flawed elections boycotted by all major opposition parties. The SPLM is the ruling party of the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), established in 2005. The GOSS ratified a separate constitution in 2005. A referendum to determine whether the south will become an independent entity is scheduled for 2011. The country experienced several violent conflicts during the year. While civilian authorities in the north generally maintained effective control of the security forces and government-aligned militia outside of Darfur, there were frequent instances in which elements of the security forces and government-aligned militia acted independently in Darfur. In the south, civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of security forces, but there were frequent instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently.

Conflict in Darfur continued despite the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) between the government and Minni Minawi's faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A). Civilians in Darfur continued to suffer from the effects of genocide. Government forces bombed villages, killed civilians including internally displaced persons (IDPs), and collaborated with janjaweed militias and tribal factions to raze villages and perpetrate violence against women. The government supported Chadian rebel groups. During January and February, violence in West Darfur displaced tens of thousands of persons approximately 12,000 persons were displaced to Chad. Darfur rebel groups continued to commit serious abuses. On May 10, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Darfuri rebel movement, mounted an attack on Omdurman, near the capital. Intertribal conflict also killed civilians. According to the UN, nearly 2.7 million civilians have been internally displaced, and approximately 250,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Chad since the conflict in Darfur began in 2003. During the year approximately 315,000 civilians were displaced within Darfur and to Chad. Estimates on the number of deaths vary. In 2006 the UN estimated that 200,000 persons had died as a result of the conflict.

Tensions over CPA implementation persisted between the north and the south. Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the SPLA forces engaged in open combat in the disputed Abyei region from May 14 until May 22. Intertribal violence in the south continued. The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel movement formerly-based in Uganda, made incursions into Southern Sudan and attacked and killed civilians.

The government's human rights record remained poor, and there were numerous serious abuses, including: abridgement of citizens' right to change their government extrajudicial and other unlawful killings by government forces and other government-aligned groups throughout the country disappearances, including of hundreds of Darfuris in Omdurman and Khartoum following the May 10 JEM attack torture, beatings, rape, and other cruel, inhumane treatment or punishment by security forces harsh prison conditions arbitrary arrest and detention, incommunicado detention of suspected government opponents, and prolonged pretrial detention executive interference with the judiciary and denial of due process obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian assistance restrictions on privacy restrictions on freedom of speech increased restrictions on the press, including direct censorship restrictions on freedoms of assembly, association, religion, and movement harassment of IDPs and of local and international human rights and humanitarian organizations violence and discrimination against women, including female genital mutilation (FGM) child abuse, including sexual violence and recruitment of child soldiers, particularly in Darfur preventing international human rights observers from traveling to/within Sudan trafficking in persons discrimination and violence against ethnic minorities denial of workers' rights and forced and child labor.

In Southern Sudan, serious human rights abuses were reported during the year, including extrajudicial killings and physical abuse of persons by the SPLA poor prison and detention center conditions arbitrary arrest lengthy pretrial detention use of child soldiers abduction of women and children and child labor. Interethnic violence was a problem.

In Darfur government-aligned militias killed and injured civilians, including during attacks on villages raped women and children destroyed and looted civilian property and used child soldiers.

Rebel factions and bandits in Darfur killed and abducted persons, including civilians, humanitarian workers, and United Nations--African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) peacekeeping troops and workers beat and raped civilians recruited and used child soldiers and restricted humanitarian access.

The LRA attacked villages and killed and abducted civilians in the south.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:

a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life
There were numerous reports that the government and its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings. Government forces, government-aligned militias, and rebels killed civilians in connection with the conflict in Darfur (see section 1.g.). Civilians were also killed in connection to conflict in Abyei (see section 1.g.).

Fighting between government forces and JEM rebels killed civilians during the May 10 JEM attack on Omdurman. A UN report cited the government as asserting that 57 civilians were killed, but the actual number of civilian casualties was believed to be far higher.

In the aftermath of the May 10 JEM attack, National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) forces committed three confirmed extrajudicial killings in Khartoum and Omdurman. NISS forces killed one woman as she tried to prevent the arrest of her brother one Darfuri student and beat one man who later died of his injuries.

The police and army killed demonstrators.

On May 21, students undergoing mandatory military training at Ed Damazin Camp protested violently against harsh training techniques and the death of a fellow student. SAF soldiers shot at the students, killing two and injuring 15 of them.

On July 27, police killed two demonstrators in White Nile after local farmers gathered to protest government land confiscation.

The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) continued to receive reports that SPLA soldiers committed extrajudicial killings.

Civilians were killed and injured as a result of fighting between the SPLA and civilians during a GOSS disarmament campaign. For example, on June 5, in Iloli and Loguruny villages in Eastern Equatoria, eight civilians were killed and an estimated 1,410 persons displaced by fighting the incident was not under investigation by year's end. On September 8, the SPLA injured persons during a disarmament activity in Rumbek.

Approximately 50 civilians reportedly died due to landmines in the south during the year, although some observers believed the number to be much higher since only a small percentage of deaths were actually reported to the UN. The government continued to cooperate with the UN Mine Action Group to remove landmines in the south.

On January 1, diplomat John Granville and driver Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama were killed in Khartoum. By August authorities had arrested five suspects in connection with the killings and commenced to try them the trial was ongoing at year's end.

Interethnic conflict throughout the country resulted in deaths during the year (see section 1.g.).

The LRA committed numerous arbitrary killings in Southern Sudan throughout the year.

For example, on January 30, in Central Equatoria State, four civilians were killed in an LRA attack. In February an LRA incursion into Western Equatoria resulted in the deaths of 136 persons. On June 5, in Nabanga in Western Equatoria, an LRA attack on an SPLA base killed an estimated 12 civilians. In December the governments of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Southern Sudan began a joint military operation against the LRA.

The government was responsible for hundreds of politically and ethnically-motivated disappearances, particularly of Zaghawas living in Khartoum and Omdurman.

The NISS arrested hundreds of Darfuris in May and June following the May 10 attack, detaining pedestrians and car passengers who appeared to be Zaghawa. Released detainees reported that the NISS continued to hold up to 2,500 detainees at several detention locations in the weeks following the attack. Several reported that they were beaten while in custody. By year's end fewer than 300 persons had been charged with participating in the May 10 attacks. Human rights organizations claimed that while most of the detainees were released, the government continued to hold several hundred without charges at year's end.

Prominent Darfuri lawyers and activists arrested by the NISS in Khartoum remained unaccounted for by year's end. For example, in May, Abdelillahi Widaa, cofounder of the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Darfur Forum for Reconciliation and Peaceful Coexistence, fled Khartoum following repeated visits by NISS officers to his home and place of work, as well as a reported threat by the NISS to kill him. On May 19, Widaa turned himself in to NISS headquarters for questioning and subsequently disappeared as of year's end his whereabouts were unknown.

From May 11 to 21, NISS officers arrested six Darfuri lawyers from the independent Darfur Bar Association, including Abdelshakur Dirar. On June 6, Dirar's wife and nine-month-old baby were also arrested and taken to NISS headquarters. On August 20, Dirar's wife and baby were released. All six lawyers were released by year's end.

An estimated 15,000 Dinka women and children were abducted, mainly from 1983 to 1999 thousands of them remained unaccounted for. In contrast to 2007, the government's Committee to Eradicate the Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC) reportedly returned 228 previously abducted Dinka to their ancestral villages in Southern Sudan during the year. During the year CEAWC received four million Sudanese pounds (approximately $180 million) in government funding. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimated that 4,000 Dinka abductees remain in South Darfur.

Rebel forces in Darfur abducted persons, including humanitarian aid workers (see section 1.g.).

Intertribal abductions of women and children in the south continued.

The LRA abducted persons, including children in Southern Sudan. On April 20, LRA members abducted women and children during an attack on villages in Western Equatoria State. On December 22, the LRA attacked Lokurubanga village in Central Equatoria State, and abducted 12 persons. In late December the LRA abducted persons, including children, from Luro village in Western Equatoria.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The Interim National Constitution prohibits such practices however, government security forces continued to torture, beat, and harass suspected political opponents and others. In Darfur and other areas of conflict government forces, rebel groups, and tribal factions committed torture and abuse (see section 1.g.). SPLA forces sometimes abused persons in the south.

In accordance with Shari'a (Islamic law), the Criminal Act provides for physical punishments, including flogging, amputation, stoning, and crucifixion--the public display of a body after execution. Under the Interim National Constitution, the government exempts the 10 southern states from Shari'a, although its application in the south still occurred on an ad hoc basis, and traditional customary law was frequently applied against convicted defendants. Northern courts routinely imposed flogging, especially for production of alcohol.

Government security forces beat and tortured persons in detention, including members of the political opposition, civil society activists, and journalists. These persons were often subsequently released without charges.

On May 11, NISS officers arrested Abdelaziz Sam, Secretary of Legal Affairs for the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority (TDRA), and three members of his family. The men were bound together and beaten for five hours, then later released without charge.

On May 18, NISS officers arrested Al-Ghali Shegifat, journalist for the independent Rai Al-shaab newspaper and head of the Darfur Journalist Association he was detained for 60 days without charge, during which time he was regularly beaten.

On November 24, the NISS detained human rights activists Abdel Moniem El Gak, Osman Hummaida, and Amir Suleiman. Suleiman was released the same day. El Gak was released on November 26, after having been released and detained again on November 25. Hummaida was released on November 28. Security forces physically abused El Gak and Hummaida, and threatened Suleiman that he would be tortured. El Gak and Suleiman fled the country following their release.

Police and NISS officers forcibly dispersed student protestors, which resulted in serious injuries.

On June 12, at the University of Khartoum, police forcibly dispersed Darfuri students who were peacefully protesting the arrest of a fellow student the previous day. NISS officers followed the students to their dormitory, where they beat several of them and threw two students from windows, severely injuring them.

Unlike in 2007, there were no reports that police conducted sporadic raids on houses occupied by Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees or migrants.

SPLA military police detained eight third-country nationals suspected of stealing SPLA payroll funds. All of the detainees were taken to SPLA headquarters in Juba. Four detainees were released a week later. The remaining four were transferred to a detention facility known as the customs market, then to another location during detention they were reportedly caned, shackled, and allegedly subjected to psychological abuse. The four were released under house arrest in June, and by year's end were permitted to continue working and living in the country.

In June the SPLA reportedly detained one of its captains for beating a foreign national.

According to a UN report, on March 9, guards at an unofficial SPLA detention facility known as Jail 1 shot an SAF soldier when he tried to escape.

There were cases in which Southern Sudan Police Services (SPSS) officers and SPLA officers reportedly raped women, often with impunity.

In Darfur, government forces, government-aligned militias, rebel groups, and tribal factions killed, injured, and raped civilians (see section 1.g.).

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison conditions throughout the country remained harsh and overcrowded. Almost all prisons lacked basic facilities such as toilets and showers. Health care was primitive prisoners usually relied on family or friends for food. Officials continued to arbitrarily deny visits to prisoners.

The government routinely mistreated persons in custody. There were credible reports that security forces held detainees incommunicado beat them deprived them of food, water, and toilets and forced them to sleep on cold floors. Prisoners died from lack of health care and poor prison conditions.

Juveniles often were held with adults in the north.

Government authorities detained 109 children in connection with the May 10 JEM attack. Most of the children were sent to a detention facility for children after having been initially held with adults for several days. UN officials described the conditions in the separate facility as good. However, some children were not sent to the separate facility and remained detained with adults. Ninety-nine of the children were pardoned and released four were tried, acquitted and released five had ongoing trials and remained detained and one, who was given a death sentence, was going through an appeal process.

Unlike the previous year, the government allowed some restricted visits to prisons by human rights observers in the north. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had limited access to government prisons during the year however, released prisoners reported that officials hid high-profile detainees during visits.

Prisons in Southern Sudan provided inmates with at least one meal per day. The Prisons Directorate of Southern Sudan (SSPD) provided separate quarters for male and female prisoners and usually housed juveniles in separate cells. Prison labor was used for the construction of private residences for SPLM officials.

Pretrial detainees were generally held in jails separate from convicted prisoners in the south. Detention centers in Southern Sudan were under the control of local tribal or state authorities, and were uniformly substandard. Some were holes dug in the ground around a tree, with detainees shackled to the tree. Sanitary and medical facilities were uniformly inadequate.

The SSPD permitted monitoring of prison conditions by the ICRC and other observers.

SLA/Minni Minawi continued to operate detention centers in North Darfur, including in Dar al Salaam, Zam Zam, and Shagil Tobaya. UNAMID reported that detainees were held in poor conditions. The SLA and other rebel groups allowed the ICRC access to some detainees during the year.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

The Interim National Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention without charge however, the government continued to arbitrarily arrest and detain persons, often under the National Security Act. In Southern Sudan, arbitrary arrests and detention were common. While the law does not provide the SPLA with arrest powers, the SPLA arrested and detained persons.

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

Several government entities have responsibility for internal security including the police, the NISS, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Defense all had active security forces. Government security forces committed serious and widespread abuses against civilians with impunity, including in connection with the conflict in Darfur (see section 1.g.). The NISS maintains security officers in major towns and cities throughout the north, including Darfur, and also has a presence in the south. The NISS also controlled the Central Reserve Police (CRP). The CRP committed abuses in Darfur, including, for example, the August 25 killings of 33 IDPs at Kalma Camp. The SAF, under the Ministry of Defense, attacked civilian targets in Darfur. The Ministry of Defense's Border Intelligence Force (BIF), a loosely-organized force composed of former janjaweed fighters in Darfur, also committed abuses. Fighting between BIF and other security forces in Darfur resulted in civilian deaths.

Police corruption was a problem, and some police officers supplemented their incomes by extorting bribes.

The SPSS has responsibility for law enforcement in the south under the interim GOSS constitution. The SPSS lacked resources and capacity. Police reports were often incomplete, if used, files frequently misplaced, and suspects frequently detained based on accusations rather than official investigations. Police corruption, impunity, and lack of effectiveness were problems. There were reports of retaliation against persons who complained about police abuses.

The SPLA does not have law enforcement authority under the interim GOSS constitution, except when requested by civil authorities due to necessity however, the SPLA detained persons, including in SPLA-run detention facilities.
UNMIS regularly trained SSPS and SPLA personnel on a wide-range of security-related subjects during the year, but limited GOSS resources hampered the effectiveness of the training programs.

Warrants are not required for an arrest. The Criminal Code permits authorities to detain individuals for three days without charge, which can be extended for 30 days by order of the director of security and another 30 days with the approval of the prosecuting attorney. Under the National Security Act, which superseded the Criminal Code, an individual accused of violating national security may be detained for three months without charge, and the director of security may extend this period for another three months. In practice, indefinite detentions were common. The law provides for the individual to be informed of the charges at the time of arrest and for judicial determination without undue delay, but these provisions were rarely followed.

The law allows for bail, except for those accused of crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment, and there was a functioning bail system in the north. Southern Sudan had no functioning bail system suspects granted bail in exceptional cases were generally required to post exorbitant amounts as bond.

Although the law provides for access to a lawyer, government security forces often held persons incommunicado for long periods in unknown locations without access to lawyers or family members. Following arrests of an unknown number of Darfuris in Khartoum and Omdurman after the May 10 JEM attack, lawyers belonging to the Darfur Bar Association volunteered to represent the detainees, but authorities severely restricted their access to the detainees and arrested some defense lawyers. Southern Sudan had fewer than 60 practicing defense lawyers, and no system of legal assistance.

Individuals were arbitrarily arrested and detained. The NISS committed numerous arbitrary arrests. Authorities often detained persons for a few days before releasing them without charge, but many persons were held for much longer.

Foreigners in Southern Sudan, generally Ugandans or Kenyans, were held for long periods without trial authorities required the families of juveniles to sign for their release, resulting in indefinite detention for some juveniles from foreign countries.

Journalists and NGO members were arrested, detained, and tortured during the year.

Unlike in previous years, there were no reports of religious leaders being arrested and beaten.

There were reports that some businessmen were held in detention without due process for failure to pay back large loans to Sudanese financial institutions.

Security forces in the north often targeted southern women in IDP camps because they produced and sold traditional home brewed alcohol beverages these women were arrested and imprisoned for up to six months under Shari'a.

Women in Southern Sudan were frequently arrested and detained on suspicion of adultery.

Lengthy pretrial detention was common. Trial delays were caused by large numbers of detainees and judicial inefficiency, such as the failure of judges to appear for court. In Southern Sudan, trial delays also resulted in unreasonably lengthy pretrial detentions, and persons were not provided prompt access to lawyers.

The government routinely imposed house arrest without due process.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
Although the Interim National Constitution and the law provide for an independent judiciary, the judiciary was largely subservient to the president or the security forces, particularly in cases of alleged crimes against the state. The judiciary was inefficient and subject to corruption.

An executive-level judiciary committee recommends and the president appoints the chief justice and justices of the Supreme Court. The president appoints the Constitutional Court's seven members. On occasion courts displayed a degree of independence. However, political interference with the courts was commonplace.

The judicial system includes four types of courts: regular, military, special, and tribal. In the regular court system, there are civil and criminal courts, appeals courts, and the Supreme Court. Military courts tried only military personnel and did not provide the same rights as civilian and criminal courts. Special courts existed in Darfur under the state of emergency to try crimes against the state. There were three such courts, one in each Darfur state capital however, the courts did not function during the year. Tribal courts functioned in rural areas to resolve disputes over land and water rights, and family matters.

In August the Ministry of Justice appointed a special prosecutor for crimes in Darfur, Nimr Ibrahim Mohamed. Human rights observers asserted that the special prosecutor was biased in favor of the ruling party, and that the process was not credible. The special prosecutor did not begin judicial proceedings against any persons for crimes in Darfur by year's end.

Antiterrorism courts were set up to try persons arrested in connection with the May 10 JEM attack on Omdurman. Persons tried under these courts did not have the same rights as those tried in regular courts.

In the south the GOSS employed a judicial system of traditional chiefs' courts, payam (district) courts, county judges, regional judges, and a court of appeals. Traditional courts have been formalized and integrated into the judicial system. The court system did not function in many areas due to lack of infrastructure, communications, funding, and an ineffective police force. The GOSS recognized traditional courts or courts of elders, which applied customary law to most cases in remote and rural areas of the south, including domestic matters and criminal cases.

The Interim National Constitution and law provide for fair and prompt trials as well as a presumption of innocence however, this was often not respected. Trials were open to the public at the discretion of the judge. In cases of national security and offenses against the state, trials were usually closed. Juries are not used. The accused normally has the right to an attorney, and the courts are required to provide free legal counsel for indigent defendants accused of crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment. Defendants and their attorneys generally had the right to present evidence and witnesses to be present in court to confront accusers and had access to government-held evidence relevant to their cases. However, there were reports that defendants frequently did not receive legal counsel, and that counsel in some cases could only advise the defendant and not address the court. There were reports that the government sometimes did not allow the calling of defense witnesses. Defendants have a right to appeal, except in military trials, where there is no appeal.

In both the north and south, women were usually not allowed to testify as witnesses without the backing of three men.

Lawyers wishing to practice were required to maintain membership in the government-controlled Sudanese Bar Association. The government continued to arrest and harass members of the legal profession whom it considered political opponents, and did not allow the Darfur Bar Association to register as an NGO.

Military trials, which sometimes were secret and brief, did not provide procedural safeguards. For example, the defendant's attorney could advise the defendant, but could not address the court. Witnesses may be permitted to appear at military trials.

During the year the Ministry of Justice tried suspects, including children, in connection with the May 10 JEM attacks in antiterrorism courts under the Terrorism Act of 2001. Authorities did not permit defense lawyers consistent access to their clients frequently changed venues and admission procedures at the last minute and did not fully identify all the suspects. In August the court sentenced 42 defendants to death on charges of subverting the state and engaging in terrorism, and trials of 87 additional suspects were ongoing at year's end. Defense lawyers for the accused claimed that two were mentally ill. Nine children were tried in the courts: four of them were acquitted and released the trials of five were ongoing and one was sentenced to death and had on ongoing appeal.

The Special Courts Act created special three person security courts to deal with violations of constitutional decrees, emergency regulations, and some sections of the Penal Code, as well as drug and currency offenses. Special courts, composed primarily of civilian judges, handled most security related cases.

Shari'a is applied in the north, but not in the south, under the Interim National Constitution. However, some judges in the south reportedly continued to follow Shari'a legal procedures. In the south, traditional or customary law was often used.

In Southern Sudan, according to the UN, most persons sentenced to death had not had adequate legal representation.

In parts of the south and the Nuba Mountains, where civil authorities and institutions did not operate, there were no effective judicial procedures beyond customary courts. According to credible reports, military units in those areas summarily tried and punished those accused of crimes, especially of offenses against civil order.

Political Prisoners and Detainees
The government held an undetermined number of political detainees. Security forces detained without charge, abused, and held incommunicado political opponents. Detentions of such persons often were prolonged.

The NISS arrested and detained large numbers of Darfuris in May and June following the May 10 JEM attack on Omdurman. Human rights organizations claimed that while most of the detainees were released, the government continued to hold several hundred detainees without charges at year's end.

Several members of SLA/Minni Minawi were arrested at their homes, beaten, and detained overnight following the May 10 JEM attack. Hassan al Turabi, leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP), was also arrested and detained for 12 hours after the attack.

PCP members were detained for short periods of time members arrested in previous years remained in detention. Journalists and lawyers active in the PCP were also detained.

The government arrested and detained journalists.

The government did not permit international humanitarian organizations to have access to political detainees.

Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies

There was access to a court for lawsuits seeking damages for human rights violations however, the judiciary was not independent. There were problems enforcing domestic court orders.

There were numerous ongoing disputes between the government and various churches involving confiscated church property. There were no reports of court-ordered property restitution or compensation.

There were reports that the government's Merowe Dam Implementation Unit did not compensate nomads for land it took in 2006. During the year the government closed the dam's flood gates, causing the water level to rise and civilians to be displaced. By year's end approximately 21,000 persons remained without adequate shelter or access to humanitarian assistance after refusing to settle on land provided for them, which they claimed was substandard and distant from their ancestral homelands along the Nile. In March the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan was denied access to Northern State, where she had planned to meet with communities affected by the Merowe and planned Kajbar dams. On August 23, on Sai Island, police reportedly beat persons while dispersing a protest regarding the dams.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

The Interim National Constitution and law prohibit such actions, but the government routinely violated these rights in practice.

Security forces frequently conducted searches without warrants and targeted persons suspected of political crimes.

In Darfur, throughout the year, government armed forces and aligned militia continued to bomb and burn villages, loot property, and attacked IDPs (see section 1.g.).

Police often entered IDP areas without a warrant in search of illegal alcohol brewing and often seized property unrelated to brewing. Police also extorted money from illegal alcohol brewers by threatening them with prison.

The government monitored private communication and movement of individuals without legal process. A wide network of government informants conducted surveillance in schools, universities, markets, workplaces, and neighborhoods.

In several areas the government sought to forcibly resettle or displace local populations. There were no developments in the case of 12,000 persons displaced during the 2006 demolition of a squatter camp in Gezira State.

The use of child soldiers in Darfur was a problem (see section 1.g.).

Under Shari'a, a Muslim man may marry a non Muslim, but a Muslim woman cannot marry a non Muslim unless he converts to Islam this prohibition was not observed or enforced universally in the south or among the Nubans. Non Muslims may adopt only non Muslim children no such restrictions apply to Muslim parents.

The government detained persons for alleged violations by a member of their family.

The GOSS generally did not interfere with privacy, home, or correspondence in the south however, there were reports that rural detention centers held family members of accused persons who had fled before they could be arrested in the south.

The use of child soldiers in the south was a problem (see section 1.g.).

g. Use of Excessive Force and Other Abuses in Internal Conflicts

In Darfur fighting involving government, government-aligned militias, rebel groups, and ethnic groups continued during the year, and insecurity increased. The government and government-aligned militias continued to attack villages aerial bombardment of villages by the government continued. Humanitarian access was restricted by the government, and rebels attacked and abducted humanitarian workers. On May 10, JEM rebels attacked Omdurman, near Khartoum. On November 12, President Bashir announced a cease-fire in Darfur however, government and rebel attacks continued. Intertribal violence also continued.

A UN Panel of Experts report found that Chadian armed groups operate openly in Darfur, and are supplied and supported by Sudanese authorities. The panel noted that the NISS reportedly provides vehicles, weapons, and fuel to Chadian rebels and that Chadian rebels receive training in Darfur, including in SAF-controlled areas. Several Chadian rebel groups were observed operating openly in West Darfur. The panel frequently saw vehicles of the Chadian rebel group Union of Forces for Democracy and Development entering and leaving government installations.

Attacks and other acts of violence by all parties to the conflict resulted in widespread civilian deaths and injuries, displacement, and property destruction. The use of rape as a weapon of war and recruitment of child soldiers continued to be widespread.

Government forces and government-aligned militias engaged in the deliberate killing of civilians, including continued aerial bombardment of civilian targets, such as homes, schools, and markets. According to several UN reports, the government painted white the aircraft used to conduct bombing raids and transport arms to Darfur, the same color as UN aircraft, in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1591. The aerial bombardment of villages was often followed by ground attacks by janjaweed and SAF vehicles.

The SAF bombed rebel-held villages in West Darfur, displacing tens of thousands of civilians and killing many others. For example, on January 7, 12, and 24, the SAF and supporting militias attacked and burned Seraf Jidad village, killing 26 civilians. On February 8, the SAF bombed the towns of Abu Suruj, Silea, and Sirba--SAF and militia ground attacks followed at least 115 persons were killed. In Silea attackers also killed two NGO workers. A UN report noted that the SAF and armed militias committed "violations of international humanitarian and human rights law against the civilian populations of Seraf Jidad, Sirba, Silea, and Abu Suruj." In February the SAF also conducted several aerial bombings of JEM positions in and around Jebel Moon, displacing thousands, including some to Chad, and killing at least 20 civilians.

During the year aerial bombardments of villages in North Darfur killed civilians. For example, government bombing of Madu and Mou on March 29, and of Shegeg Karo on May 4, killed civilians. On September 3, SAF aircraft bombed the villages of Birmaza and Diza the bombings and follow-up ground attacks killed at least 20 civilians.

The government attacked IDPs, killing and injuring many. On August 25, at Kalma IDP Camp, South Darfur, the CRP killed 33 IDPs and injured 108 IDPs when they opened fire on a group of IDPs assembled to prevent a search of the camp. On October 9, government forces attacked Nertiti IDP Camp, injuring civilians.

There was no evidence that the government prosecuted or otherwise penalized attacking militias. Government forces provided support, weapons, and ammunition to government-aligned militias.

Government security forces frequently fired on uniformed rebels in civilian areas, including those of DPA signatories. During a two-week period in May, 14 fighters with SLA/Minni Minawi were killed in North Darfur, including seven at a police checkpoint near the village of Dar Al Salaam.

Conflicts between different government security forces resulted in civilian casualties.

On April 9, janjaweed working in the BIF rode into the El Fasher market on horseback to protest unpaid salaries, and killed one civilian in the ensuing gun battle with local police.

In July fighting between BIF and CRP forces in South Darfur killed one civilian.

On August 28, fighting between the CRP and BIF in the South Darfur town of Mershing killed one civilian and wounded eight.

Conflicts among different rebel groups in Darfur resulted in civilian casualties throughout the year. On May 21, in Kafoud, North Darfur, fighting between SLA/Minni Minawi and SLA/Free Will killed 13 civilians and injured eight.

There were developments in the September 2007 case of several hundred unidentified rebels who attacked an African Union Mission in Sudan camp in Haskanita, South Darfur, killing 10 peacekeepers and wounding many more. On November 20, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for three rebel commanders for war crimes pertaining to this attack the names of the rebel commanders were not released by year's end. On December 9, the ICC pretrial chamber requested that the prosecutor first submit additional information.

Unknown assailants killed 12 UNAMID peacekeeping troops during the year.

For example, on July 8, hundreds of well-armed fighters ambushed a UNAMID convoy east of Shagil Tobaya in an attack lasting several hours seven peacekeepers and police officers were killed and 22 wounded. By year's end no suspects had been arrested and no specific rebel groups had been formally accused of attacking the convoy.

On July 10, a UNAMID officer was killed in his vehicle in West Darfur by unknown assailants.

Intertribal fighting also resulted in the killings of civilians, particularly in South Darfur.

For example, fighting in June between the Tarjam and Benihalba Arab tribes in South Darfur resulted in more than 100 deaths, including of a Benihalba sheikh who had attempted to mediate between the two parties. SAF aerial bombardment of Benihalba villages following the fighting resulted in an unknown number of deaths.

In July and August, in South Darfur, fighting between the Rizeigat and Misseriya Arab tribes killed at least 60 persons.

In October, near Abu Dangal village and Muhajeria town, in South Darfur, interethnic fighting and ethnic militia attacks destroyed villages, killed persons, and displaced thousands.

Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture

All parties to the conflict perpetrated acts of torture and abuse. The government abused persons detained after armed conflict as well as IDPs suspected of having links to rebel groups. There were continued reports that janjaweed, rebels, and government security forces raped women and children.

In 2005 the UN noted the "widespread and systematic" prevalence of sexual violence in Darfur directed against women and girls, and this trend continued during the year. Women and girls in IDP camps frequently reported rapes by "men in uniform," and their assailants generally beat them and threatened to kill them.

For example, there were reports that janjaweed raped children during the February 8 SAF attacks in West Darfur. In March, in Nyala, government soldiers raped two 14-year-old girls. On August 19, an IDP spokesman reported that janjaweed raped two girls and one woman after they left the camp to gather firewood. UNAMID reported that armed men in uniform raped two girls, age 11 and 12, in November in North Darfur.

Authorities often obstructed access to justice for rape victims, and during the year only one person was convicted of rape in Darfur.

A report by the Darfur Consortium documented several cases from 2003 to 2007 in which the janjaweed abducted persons for varying lengths of time, and raped or used them for forced labor. The report also cites other such incidents involving the SAF and the Popular Defense Forces (PDF).

Recruitment of child soldiers remained a serious problem in Darfur.

A 2007 UN report cited the SAF, police including the CRP, janjaweed, government-aligned PDF, and Darfur rebel groups JEM, the SLA/Gasim, the SLA/Free Will, the SLA/Minni Minawi, the SLA/Abdul Wahid, and the SLA/Shafi as recruiting or using child soldiers. The UN report also cited recruitment or use of child soldiers by Chadian rebel forces operating inside Sudan. Darfur rebel groups also recruited child soldiers in the Sudanese refugee camps in Chad.

The JEM used child soldiers as part of the May 10 attack. Government authorities detained 109 children in connection with the attack. Most were sent to a detention facility for children after having been initially held along with adults for several days. UN officials described the conditions in the separate facility as good. However, some children were not sent to the separate facility and were detained with adults. Ninety-nine of the children were pardoned and released four were tried, acquitted and released five had ongoing trials and remained detained and one, who was given a death sentence, was going through an appeal process.

In June 2007 UNICEF signed an action plan with SLA/Minni Minawi that committed the rebel group to identify locations of child soldiers however, SLA/Minni Minawi continued to use child soldiers. In August UNAMID officers visited an SLA/Minni Minawi encampment and observed numerous boys bearing arms intermingled with older soldiers.

Other Conflict-Related Abuses

All parties to the conflict obstructed the work of humanitarian organizations, caused the displacement of approximately 315,000 civilians during the year, and abused IDPs.

The government continued to restrict and obstruct humanitarian assistance to Darfur, despite the March 2007 Joint Communique between the government and the UN.

Government forces frequently harassed NGOs that received international assistance. The government often shut down NGO offices restricted or denied humanitarian assessments copied NGO files confiscated NGO property questioned humanitarian workers at length monitored humanitarian workers' personal correspondence and publicly accused humanitarian workers of being "spies," "Western agents," and "workers for Israel."

The government frequently changed procedures pertaining to NGOs operating in Darfur.

Government officials did not issue visas and travel permits for international humanitarian workers on a timely basis despite agreements to do so.

Policy discrepancies between Darfur state-level and Khartoum-based officials in the Humanitarian Affairs Commission (HAC) adversely affected humanitarian operations.

The HAC continued to request that NGOs refrain from interviewing or selecting staff unless they used a five-person government selection panel and had HAC officials present, significantly delaying the hiring of new staff in Darfur.

The HAC also continued to impose new additional requirements on humanitarian organizations during the year, including for medical supply documentation, regional and local governmental approvals, and travel.

On January 7, near Tine, SAF personnel shot at a UNAMID convoy, injuring a driver and damaging an armored personnel carrier and diesel tanker.

Rebel forces and bandits obstructed humanitarian assistance, regularly attacked the compounds of humanitarian organizations, and seized humanitarian aid, assets, and vehicles. Attacks against humanitarian convoys increased during the year. Instability forced many international aid organizations to scale back their operations in Darfur.

According to the UN, bandits and other armed persons killed 11 humanitarian workers, abducted 189 staff, hijacked 261 vehicles, and broke into 172 humanitarian compounds during the year as of November 30.

In May increased attacks on humanitarian convoys forced the World Food Program (WFP) to cut food rations in Darfur by 50 percent. WFP was able to restore full rations by year's end due to relative improvements in the security situation and the opening of alternative road corridors with the end of the rainy season.

According to the UN, nearly 2.7 million civilians have been internally displaced, and approximately 250,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Chad since the conflict in Darfur began in 2003. Despite the signing of the DPA in May 2006, continued attacks and violence in Darfur, perpetrated by all parties to the conflict, resulted in 315,000 new displacements during the year, and some existing IDPs were displaced for the second or third time. Darfur IDPs did not return in any significant numbers to their places of origin, although small-scale spontaneous returns to certain villages occurred.

There were numerous reports of abuses committed by security forces, rebels, and militias against IDPs, including rapes, beatings, and attempts by the government to forcibly return relocated persons to other sites. There were credible reports that the government harassed IDPs in Darfur who spoke with foreign observers.

Insecurity in Darfur, especially outside of IDP camps, restricted IDPs' freedom of movement women and girls who left the town and camps risked sexual violence.

On May 12, the CRP burned the market and several homes in Rwanda IDP Camp, causing camp residents to flee.

The government forced IDPs to relocate to alternative IDP camps or other sites.

Following several days of interethnic clashes inside Kalma IDP Camp, on October 20 the governor of South Darfur announced plans to divide the camp into nine smaller camps. At year's end, approximately 20,000 of the estimated 90,000 residents had left the camp as a result of the clashes. According to the International Organization on Migration, Sudanese security forces and the government's Humanitarian Affairs Commission forcibly relocated approximately 500 IDP households between October 26 and October 28.

Kalma Camp representatives accused the local government of shifting the course of a major river in Nyala, causing it to flow through the camp and displacing thousands of IDPs within the camp.

There were reports that the government forced or coerced IDPs to return to their villages by promising food and money however, most IDPs who returned to the villages to receive the assistance later returned to the IDP camps. Government attempts to resettle IDPs were generally unsuccessful.

The government provided little assistance or protection to IDPs in Darfur. Most IDP camps had no functioning police force.

In October government authorities arrested a Khartoum journalist who translated an elderly IDP's statement from Zaghawa into Arabic for a visiting Qatari envoy he was later released.

International observers noted that criminal gangs aligned with rebel groups operated openly in several IDP camps, as well as operated back-and-forth across the border with Chad.

Tensions over CPA implementation persisted. Civilians were killed and displaced by fighting in Abyei from May 14 to 22 and from December 12 to 13 LRA attacks along the country's southern border and regularly occurring intertribal fighting, including between police and SPLA soldiers of different tribes.

According to the UN, approximately 2.1 million persons returned to Southern Sudan and the Three Areas (Abyei, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile) since 2005. These persons had been displaced as a result of conflict, famine, and fighting during the north-south conflict.

Fighting between the SAF and SPLA from May 14 to 22 destroyed much of the town of Abyei, caused hundreds of casualties among combatants and civilians, and displaced more than 50,000 persons.

On June 8, the presidency endorsed the Abyei roadmap agreement. The agreement includes provisions for the deployment of new joint integrated units (units composed of SAF and SPLA forces), the return of IDPs, administration and wealth sharing, and arbitration to resolve disagreements regarding the Abyei Boundaries Commission's findings (a commission established under the CPA to define Abyei's boundaries). Implementation of the agreement was slow. By December a tribunal to arbitrate the disagreement over the ABC report had been established, its members appointed, and the government and SPLA/M had submitted briefs. On November 11, a chief administrator of Abyei and five other administration members were appointed however, the administration did not have an operating budget. New joint integrated units and police were put in place, but a small number of SPLA and SAF troops remained in the area.

On December 12 and 13, in Abyei town, clashes between joint integrated units and joint integrated police units killed approximately two civilians and caused thousands of civilians to flee the town. At year's end the joint integrated units were withdrawn from Abyei town, and the joint integrated police units were given responsibility for law enforcement.

Few of those displaced by the May 14-22 and the December 12-13 fighting returned.

In previous years members of the government-allied PDF were responsible for the deaths of numerous civilians and returning IDPs no specific information was available during the year.

Intertribal and intercommunal clashes also resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths and displacement.

On March 9 and 10, interethnic attacks in Tonj County, Warrap State killed 67, injured 117, and displaced 2,600 persons.

On April 22, 92 persons were reportedly killed during fighting between Dinka Luach of Warrap State and Dinka Pakam of Lakes State.

In April and May, in the villages of El Sunnut and Abu Junuk in Southern Kordofan State, armed conflict between Misseriya Arab and Nuba ethnic groups displaced approximately 5,000 persons.

In February fighting in Jonglei State between the SSPS and the SPLA displaced more than 3,500 persons.

A 2007 UN report cited the SAF, South Sudan Defense Forces, including those of Major-General Gabriel Tang Ginyi, the SPLA, and the Pibor Defense Forces (a local militia in the south) as recruiting or using child soldiers.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The Interim National Constitution provides for freedom of thought, expression, and of the press "as regulated by law" however, the government severely restricted these rights in practice. Restrictions on the media increased during the year. The government, through the NISS, continued to censor print and broadcast media, ban the printing of newspapers, and harass vocal critics of the government. The government controlled media through the National Press Council, which administered mandatory professional exams for journalists and editors. Journalists also practiced self-censorship.

Individuals who criticized the government publically or privately were subject to reprisal, including arrest. The government attempted to impede such criticism, and monitored political meetings.

The government directly controlled some print media outlets and exerted a great degree of control over the limited number of independent newspapers, including through direct censorship.

The government directly controlled radio and television and required that both reflect government policies. Some foreign shortwave radio broadcasts were available. A private FM radio station continued to operate, and UN radio operated throughout the country. In addition to domestic and satellite television services, there was a pay cable network, which directly rebroadcast uncensored foreign news and other programs.

The government restricted international media in the north. While some foreign journalists were denied visas, others had regular access to opposition politicians, rebels, and civil society advocates.

Journalists were subjected to arrest, harassment, intimidation, and violence due to their reporting.

In February the government detained overnight Sid Ahmed Khalifa and Adil Sid Ahmed, the editor and deputy editor of Al-Watan, after they published an article regarding the police.

On May 18, the NISS arrested Al Ghali Shegifat, a journalist for the independent Rai Al-shaab newspaper, and head of the Darfur Journalists Association. Shegifat was held for 60 days without charges, and was beaten regularly during his confinement.

On November 1, journalist Salah Bab Allah of Al Entibaha was reportedly arrested after he wrote an article on hemorrhagic fever he was later released.

On November 17, police arrested approximately 70 demonstrators, many of whom were journalists, during a protest against censorship. The protesters were subsequently released.

The government directly censored the media.

In March the NISS instituted a policy that required newspaper editors to bring their broadsheets to NISS headquarters for review before printing. Censors removed controversial articles before newspapers were printed at a government-controlled printing press.

In May three Arabic-language newspapers were shut down for refusing to comply with the NISS policy. After several days of negotiations, the NISS instituted a new policy requiring newspapers to permit NISS censors to review newspapers each evening in their respective editorial offices. Human rights lawyers estimated that censors removed an average of five press articles each day.

Authorities similarly harassed English-language newspapers whose primary readership was southerners. According to editors of The Citizen and The Khartoum Monitor, two daily newspapers printed in Khartoum, in September authorities refused the newspapers permission to print in Khartoum after both printed articles critical of the government's policy in Darfur. The editors temporarily printed The Citizen and The Khartoum Monitor in Uganda. The Sudan Tribune was also banned from printing in Khartoum on September 1 the ban was lifted approximately one week later. By year's end all three newspapers had resumed printing in Khartoum.

Authorities in Southern Sudan generally respected press freedom, although there were some reports of harassment of journalists. For example, on October 10, in Juba, GOSS authorities arrested Nhial Bol, editor of The Citizen, after he published an article regarding corruption. On October 12, he was released on bail.

The government monitored Internet communications, and the NISS read e-mail messages between private citizens. Some Web sites deemed offensive to public morality were blocked by the National Telecommunications Corporation, as were most proxy servers. While there generally were no restrictions on access to news and information Web sites, authorities briefly blocked access to youtube.com. Internet access was generally available and widely used in urban areas, but it was limited by lack of infrastructure outside of cities.

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

The government restricted academic freedom. In public universities, the government appointed the vice chancellors, who were responsible for administering the institutions. The government also determined the curriculum. Some universities required students to participate regularly in progovernment rallies and other activities. Some professors exercised self-censorship.

The government frequently censored films, especially those imported from the West, if they were deemed offensive to public morality.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Although the Interim National Constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly, the government severely restricted this right in practice. The government formally banned all rallies and public demonstrations in the country, although this was not always enforced.

Islamic orders associated with opposition political parties, particularly the Ansar (Umma Party) and Khatmiya (Democratic Unionist Party), continued to be denied permission to hold large public gatherings, but did hold regular opposition rallies on private property. Government security agents occasionally attended opposition political meetings, disrupted opposition rallies, and summoned participants to security headquarters for questioning after political meetings.

Police use of excessive force to disperse demonstrators resulted in deaths and injuries.

On May 21, SAF soldiers shot student protestors, killing two and injuring 15, at Ed Damazin SAF training camp.

On July 27, police killed two demonstrators in White Nile.

On November 17, police arrested approximately 70 demonstrators, many of whom were journalists, during a protest against censorship. The protesters were subsequently released.

Authorities took no action against security force members who used excessive force.

In the south, on November 11, in Central Equatoria State, teachers and students violently protested the nonpayment of teachers' salaries. The UN reported that two student protestors were injured during clashes with GOSS authorities, one of whom later died as a result of his injuries.

The Interim National Constitution and law provide for freedom of association, but the government severely restricted this right in practice. Although there were 20 officially registered political parties, the law effectively prohibits political parties linked to armed opposition to the government.
The government continued to harass some opposition leaders who spoke with foreign organizations or embassies.

The government did not allow the Darfur Bar Association the right to register as an NGO.

The Interim National Constitution and law provide for freedom of worship throughout the country however, the government continued to place restrictions on non-Muslims, non-Arab Muslims, and Muslims from tribes or sects not affiliated with the ruling party. The NCP, which originally came into power with a goal of Islamization, treated Islam as the state religion, declaring that Islam must inspire the country's laws, institutions, and policies.

Religious organizations, including churches, were subject to the same restrictions placed on nonreligious corporations. Although the law requires religious groups to register to be recognized or to assemble legally, registration reportedly was no longer necessary, and churches, including the Catholic Church, declined to register.

Blasphemy and defaming religion are punishable by imprisonment in the north, although these restrictions were rarely enforced.

The Commission for the Rights of Non-Muslims in the National Capital, a CPA mechanism for protecting religious freedom, issued regular reports and recommendations to the government.

The construction and use of houses of worship required government approval. Three new churches in Khartoum were under construction during the year.

Under the state-mandated curriculum, all schools in the north-&ndash including private schools operated by Christian groups-&ndashare required to teach Islamic education classes from preschool through university.

While the law permits non Muslims to convert to Islam, conversion by a Muslim is punishable by death. Authorities occasionally subjected converts to intense scrutiny, ostracism, or intimidation, or encouraged them to leave the country however, there were no reports of conversion punished by death.

Foreign Christian religious workers, including priests and teachers, experienced lengthy delays in obtaining visas.

The NISS routinely monitored religious activities at mosques and churches.

Various governmental bodies have decreed that women must dress modestly according to Islamic standards, including wearing a head covering, and there were isolated instances in which police in the north and south arrested women for their dress. However, women often appeared in public wearing trousers or with their heads uncovered. In Khartoum persons known as religious police, who were not government officials, occasionally demanded that women pay on-the-spot fines for violating Islamic standards.

In the south, Christians, Muslims, and followers of traditional indigenous beliefs generally worshiped freely. The GOSS officially favored secular government. Christians dominated the GOSS. Local government authorities often had a close relationship with local Christian religious leaders.

Societal Abuses and Discrimination

Muslims in the north who express an interest in Christianity or convert to Christianity faced severe social pressure. Christians reported pressure on children in school some teachers and media characterized non-Muslims as nonbelievers.

There were reports that some Muslims received preferential treatment regarding limited government services, such as access to medical care, and in court cases involving Muslim against non-Muslim.

Non-Arab Muslims and Muslims from tribes and sects not affiliated with the ruling party, such as in Darfur and the Nuba Mountains, stated that they were treated as second-class citizens and were discriminated against in applying for government jobs and contracts in the north and government-controlled southern areas.

The Jewish community remained small, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic violence during the year however, government officials made anti-Semitic comments, and government-controlled newspapers featured anti-Semitic caricatures.

For a more detailed discussion, see the 2008 International Religious Freedom Report at 2009-2017.state.gov/j/drl/irf/rpt.

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The Interim National Constitution and law provide for freedom of movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, but the government restricted these rights in practice.

While movement was generally unhindered for citizens outside conflict areas, foreigners needed government permission for domestic travel outside of Khartoum, which could be difficult to obtain and was sometimes refused. Foreigners were required to register with the police on entering the country, obtain permission to move more than 25 kilometers outside of Khartoum and from one city to another, and reregister at each new location within three days of arrival. The GOSS did not restrict the movement of foreigners in the south, and did not require foreigners to register upon entry.

The government continued to delay issuance of entry visas and work or travel permits for Darfur and the Three Areas to foreign NGO staff. The government delayed issuing humanitarian and diplomatic visas, and nationals of many countries encountered difficulties in obtaining visas to work with NGOs.

In contrast to previous years, there were no reports that the government detained persons, particularly opposition political figures, at the airport and prevented them from traveling, citing security concerns.

The government required citizens to obtain an exit visa to depart the country. While the issuance of exit visas was usually pro forma and not used to restrict citizens' travel, the government did deny some humanitarian workers exit visas.

Women cannot travel abroad without the permission of their husbands or male guardians however, this prohibition was not applied in the south and was not strictly enforced for members of the NCP.

The law prohibits forced exile, and the government did not use it. Opposition leaders remained in self imposed exile throughout northern Africa and Europe during the year.

Internally Displaced Persons
In Darfur, approximately 2.7 million civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began in 2003. During the year approximately 315,000 civilians were displaced within Darfur and to Chad. Many persons were displaced for the second or third time during the year (see section 1.g).

Since 2005 an estimated 2.1 million IDPs and refugees returned to the south. Approximately 28,500 IDPs returned to their places of origin and 62,000 refugees returned during the year either as a part of organized or assisted returns. Fighting in Abyei, intertribal and intercommunal fighting, and LRA attacks displaced persons during the year (see sections 1.a. and 1.g.)

Approximately 379,000 Sudanese refugees resided in neighboring countries because of the conflicts in the south and Darfur. Some 250,000 refugees from Darfur were in Chad. Others were in countries including Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Egypt.

There was a report that the government destroyed thousands of homes in an IDP settlement known as Mandela, located near Khartoum.

The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, but the government has not established a system for providing protection to refugees. In practice the government did not provide protection against the expulsion or return of refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened.

The government granted asylum to a large number of asylum seekers, but there was no standard determination procedure or documentation. Government officials reportedly were unresponsive to applications for refugee status.

In previous years there were reports of abuses against Ethiopian refugees, although there was no specific information on such actions during the year.

The government also provided temporary protection to individuals who might not qualify as refugees under the 1951 convention and the 1967 protocol.

The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian assistance organizations in assisting refugees and asylum seekers in some cases in others, the government defied agreements and targeted refugees and asylum seekers for abuse.

Child refugees did not receive free primary school education nor were they treated as citizens as required by the 1951 convention. Refugees were vulnerable to arbitrary arrests, harassment, and beatings because applicants did not receive identification cards while awaiting government determination of refugee status. Refugees could not become resident aliens or citizens, regardless of their length of stay. Refugees were not entitled to work permits.

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government

Although the Interim National Constitution provides citizens the right to change their government peacefully, the CPA established an interim government under the CPA, national elections are scheduled for 2009.

The Interim National Constitution provides for power sharing nationwide between the NCP and the SPLM. The DPA, which was incorporated into the interim constitution upon its signing, contains provisions for power sharing and the inclusion of Darfuris at all levels of government however, the majority of the power-sharing provisions in the DPA remained unimplemented at year's end.

The Interim National Constitution established a three-member presidency to head the government, consisting of a president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir (NCP) a first vice President, Salva Kiir Mayardit (SPLM), the president of the GOSS and a vice president, Ali Osman Taha (NCP), who was formerly the country's first vice president. The DPA created a fourth ranking member in the presidency, a senior assistant to the president, Minni Minawi, leader of the Darfur rebel group SLA/Minawi. Minawi returned to his troops in Darfur in July, citing lack of progress on DPA implementation, although he did not officially withdraw from the GNU he returned to his position in Khartoum by year's end.

A bicameral legislature is composed of the 450-member National Assembly and 52-member Council of States. Legislative and cabinet positions are allocated by a CPA-specified formula that reserves 52 percent of the positions for the NCP, 28 percent for the SPLM, 14 percent for northern opposition parties, including those from Darfur, and 6 percent for southern opposition parties.

GNU members took office in 2005, and in October of that year Salva Kiir Mayardit, the country's first vice president and president of the GOSS, appointed the GOSS cabinet. At the same time, Kiir appointed governors of the 10 states of Southern Sudan, and each southern state also formed its legislative assembly with 48 members allocated proportionally as stipulated in the CPA: 70 percent to the SPLM, 15 percent to the NCP, and 15 percent to other southern political groups. Southern Sudan's legislative assembly approved an interim constitution in 2005, which President Kiir signed in December of that year.

The DPA-mandated TDRA, headed by Minawi, and charged with implementing the DPA and promoting coordination and cooperation among the three Darfur states, was established in April 2007, but the government withheld 99 percent of its budget during the year.

Elections and Political Participation

Presidential and parliamentary elections were last held in 2000 they were marked by serious irregularities, including official interference, electoral fraud, insufficient opportunities for voters to register, and inadequate election monitoring. All major opposition parties boycotted the elections.

A national census, called for under the CPA to be held no later than July 2007, was conducted from April 22 to May 6. The CPA states that certain power sharing provisions of the agreement are to be adjusted based on the census results. The presidency scheduled the census for April 15 to 30, but it was further postponed until April 22 after the GOSS announced a delay due to concerns regarding the number of IDPs from the south who remained in the north, the exclusion of questions on ethnicity and religion, border demarcation, insecurity along the north-south border, and unexpected and heavy rainfall. According to the UN, the census was supported by most of the population however, the UN noted that Darfur IDPs in several camps opposed the census and did not participate areas in West Darfur and Southern Darfur were not accessible due to insecurity irregularities occurred in Southern Kordofan due to a deputy governor's decree to boycott and insecurity and logistical problems limited access of enumerators to certain areas in the south. The census results were still pending at year's end.

On July 7, a new election law was signed, but opposition activists from smaller political parties asserted that the law favored the NCP and SPLM. On November 25, the national electoral commission was formed.

The law permits the existence of political parties, but prohibits parties linked to armed opposition to the government, and the government routinely denied permission for, or disrupted, gatherings viewed as politically oriented. Security forces arrested, detained, and abused political opponents. Unlike in 2007, there were no reports that security forces raided the offices of political parties during the year.

Women had the right to vote. There were approximately 70 women in the 450-seat National Assembly, three national female state ministers, and one female minister in the GNU. The GOSS agreed to set aside 25 percent of all government positions for women, although in practice representation was far short of that goal. The DPA also includes provisions to ensure the representation of women at all levels of government however, in practice, there were few women in government in Darfur.

Government Corruption and Transparency

The law does not provide criminal penalties for official corruption, and the World Bank&rsquos 2008 Worldwide Governance Indicators reflected that corruption was a severe problem. Government officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices. The government did not investigate officials suspected of corruption. Government officials were not subject to financial disclosure laws.

There were no laws providing for public access to government information, and the government did not provide such access.

In Southern Sudan GOSS officials often engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Corruption was a problem in all branches of the GOSS.

The GOSS granted access to government information for citizens and noncitizens, including foreign media.

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

The government restricted and harassed domestic and international human rights organizations.

Various local human rights groups were active in the country, but they suffered from government harassment, particularly those groups reporting on sexual violence. The government was generally uncooperative with and unresponsive to domestic human rights groups. Members of local human rights organizations were subject to arrest and detention. Local human rights organizations include the Khartoum Center for Human Rights and the Sudan Development Organization.

The government did not allow the Darfur Bar Association the right to register as an NGO.

Humanitarian NGOs operating in Darfur continued to face bureaucratic impediments to their work, especially in South Darfur state. All NGOs must register with the HAC, the government's entity for regulating humanitarian efforts. In 2005 the HAC assumed a role in hiring NGO national staff, which caused major delays in hiring new staff for Darfur and resulted in some NGO selections not being considered. During the year the HAC often changed its rules and regulations without prior notification.

There were no developments in the 2007 case of more than 50 local human rights NGOs suspended by the South Darfur HAC.

The government continued to use bureaucratic impediments to restrict the actions of humanitarian organizations, despite the March 2007 Joint Communique between the government and the UN. Rebels and other armed bandits abducted NGO workers and contractors, particularly in Darfur. Banditry and armed robbery of humanitarian convoys by rebel groups in Darfur was common.

The UN continued to investigate the humanitarian situation in Darfur. The UNHCR and the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan visited the country during the year. The special rapporteur was not permitted access to Northern State. The rapporteur reported to the UN on conditions in the country and concluded that, "Despite some steps by the Government of Sudan principally in the area of law reform, the human rights situation on the ground remains grim, with many interlocutors even reporting an overall deterioration in the country." UNMIS deployed observers to Darfur to monitor and investigate the human rights situation.

The government's Advisory Council for Human Rights did not respond to requests of international organizations for investigations into human rights violations, and did not provide lists of detained individuals to the international community.

In Southern Sudan, the South Sudan Council for Human Rights operated somewhat independently. Its members were appointed by the president of the GOSS. The council cooperated with international human rights advocates and submitted regular reports and recommendations to the GOSS.

In 2005 UN Security Council Resolution 1593 referred the situation in Darfur to the prosecutor of the ICC. The same year the ICC chief prosecutor opened an investigation into Darfur without the cooperation of the government, which refused to hand over any alleged perpetrators associated with the conflict.

On November 20, the ICC prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for three rebel commanders for war crimes pertaining to the 2007 attack on African Union peacekeepers at Haskanita. On December 9, the ICC Pretrial Chamber requested that the prosecutor submit additional information pertaining to the request for a warrant.

On July 14, the ICC prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for President Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Darfur. On October 15, the pretrial chamber requested that the prosecutor submit additional information pertaining to the request for a warrant, and the prosecutor did so in November.

In April 2007 the ICC Pretrial Chamber issued warrants of arrest for Ahmad Muhammad Haroun, state minister for humanitarian affairs, and Ali Muhammad Abd al-Rahman, also known as "Ali Kushayb," a janjaweed militia commander, for the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. In September government officials announced they arrested Kushayb, but human rights advocates indicated that the information was not correct. Kushayb's whereabouts were unknown at the end of the year.

Section 5 Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

The Interim National Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race and gender, but the government did not effectively enforce these provisions. The law does not address discrimination based on disability, language, or social status.

The punishment for rape under the law varies from 100 lashes to 10 years' imprisonment to death however, the government did not effectively enforce these provisions. In most rape cases convictions were not publicized however, observers believed that sentences often were less than the legal maximum. Spousal rape is not addressed in the law. There was no information available on the total number of persons who were prosecuted, convicted, or punished for rape.

Rape of women and girls throughout the country, including systematic rape in Darfur, continued to be a serious problem (see section 1.g.). Authorities often obstructed access to justice for rape victims, and during the year only one person was convicted of rape in Darfur.

Many victims did not report their cases either to family or authorities for fear they would be punished or arrested for "illegal pregnancy." The police arrested unmarried pregnant women who claimed to have been raped. Unless a rape victim could provide proof of the crime, she could be charged with the capital offense of adultery.

The law does not specifically prohibit domestic violence. Violence, including spousal abuse, against women was common, although there were no reliable statistics on its prevalence. Women who filed claims were subjected to accusations of lying or spreading false information, harassment, or detention, which made many women reluctant to file formal complaints, although such abuse constituted grounds for divorce. The police normally did not intervene in domestic disputes. Statistics on the number of abusers prosecuted, convicted, or punished were not available. Prostitution is illegal but widespread throughout the country.

While no law specifically prohibits sexual harassment, the law does prohibit gross indecency, which is defined as any act contrary to another person's modesty. The penalty for gross indecency is imprisonment of up to one year and 40 lashes. Harassment reportedly occurred, although reliable statistics were not available. There were frequent reports of sexual harassment by police in Darfur and elsewhere.

Some aspects of the law discriminated against women, including many traditional legal practices and certain provisions of Shari'a as interpreted and applied by the government. In accordance with Shari'a, a Muslim widow inherits one-eighth of her husband's estate of the remaining seven eighths, two-thirds goes to the sons and one-third to the daughters. It is much easier for men than for women to initiate legal divorce proceedings.

A Muslim woman cannot legally marry a non-Muslim unless he converts to Islam. This prohibition usually was neither observed nor enforced in areas of the south or among Nubans (most of whom were Muslim).

Traditional or customary courts in the south routinely imprisoned women for lengthy pretrial detention on allegations of adultery.

Women cannot travel abroad without the permission of their husbands or male guardians however, this prohibition was not enforced strictly.

To obtain an exit visa, children must receive the permission of their father or a paternal uncle. Women cannot apply for exit visas for their children.

Various governmental bodies have decreed that women must dress modestly according to Islamic standards, including wearing a head covering, and there were isolated instances in which police in the north and south arrested women for their dress. However, women often appeared in public wearing trousers or with their heads uncovered. In Khartoum, persons known as religious police, who were not government officials, occasionally demanded that women pay on-the-spot fines for violating Islamic standards.

Women experienced economic discrimination in access to employment, credit, and pay for substantially similar work, and owning or managing businesses.

Women were accepted in professional roles more than half the professors at Khartoum University were women.

The government was somewhat committed to children's rights and welfare, but there were great disparities by region. The government cooperated with UNICEF on the issues of child health, FGM, and child soldiers however, significant problems continued.

The government did not register all births immediately.

The law provides for free basic education up to eighth grade however, students often had to pay school, uniform, and exam fees. In the north the primary school enrollment rate was approximately 68 percent in 2005. Boys and girls generally had equal access to primary education, although girls were more affected by early marriage and the fact that many families with restricted income chose to send sons and not daughters to school. In Darfur information on enrollment rates was unavailable, but few children outside of cities had access to primary education. Primary school enrollment in the south tripled since 2005, according to UNICEF however, lack of schools remained a serious problem in the south, and girls in the south did not have equal access to education.

In 2005 UNICEF reported that in Southern Sudan, which has an estimated population of seven million, only approximately 500 girls completed primary school each year the primary school completion rate for girls was estimated at 1 percent.

Many children were abused, abducted, or used as slaves. Child labor remained a problem.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) remained widespread, particularly in the north, where a 2005 UNICEF estimate put prevalence at 90 percent. The law does not prohibit FGM. While a growing number of urban, educated families no longer practiced FGM, there were reports that the prevalence of FGM in Darfur had increased as persons moved to cities. The government actively campaigned against it. Several NGOs worked to eradicate FGM.

The law establishes the legal age of marriage as 10 for girls and 15 or puberty for boys. There were no reliable statistics on the extent of child marriage, but child marriage was a problem.

Child prostitution, trafficking of children, and sexual abuse of children remained problems, particularly in the south. Children engaged in prostitution for survival, usually without third-party involvement.

Children were used as soldiers in armed groups (see section 1.g.).

Internally displaced children often lacked access to government services such as education.

The government operated "reformation camps" for vagrant children. Police typically sent homeless children who had committed crimes to these camps, where they were detained for indefinite periods. Health care and schooling at the camps generally were poor, and basic living conditions often were primitive. All of the children in the camps, including non Muslims, must study the Koran, and there was pressure on non Muslims to convert to Islam.

The law does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, but does prohibit abduction, luring, and forced labor. The Interim National Constitution prohibits slavery. The State of Emergency Law prohibits all forms of sexual exploitation, and penalties include fines and imprisonment. However, internal trafficking for the purposes of forced labor, sexual exploitation, and domestic servitude occurred. Women and girls were also possibly trafficked to Middle Eastern countries for domestic servitude. Ethiopian women were trafficked to and through the country for domestic servitude. In the south, intertribal abduction of women and children continued.

There were no informed estimates on the extent of trafficking.

Government and other armed groups continued to recruit child soldiers (see section 1.g.).

The LRA, which used child soldiers, continued to operate in the south despite its 2006 signing of an agreement to cease hostilities. The LRA abducted adults and children in the south.

In contrast to previous years, there were no reports of children being trafficked for use as camel jockeys.

A report by the Darfur Consortium documented several cases from 2003 to 2007 in which the janjaweed abducted persons for varying lengths of time, and raped or used them for forced labor. The report also cites other such incidents involving the SAF and the PDF.

Intertribal abductions of women and children continued in the south. Victims frequently became part of the new tribe, with most women marrying into, or being forcibly married into, the new tribe however, other victims were used for labor or sexual purposes.

The government's Committee to Eradicate the Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC) and its 22 joint tribal committees investigated a limited number of abduction cases involving Dinkas abducted by the Misseriya and Rezeigat tribes that dated back to the 1980s and 1990s, and repatriated 228 individuals to their home regions during the year. However, there were problems with the return process, including the insufficient provision of food, water, shelter, and reintegration services to the released abductees these problems were not resolved by year's end. The government acknowledged that abductions occurred and that abductees were sometimes forced into domestic servitude and sexual exploitation.

In 2007 the governments of Sudan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an agreement establishing claims facilities to compensate former Sudanese child camel jockeys for their injuries. UNICEF and the government's National Council for Child Welfare estimated that 219 former child camel jockeys were repatriated from the UAE during the year, and the government began compensation programs for them. A police task force assisted in repatriation efforts.

There were no prosecutions of trafficking cases during the year.

The government conducted antitrafficking public information and education campaigns at the national, state, and local levels.

The State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report can be found at 2009-2017.state.gov/j/tip.

Persons with Disabilities

While the law does not specifically prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities, it does stipulate that "the state shall guarantee to persons with special needs the enjoyment of all the rights and freedoms set out in the constitution, access to suitable education, employment, and full participation in society." The government has not enacted laws or implemented effective programs to ensure access to buildings for persons with disabilities. Credible sources noted that prisoners with mental disabilities were chained 24 hours per day, and mentally disabled prisoners were not exempted from trial.

The population is a multiethnic mix of more than 500 Arab and African tribes with numerous languages and dialects. Northern Muslims traditionally dominated the government. Interethnic fighting in Darfur was between Muslims who consider themselves either Arab or non-Arab (see section 1.g.). Interethnic and intercommunal fighting in the south continued (see section 1.g.).

The Muslim majority and the government continued to discriminate against ethnic minorities in almost every aspect of society in the north. Citizens in Arabic speaking areas who did not speak Arabic experienced discrimination in education, employment, and other areas. There also were reports of discrimination against Arabs and Muslims by individuals in the Christian-dominated south.

Other Societal Abuses and Discrimination

The law prohibits homosexuality, but there were no reports of persons being prosecuted on the charge. Societal, but not official, discrimination existed against homosexuals.

There were no reports of societal violence or discrimination based on HIV/AIDS status.

Incitement to Acts of Discrimination

The government and government supported militias actively promoted hatred and discrimination, using standard propaganda techniques to incite tribal violence. Credible sources noted that the government supported one tribe over another, arming certain tribal militias against other tribes.

a. The Right of Association

Although the law provides for the right of association for economic and trade union purposes, the government denied this right in practice. The Trade Union Act established a trade union monopoly under the government. Only the government-controlled Sudan Workers Trade Union Federation, which consists of 25 state unions and 22 industry unions, can function legally all other unions were banned.

Strikes were considered illegal unless the government granted approval, which has never occurred. In most cases employees who tried to strike were subject to employment termination however, workers went on strike during the year and were not terminated.

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The law denies trade unions autonomy to exercise the right to organize or to bargain collectively. The law defines the objectives, terms of office, scope of activities, and organizational structures and alliances for labor unions. The government's auditor general supervised union funds because they were considered public money.

There were credible reports that the government routinely intervened to manipulate professional, trade union, and student union elections.

Specialized labor courts adjudicated standard labor disputes, but the Ministry of Labor has the authority to refer a dispute to compulsory arbitration.

The law does not prohibit antiunion discrimination by employers.

There is one export processing zone, in Port Sudan, and it is exempt from regular labor laws.

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, including by children however, such practices continued.

Abduction, forced labor, and sexual slavery of women and children continued.

Although the government continued to deny that slavery and forced labor existed in the country, CEAWC acknowledged that abductions had occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, and that not all abductees had since been freed.

The forcible recruitment of persons into armed groups continued (see section 1.g.).

Forced prison labor was used for the construction of private residences for SPLM officials.

d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

Although mandated by the Interim National Constitution to protect children from exploitation, the government did not effectively do so, and child labor was a serious problem. The legal minimum age for workers was 18 years, but the law was not enforced in practice. Child labor in the agricultural sector was common. Children were engaged in shining shoes, washing cars, street vending, begging, herding animals, construction, and other menial labor.

The use of child soldiers, child trafficking, and child prostitution were problems (see sections 1.g. and 4).

The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women, and Child Affairs has responsibility for enforcing child labor laws however, enforcement was ineffective.

In the south, child labor laws were rarely enforced.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The minimum wage was 124 Sudanese pounds (approximately $62) per month, which did not provide a worker and family a decent standard of living. The Ministry of Labor, which maintained field offices in most major cities, was responsible for enforcing the minimum wage, which employers generally respected. Due to a lack of capacity and difficulties in establishing the new government in the south, civil service workers, including teachers, often worked for long periods without getting paid.

The law, which was generally respected, limits the workweek to 40 hours (five eight-hour days), with days of rest on Friday and Saturday. Overtime should not exceed 12 hours per week or four hours per day. There was no prohibition on excessive compulsory overtime.

Although the laws prescribe health and safety standards, working conditions generally were poor, and enforcement by the Ministry of Labor was minimal. The right of workers to remove themselves from dangerous work situations without loss of employment is not recognized.

In the south, the Ministry of Labor and Public Services is responsible for monitoring health and safety standards for workers however, it did not do so effectively.


Shift Towards Engagement

In a significant about-face in 2015, Sudan expelled several Iranian groups from Khartoum and joined Saudi Arabia’s military operations in Yemen. The United Arab Emirates has provided large loans, and Saudi Arabian businesses have around US$15 million in investments in Sudan.[19] In 2016, Sudan severed diplomatic relations with Iran.[20]

Sudan has persistently lobbied the US to roll back sanctions, which after renewed diplomatic talks in 2016 resulted in President Obama’s decision to reverse the two-decade policy of comprehensive economic sanctions in January 2017.[21] According to a US Treasury statement, the decision was “the result of sustained progress by the Government of Sudan on several fronts,” including “a marked reduction in offensive military activity, a pledge to maintain a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in Sudan, steps toward improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism and addressing regional conflicts.”[22]

At the same time, Sudan also embarked on new engagements with the EU, which launched a regional program for migration management in sub-Saharan Africa in 2014 via bilateral partnerships with African states and regional projects under the Khartoum Process.[23] In 2016, the EU announced €100 million (approximately $106 million) to Sudan in a “special support measure.”[24]

EU officials now refer publicly to Sudan as a “partner” nation and have highlighted debt relief as a key incentive to offer in exchange for further cooperation.[25] While additional funding has yet to be disbursed, civil society has criticized the EU project for de-prioritizing human rights in favor of meeting migration targets.[26] In recent months, it appears to have emboldened the government’s most abusive actors.[27]


Human Rights Violations in Sudan

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the ongoing human rights and humanitarian crisis in Sudan.

Even as Sudan’s conflicts have faded from the international headlines in recent years, many experts believe that the situation in Sudan is deteriorating. A recent UN report indicated that the conflict “threatened to produce levels of violence, chaos, and confusion not seen in Darfur since 2004.” More than a decade after the conflict began in Darfur, over 2.4 million people are displaced internally, with nearly half a million displaced in 2014 alone. The threat of violence prevents some 370,000 Darfur refugees in Chad from returning to their homes. The fighting in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states has been ongoing since 2011. Relief agencies like Medecins Sans Frontieres report increasingly difficult operating conditions and restrictions imposed by the government. On January 20th of this year, Sudanese forces bombed a hospital in Southern Kordofan operated by MSF for the second time in less than a year, forcing it to suspend operations. Hospitals and villages have also been targeted by air strikes in Darfur. In December 2014, Sudan expelled two top UN officials from the country. New reports also indicate that sexual violence is being used as a weapon in the conflict. Today, the UN estimates that 6.6 million people in Sudan are in need of humanitarian aid. The government in Khartoum has called for a national dialogue with opposition groups, but political repression and ongoing offensives in the conflict zones led opposition groups to suspend participation in January of this year and raise questions about Khartoum’s commitment to reform.

Please join us as experts discuss the ongoing conflict, human rights violations, including gender violence and forced internal displacement, food insecurity, and the related humanitarian needs and challenges in Sudan. Panelists will also provide recommendations on what the United States Congress can do to alleviate human rights abuses and human suffering.


How a Human Rights Report Could Upend Sudan

Sudanese forces are deployed around Khartoum’s army headquarters on June 3, 2019 as they try to disperse Khartoum’s sit-in/Ashraf Shazly/AFP via Getty Images

On June 3, 2019, the second-to-last day of Ramadan, they came to kill. Sudanese forces crossed the Blue Nile bridge to fire on a protest camp, burn down tents, and rape women. Young men tried to seek refuge inside the Defense Ministry in Khartoum, yet survivors say that the guards sealed the gates to keep protesters out. After the carnage, witnesses saw members from the Rapid Support Force (RSF), a powerful paramilitary, throw corpses into the Nile.

The massacre put a harrowing end to months of anti-government protests. Several weeks earlier, on April 6, activists had organized a sit-in outside the Defense Ministry. After just five days, the army yielded to popular demands and deposed dictator Omar al-Bashir. However, the military refused to hand over power to a civilian government, prompting people to stay in the streets. With the world watching in awe, protesters defied a curfew and stood their ground, until that fateful morning in June when at least 127 people were killed.

The violence sparked a global outcry, compelling Sudan’s Transitional Military Council to share power with a disjointed civilian alliance called the Forces for Freedom and Change. The new government appointed 76-year-old Nabil Adeeb to head an official inquiry into the massacre. The human rights lawyer and Coptic Christian was given three months to submit a fact-finding report to Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and to press criminal charges against those who ordered the killing.

Nearly two years later, victims’ families and activists are hungry for justice, yet Adeeb still hasn’t delivered any findings. Aware of the sensitivity of his work, Adeeb is certain that his inquiry will have a major, even devastating, impact on his country. Speaking to me from the Coptic Club in Khartoum, he warned, “the result could lead to a coup d’état or to mass unrest in the streets.”

Adeeb’s life corresponds with Sudan’s tumultuous history. Now an old man, he faces barriers to justice that plagued his country in the past. In October 1964, he recalls returning to Khartoum from Cairo, where he studied law, to celebrate the civilian overthrow of Ibrahim Abboud’s military regime. Back then, Adeeb was a fierce supporter of the Sudanese Communist Party, which played a central role in leading demonstrations and labor strikes during the revolution.

After the uprising, a number of members of the ensuing civilian cabinet called for the arrest of strongmen from the former regime, but a political crisis halted their ambitions in January 1965.

A dispute over the rules and timing of the upcoming elections spawned a tense standoff between left-leaning forces and more conservative and religious political parties, according to the historian Willow Berridge, Ph.D., from Newcastle University. In her account, the former wanted to award half of the seats in the next parliament to workers’ representatives, while the latter objected on the basis that it was undemocratic.

A month later, the Umma Party, which opposed the leftist bloc, rallied their militant, religious supporters to protest a proposal to postpone elections. The Communist Party and their secular allies coveted the extra time to pass reforms that would improve their odds in the upcoming vote.

The show of force by the Umma Party thwarted those plans and brought about a political deadlock. Unable to find common ground, the crisis led to the resignation of the first interim government. An elected parliament eventually assumed power that summer and granted a general amnesty to Abboud’s regime. In retrospect, the pardon signaled to coup plotters that if they overthrew the government, they wouldn’t face consequences after falling from grace.

Indeed, a group of military officers deposed the elected government on the back of communist slogans in 1969. Adeeb, then impressionable and naive, embraced the new regime. “I was stupid,” he told me in hindsight. “I thought they would steer the country in the right direction.”

To Adeeb’s dismay, Sudan’s new ruler, Jaafar Nimeiry, abandoned his communist beliefs and leaned into political Islam, even going so far as to impose shariah in 1983. After Nimeiry was deposed two years later amid a spiraling economy that triggered a popular uprising, key members of his security forces were dismissed, and a small group was put on trial. Seeking revenge, members from Nimeiry’s old guard backed al-Bashir’s coup in 1989.

“There is potential for a similar scenario to repeat itself today,” warns Berridge, author of “Civil Uprisings in Modern Sudan: ‘The Khartoum Springs’ of 1964 and 1985.”

Adeeb agrees that a backlash may be inevitable, but he promises to uphold the integrity of his mandate. He said that he will only consider evidence, not political implications, when pressing charges. He then attributed the delay of the investigation to the unrealistic deadline he was given to mount a task this large. Adeeb added that his committee has spoken to hundreds of witnesses and that the inquiry is steadily progressing. Despite his assurances, his team still hasn’t assessed numerous online videos that show security forces dispersing the sit-in.

While nobody on Adeeb’s committee has the expertise to authenticate the footage, he is permitted to request assistance from the African Union (AU). However, Adeeb said that the AU is unable to provide the technical support he needs, so he is soliciting help from Western experts. Last December, more than a year after the inquiry was launched, he said he submitted a request to the prime minister to expand his mandate but is still waiting for an answer.

The camera angles from some of the videos, he says, indicates that the attackers filmed their own atrocities — a detail he finds difficult to accept.

Adeeb said he desperately wants experts to inform his analysis of footage he has seen online. The camera angles from some of the videos, he says, indicates that the attackers filmed their own atrocities — a detail he finds difficult to accept.

However, war criminals have filmed and celebrated their abuses for decades. During the Nuremberg trials in 1945, American Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson famously told the International Military Tribunal, “we will show you their own films” in reference to the evidence he accrued against the Nazis.

The most recent example is the case of Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a commander from the self-described Libyan National Army who was assassinated in March. Four years ago, the International Criminal Court indicted him for executing prisoners of war and noncombatants in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city. It was the first time the ICC issued an arrest warrant based solely on evidence it found on social media, thanks to several videos al-Werfalli’s peers filmed and uploaded online.

Sudanese security forces may have also incriminated themselves. Adeeb entertains the possibility, yet he lends equal weight to outlandish conspiracies. He frequently notes that some videos of the violent dispersal ended up on Al-Jazeera. It’s no secret that Qatar owns Al-Jazeera, which provides favorable coverage to the Muslim Brotherhood across the Arab world. For Adeeb, that single detail hints at a broader Qatari plot. He speculates that Al-Jazeera may have aired videos of government forces taking part in the massacre to shield the real culprits: Islamist cells from the former regime that operate in a deep or parallel state.

“Al-Jazeera is a big question mark,” he told me. “Why Al-Jazeera?”

The RSF propagates a similar conspiracy. The force evolved out of the tribal “Janjaweed” militias from the western province of Darfur, which mounted a campaign of ethnic cleansing, and arguably genocide, at the behest of al-Bashir’s regime in 2003. The leader of the force, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo — better known as Hemeti — claims that imposters bought RSF uniforms from street markets and infiltrated his units on the eve of the massacre.

While few people believed him, Hemeti became the deputy head of the Military Council in the transitional government. Flushed with power and wealth, he has doubled down on his alibi and stepped-up efforts to launder his reputation at home and abroad.

Enter Dickens and Madson, a Canadian public relations agency that inked a deal with Hemeti in 2019. In their Montreal office last summer, Ari Ben-Menashe, the head of the firm, echoed his client’s account of the massacre. “Hemeti said it was Muslim Brotherhood guys that dressed up in his uniforms, and I’m inclined to believe him,” he told me with a grin.

Open-source experts have pieced together a different story. Just one month after the massacre, BBC Africa Eye published their investigation based on more than 300 videos that protesters recorded with their smartphones. The footage shows uniformed RSF fighters working in tandem with the military and police to break up the protest camp.

The cross-coordination suggests that the dispersal was ordered by high-ranking officers and not instigated by infiltrators. In some videos, the military steps aside for the RSF to pursue protesters, which contrasts starkly with how soldiers behaved two months earlier. In the days leading up to al-Bashir’s ouster, mid-ranking soldiers clashed with rival security forces to protect the sit-in.

Human Rights Watch also viewed photos and videos of the violent dispersal. The evidence showed government forces insulting and mocking detainees, according to a report the rights group released in November 2019. The report cited one clip of uniformed RSF fighters forcing protesters to crawl in puddles of water. Some of the attackers identified themselves as belonging to the RSF. Victims also said they could tell from the accent of the perpetrators that they came from Darfur.

Last February, new drone footage — possibly uploaded by a rogue member of the RSF — surfaced on YouTube. Rawan Shaif, an expert in open-source intelligence with The Sentry, a policy team tracing dirty money throughout Africa, said the videos corroborated the findings of the BBC and Human Rights Watch.

In one video, Shaif spotted thousands of fighters and hundreds of tactical vehicles belonging to the RSF and police. Multiple security agencies and the military also clearly coordinate to surround the sit-in. Given the cooperation that preceded the attack, Shaif concludes that government forces must have received orders from the tops of their chains of command. There is no way, she told me, that “imposters” could have purchased that many uniforms and assembled that many armed pickup trucks to launch an assault that huge.

Despite the damning footage, Shaif fears that Adeeb is focusing on the wrong details. When I relayed his suspicions about Al-Jazeera, she found them deeply troubling.

“What about the hundreds of videos that didn’t turn up on Al-Jazeera?” said Shaif. “I think there is partly a lack of will from the committee to prosecute the actual perpetrators out of fear of a backlash.”

“People say that I’m frightened, but if I was frightened then I would have wrapped up the investigation quickly,” Adeeb told me. “Nobody under suspicion would celebrate an investigation taking this long.”

Adeeb cites his track record to defend his integrity. For years, he provided legal representation to opponents of al-Bashir’s regime, earning him the respect of human rights activists. However, he came under heavy criticism for defending the former head of intelligence, Salah Gosh, when he was accused of plotting a coup in 2012. Gosh was one of the most feared men from the former regime, yet Adeeb believed that the charges against him were politically motivated and that he was entitled to a fair defense. One year later, Gosh was pardoned by al-Bashir due to a lack of evidence against him.

Looking back, defending Gosh prepared Adeeb for the public scrutiny he’s enduring now. The local press frequently criticizes Adeeb, while trolls harass him on social media. Not long ago, he saw a fake photo of himself dressed in an RSF uniform posted on Facebook. As the image generated likes and comments, he realized that he was losing the public’s trust.

Many people fear that Adeeb will reinforce a climate of impunity if he absolves senior military officers from blame, like what happened in 1965. One Sudanese official with knowledge of the investigation, but who isn’t permitted to comment on the record, warned me that youth should brace themselves for disappointment. “My expectation is that the committee will establish what took place and assign responsibility to low-level officers,” he said.

Without the catharsis of justice, many people will struggle to move on from that harrowing day. People like Sulima Ishaq Sharif, a psychologist, can’t stop thinking about the moments leading up to the massacre. Hours before it happened, she was drinking coffee with young men who were making plans to cook breakfast for protesters on Eid al-Fitr, the festive end to Ramadan. Later that night, she saw dozens of RSF pickup trucks parked on a nearby bridge. Power soon went out throughout the city, while rumors spread that government forces were going to storm the sit-in.

After the massacre, Sharif was terrified. She learned that two of the men she had coffee with the night before were killed. She told Sky News and BBC Africa that protesters from the sit-in were expecting to die at any moment. In the following days, she feared that security forces were going to hunt down activists that got away. Even now, she still can’t believe she survived. “They wanted to finish us. They wanted to kill us all,” Sharif told me in her office, with somber resignation.

Sharif’s story encapsulates the collective trauma and anger in Khartoum. Many, like her, want justice for the scores of people who died on June 3. Failing to deliver could breed discontent and anger and bury whatever faith remains in the transitional government. However, Sudan could also pay a heavy price if Adeeb presses charges against senior security officers in the Military Council. Anyone indicted may try to overthrow the civilian half of the government and consolidate power or back others who would. Adeeb is under no illusions, nor is he in a rush to finish the investigation. He told me, “Whatever we decide will destabilize the country.”


Sudan Human Rights Organisation, Centre On Housing Rights And Evictions v Sudan (Communication No. 279/03, 296/05) [2009] ACHPR 100 (27 May 2009)

BEFORE: CHAIRPERSON: Sanji Mmasenono Monageng COMMISSIONERS: Catherine Dupe Atoki, Musa Ngary Bitaye, Reine Alapini-Gansou, Soyata Maiga, Mumba Malila, Bahame Tom Mukirya Nyanduga, Kayitesi Zainabo Sylvie, Pansy Tlakula Yeung Kam John Yeung Sik Yuen

Citation: Sudan Human Rights Org. v. Sudan, Comm. 279/03, 296/05, 28th ACHPR AAR Annex (Nov 2009-May 2010)

1. The first Communication, the Sudan Human Rights Organisation et al/The Sudan (the SHRO Case) is submitted by the Sudan Human Rights Organisation (London), the Sudan Human Rights Organisation (Canada), the Darfur Diaspora Association, the Sudanese Women Union in Canada and the Massaleit Diaspora Association (hereinafter called the Complainants).

2. The Complainants allege gross, massive and systematic violations of human rights by the Republic of Sudan (herein after called Respondent State) against the indigenous Black African tribes in the Darfur region (Western Sudan) in particular, members of the Fur, Marsalit and Zaghawa tribes.

3. The Complainants allege that violations being committed in the Darfur region include large-scale killings, the forced displacement of populations, the destruction of public facilities, properties and disruption of life through bombing by military fighter jets in densely populated areas.

4. The Complainants allege that the Darfur region has been under a state of emergency since the government of General Omar Al-Bashir seized power in 1989. They allege further that this situation has given security and paramilitary forces a free hand to arrest, detain, torture and carry out extra-judicial executions of suspected insurgents.

5. The Complainants also allege that nomadic tribal gangs of Arab origin, alleged to be members of the militias known as the Murhaleen and the Janjaweed are supported by the Respondent State.

6. The Complainants allege further that an armed group known as the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army issued a political declaration on 13 March 2003 and clashed with Respondent State's Armed Forces. The Respondent State launched a succession of human rights violations against suspected insurgents, using methods such as extra-judicial executions, torture, rape of women and girls, arbitrary arrests and detentions.

7. The Complainants also contend that hundreds of people from the aforementioned indigenous African tribes have been summarily executed by the Respondent State's security forces and by allied militia, adding that detainees are usually tried by special military courts with little regard to international standards or legal protection.

8. The Complainants allege that the abovesaid actions of the Respondent State violate Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (1), 9, 12 (1, 2 and 3), and 13 (1 and 2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

9. The second Communication, Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions/The Sudan (the COHRE Case), is submitted by an NGO based in Washington D.C. (the Complainant) against the Republic of Sudan (the Respondent State). The Communication is based on almost similar allegations as in the SHRO Case.

10. The Complainant states that Darfur is the largest region in the Respondent State, divided into south, west and north administrative zones and covers an area of about 256,000 square kilometers in size and has an estimated population of five million (5,000,000) persons. That in February 2003 fighting intensified in the Darfur region following the emergence of two armed groups, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice Equality Movement (JEM), which come primarily from the Fur, Zaghawa and Masaalit tribes. The two armed groups' political demand essentially is for the Respondent State to address the marginalisation and underdevelopment of the region.

11. The Complainant alleges that in response to the emergence of these groups and the armed rebellion, the Respondent State formed, armed and sponsored an Arab militia force known as the Janjaweed to help suppress the rebellion.

12. The Complainant alleges further that the Respondent State is involved at the highest level in the recruitment, arming and sponsoring of the Janjaweed militia. The Complainant cites a Directive dated 13 February 2004, from the office of the Sub-locality in North Darfur directing all Security units within the locality to allow the activities of the Janjaweed under the command of Sheikh Musa Hilal to secure its "vital needs." The Complainant also claims that military helicopters from the Respondent State provide arms and supplies of food to the Janjaweed.

13. The Complainant alleges that in addition to attacking rebel targets, the Respondent State's campaign has targeted the civilian population, adding that villages, markets, and water wells have been raided and bombed by helicopter gunships and Antonov airplanes.

14. The Complainant claims that residents of hundreds of villages have been forcibly evicted, their homes and other structures totally or partially burned and destroyed. That thousands of civilians in Darfur have been killed in deliberate and indiscriminate attacks and more than a million people have been displaced.

15. The Complainant in the COHRE Case alleges that the Respondent State has violated Articles 4, 5, 6, 7, 12 (1), 14, 16, 18 (1) and 22 of the African Charter. It requests the African Commission to hold the Respondent State liable for the human rights violations in the Darfur region.

16. The Complainant also urges the African Commission to place the violations described in the Communication, before the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union for consideration under Article 58 of the African Charter that the African Commission, should undertake an in-depth study of the situation in Darfur and make a factual report with findings and recommendations as mandated in Article 58 (2) of the African Charter and that the African Commission should adopt Provisional Measures in view of the urgency required in this Communication.

17. The SHRO Case was received by post at the Secretariat of the African Commission (the Secretariat) on 18 September 2003.

18. On 10 October 2003, the Secretariat acknowledged receipt of the Complaint and indicated that it would be considered on seizure by the African Commission during its 34th Ordinary Session held from 6 - 20 November 2003, in Banjul, The Gambia.

19. During its 34th Ordinary Session, the African Commission examined the Communication and decided to be seized of it.

20. On 2 December 2003, the Secretariat notified the Respondent State of this decision, sent a copy of the complaint, and requested it to send its arguments on admissibility within three months.

21. This decision was also conveyed to the Complainants by letter dated 02 December 2003.

22. On 29 March 2004, the Respondent State informed the Secretariat that due to various reasons, it would not be able to present its submissions on admissibility and promised to send the said observations at the earliest time possible.

23. During its 35th Ordinary Session which was held in Banjul, The Gambia in May/June 2004, the African Commission deferred consideration on the admissibility of the Communication to its 36th Ordinary Session at the Respondent State's request.

24. In the meantime, during the 35th Ordinary Session the Complainants delivered to the Secretariat documents containing supplementary information relevant to the complaint.

25. On 6 July 2004, the Secretariat informed both parties about its decision to defer the Communication and reminded the Respondent State to submit its arguments on admissibility. At the same time, the Secretariat conveyed the Complainants' supplementary submissions to the Respondent State, and also notified the Complainants about the Respondent State's request for a deferral of consideration on the admissibility.

26. Seizing the opportunity of a Commission's fact finding mission to the Respondent State, the Secretariat sent another set of the Communication documents to the Respondent State.

27. During its 36th Ordinary Session, held from 23 November to 7 December 2004 in Dakar, Senegal, the African Commission considered the Complaint and decided to defer its decision on admissibility to its 37th Ordinary Session. The Respondent State had submitted its arguments on admissibility during the said Session.

28. On 2 December 2004, the Secretariat of the African Commission acknowledged receipt of the Respondent State's submissions.

29. On 23 December 2004, the Secretariat informed the parties about the African Commission's decision.

30. During its 37th Ordinary Session, which took place from 27 April to 11 May 2005 in Banjul, The Gambia, the African Commission considered the complaint and, upon request from the Complainants, deferred its decision on admissibility to its 38th Ordinary Session.

31. During the 38th Ordinary Session held from 21 November to 5 December 2006, the African Commission considered the case and decided to postpone its consideration to the 39th Ordinary Session.

32. On 16 December 2005, the Secretariat of the African Commission notified this decision to the parties. The Complainants were requested to submit their rejoinder to the Respondent State's arguments.

33. During its 39th Ordinary Session held from 11 - 25 May 2006, in Banjul, The Gambia, the Commission considered the Communication and declared it admissible. It further decided to consolidate the Communication with the COHRE Case.

34. By Note Verbale of 14 July 2006 and by letter of the same date, both parties were notified of the Commission's decision and requested to submit their arguments on the merits within two months. 35. The COHRE Case was received at the Secretariat of the African Commission by e-mail on 6 January 2005.

36. On 11 January 2005, the Secretariat wrote to the Complainant acknowledging receipt of the complaint and informing it that it will be considered on seizure at the Commission's 37th Ordinary Session.

37. At its 37th Ordinary Session held in Banjul, The Gambia from 27 April to 11 May 2005, the African Commission considered the Communication and decided to be seized thereof.

38. On 24 May 2005, the Secretariat sent a copy of the Communication to the Respondent State, notified it of the decision of the Commission, and requested it to send its arguments on admissibility within three months of the notification. By letter of the same date, the Complainant was notified of the decision and asked to submit its arguments on admissibility within three months of notification.

39. By letter of 15 June 2005, the Complainant submitted its arguments on admissibility.

40. On 7 July 2005, the Secretariat acknowledged receipt of the Complainant's submission on admissibility and transmitted them to the Respondent State and requested the latter to submit its arguments before 24 August 2005.

41. By Note Verbale dated 2 September 2005, the Respondent State was reminded to send its arguments on admissibility.

42. On 9 November 2005, the Secretariat received a Note Verbale from the Respondent State submitting its argument on admissibility.

43. By Note Verbale of 11 November, 2005, the Secretariat acknowledged receipt of the Respondent State's submission.

44. At its 38th Ordinary Session held from 21 November to 5 December 2005, the African Commission deferred consideration on the admissibility of the Communication to its 39th Ordinary Session.

45. By Note Verbale of 15 December 2005 and by letter of the same date, the Secretariat notified both parties of the African Commission's decision.

46. By letter of 9 March 2006, the Secretariat forwarded the arguments on admissibility of the State to the Complainant.

47. On 20 March 2006, the Secretariat received a supplementary submission on admissibility from the Complainant in response to the State's submission.

48. By letter of 27 March 2006, the Secretariat acknowledged receipt of the Complainant's supplementary submissions on admissibility.

49. By Note Verbale of 27 March 2006, the Secretariat transmitted the Complainant's supplementary submission on admissibility to the Respondent State and requested the latter to respond before 15 April 2006.

50. At its 39th Ordinary Session held from 11 - 25 May 2006, the African Commission considered the Communication and declared it admissible. The Commission decided to consolidate the Communication with the SHRO Case.

51. By Note Verbale dated 29 May 2006 and by letter of the same date, both parties were notified of the Commission's decision and requested to make submissions on the merits before 29 August 2006.

52. On 23 August 2006, the Secretariat received the Complainant's submissions on the merits of the Communication. On 1 October 2006, the Secretariat acknowledged receipt of the Complainant's submissions.

53. On 8 October 2006, the Secretariat forwarded the Complainant's submissions to the Respondent State and reminded the latter to make its submissions on the merits before 31 October 2006.

54. At its 40th Ordinary Session held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 15 - 29 November 2006, the African Commission considered the Communication and deferred it to its 41st Ordinary Session pending the Respondent State's response.

55. By Note Verbale of 4 January 2007 and by letter of the same date, both parties were notified of the Commission's decision.

56. By Note Verbale of 11 April 2007, the Secretariat reminded the Respondent State to submit its arguments on the merits.

57. On 25 May 2007, during the 41st Ordinary Session, the Secretariat received the State's submissions on the merits.

58. At its 41st Ordinary Session held in Accra, Ghana, the Commission considered the Communication and deferred it to its 42nd Ordinary Session to allow the Secretariat to translate the submissions and prepare a draft decision.

59. By Note Verbale of 10 July 2007 and letter of the same date both parties were notified of the Commission's decision.

60. At its 42nd Ordinary Session held from 15 - 28 November 2007, in Brazzaville, Congo, the Commission considered the Communication and deferred it to its 43rd Ordinary Session because the Respondent State made additional submissions on the matter during the Session.

61. At its 43rd Ordinary Session held in Ezulwini, the Kingdom of Swaziland, the Commission deferred the Communication to its 44th Ordinary Session to allow the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision

62. At its 44th Ordinary Session Abuja, Nigeria, the Commission considered the Communication and deferred further consideration to the 45th Ordinary Session due to time constraints.

SUBMISSIONS ON ADMISSIBILITY

COMPLAINANTS' SUBMISSIONS ON ADMISSIBILITY

63. The Complainants submit that acts of violence were committed in a discriminatory manner against populations of Black African origin, in the Darfur region, namely the Fur, Massaleit and Zaggawa tribes.

64. They add that the Respondent State is "governed by a military regime, which does not attach the required importance to normal procedures under the Rule of law or respect for the country's institutions," hence citizens, groups and organizations cannot bring issues of human rights violations before independent and impartial Courts, because of the "inevitable harassment, threats, intimidations and disruption of normal life by State security agents".

65. The Complainants submit that the Respondent State continues to hold Mr. Hassan El Turabi, leader of the political party National Popular Congress, in detention, in spite of the rulings by the Constitutional Court which gave instructions for his release. That the Darfur region has been placed under a state of emergency since the 1989 coup d'état, and that the situation is deteriorating very rapidly and in a highly dangerous manner in a country which is multi-denominational, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic.

66. The Complainant avers that the Respondent State has committed serious and massive violation of human rights. The Complainant argues that the violations are ongoing since 2003. It argues that the Communication has been submitted to the African Commission within a reasonable period of time.

67. The Complainant argues further that the victims of forced evictions and other accompanying human rights violations in the Darfur Region cannot avail themselves of local remedies due to several reasons, including the fact that (i) the victims are increasingly being displaced into remote regions or across international frontiers (ii) the Respondent State has not created a climate of safety necessary for victims to avail themselves of local remedies, and (iii) the Respondent State is well aware of the series of serious and massive human rights violations occurring in Darfur and has taken little or no steps to remedy those violations. Consequently, these impediments render local remedies unavailable to the victims.

68. The Complainant therefore urges that the Communication be declared admissible because domestic remedies are not available.

RESPONDENT STATE'S SUBMISSIONS ON ADMISSIBILITY

69. The Respondent State denies all the allegations advanced by the Complainants in the SHRO Case. The Respondent State submits that the conflict in the Darfur region is a result of its geographical location. It argues that the instability in neighbouring countries has negative repercussions on the Respondent State.

70. The Respondent State admits that the conflict in Southern Sudan, which lasted for years had affected all the regions of the country at varying degrees. It states that South Darfur, which borders Southern Sudan, has been affected by armed operations and the massive exodus of the population running away from the fighting. That the three Darfur regions have also been affected by the situation in Chad, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo through the introduction of arms from these countries and the influx of hundreds of tribes with kinship links in the Respondent State.

71. The Respondent State submits that armed conflicts in neighbouring States have contributed to the emergence of armed rebel groups which carry out plunder and theft. The Respondent State submits further that it has taken measures to restore stability, bring criminals to courts in accordance with the law and returned stolen property.

72. The Respondent State argues further that the Complainants have not exhausted local remedies. It states that there hasn't been any report/complaint to the police, the Courts, or the National Council or to the Human Rights Consultative Council. It submits further that the complaint does not conform to Articles 56(2) and (4) of the African Charter, because it is based on erroneous or imaginary facts which have nothing to do with the Respondent State.

73. The Respondent State claims that the Communication has been overtaken by events since several of the claims were addressed by the President of the Respondent State on 9 March 2004, when he granted general amnesty to those who surrendered their arms. That the Respondent State signed peace agreements at Abeche and N'djamena launched the reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by the rebels allowed international aid organizations to intervene on the ground and allowed the return of internally displaced persons. It created an independent Commission of Inquiry on the human rights violations, and convened a meeting for all Darfurians to discuss the restoration of peace in the region. In the light of the foregoing, the Respondent State denies all the allegations and declares them ‘false and against the spirit of Article 56 of the African Charter'.

74. With respect to the COHRE Case, the Respondent State advances two main arguments: first, that local remedies have not been exhausted and secondly, that the Communication has been settled by other international mechanisms.

75. The Respondent State argues that the Complainant failed to resort to existing legal, judicial or administrative means within the Respondent State to address the allegations. It argues further that under its law, the protection of human rights is regulated by three main legislative norms: (a) International and regional human rights as ratified by the Respondent State (considered to be an integral part of the Constitution), (b) the Constitution, and (c) State Legislation.

76. It submits that the Constitutional Court was established in 1998 and has jurisdiction to hear cases relating to the protection of human rights, guaranteed in the Constitution and other international instruments ratified. The Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeal, the General Courts and the Tribunals of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Appeals all have jurisdictions, depending on the location, to deal with specific issues. That the President of the Supreme Court can establish specialized courts to deal with specific situations and to hear cases on human rights violations in the three regions of Darfur.

77. The Respondent State argues that it had introduced legal and judicial procedures to punish perpetrators of alleged human rights abuses in Darfur. These mechanisms include: the National Commission of Enquiry on the violation of Human Rights in Darfur under the Chairmanship of the former Vice-President of the Supreme Court, comprised of human rights lawyers and activists. It adds further that the National Commission submitted its report to the President of the Republic in January 2005. Three Committees were established based on the recommendations of the report: namely, the Judiciary Committee of Enquiry to investigate violations, Committee for Compensation and Committee for the Settlement of priority cases of property ownership.

78. Therefore, the Respondent State submits that the Communication does not comply with Article 56 (5) of the African Charter.

79. The Respondent State submits further that the Communication was submitted after being settled by UN Mechanisms. It argues that the United Nations and the UN Security Council adopted resolutions 1590, 1591 and 1592 concerning the situation in Darfur, which are currently being implemented. In April 2005 the Commission on Human Rights of the UN Economic, Social and Cultural Council, also adopted a resolution concerning the human rights violations in Sudan. As a result, the Respondent State submits that a Special Rapporteur was assigned to look into the human rights situation. She recently visited Sudan, specifically the Darfur region.

80. The Respondent State agues therefore that, the Communication is inadmissible under Article 56 (7) of the African Charter.

COMPLAINANT'S SUPPLEMENTARY SUBMISSION IN RESPONSE TO RESPONDENT STATE'S SUBMISSION ON ADMISSIBILITY

81. In a supplementary brief on admissibility the Complainant submits that, taken together, the forced evictions and accompanying human rights violations amount to serious and massive violations of human rights protected by the African Charter.

82. Complainant cites a 2006 Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Sudan which found that "the human rights situation worsened from July 2005. and a comprehensive strategy responding to transitional justice has yet to be developed in the Sudan." The report adds that the cases prosecuted before the Special Criminal Court on the events in Darfur "did not reflect the major crimes committed during the height of the Darfur crisis" and "only one of the cases involved charges brought against a high-ranking official, and he was acquitted."

83. Consequently, the Complainant argues that, the domestic remedies, cited by the Respondent State, are not effective, nor sufficient, since they offer little prospect of success. They are incapable of redressing the complaints.

84. The Complainant submit that the Special Criminal Tribunals "may just be a tactic by the Sudanese government to avoid prosecution by the International Criminal Court." That such tribunals are "doomed to failure" because they lack "serious legal reforms ensuring independence of the judiciary." Hence, the Complainant submit, the Respondent State has failed to bring ". an end to the current climate of intimidation," thereby casting doubts about the effectiveness of domestic remedies.

85. It submits that even though the peace talks are likely to result in what could be considered injunctive relief by halting further human rights violations, they do not provide adequate remedies for the human rights violations.

86. The Complainant adds that the UN Human Rights Commission, in its resolution 2005/82, found that these domestic remedies are ineffective and insufficient in preventing, halting or remedying the forced evictions and accompanying human rights violations in Darfur.

87. Consequently, it cannot be said that these claims have "been settled" as required by Article 56(7) of the African Charter.

88. The Complainant concludes that the present Communication satisfies the requirements of Article 56 of the African Charter.

AFRICAN COMMISSION'S DECISION ON ADMISSIBILITY

89. Admissibility of Communications under the African Charter is governed by the conditions set out in Article 56. The Complainants argue that the Communication complies with all the requirements under Article 56 of the Charter. The Respondent State argues that the Communications be declared inadmissible for not meeting the requirements of Article 56 (2), (4), (5) and (7) of the African Charter.

90. Article 56(2) requires Communications to be compatible with the Constitutive Act or the African Charter. The Respondent State did not explain how the Communication is incompatible with either instrument. The mere submission of a Communication by a Complainant cannot be deemed an incompatibility under Article 56(2) of the African Charter.

91. Bringing Communications against State Parties to the African Charter is a means of protecting human and peoples' rights. States Parties to the African Charter are duty bound to respect their obligations under both the Constitutive Act and the African Charter. Article 3(h) of the Constitutive Act enjoins African States to promote and protect human and peoples' rights in accordance with the African Charter. The African Commission does not consider the filing of complaints before it, an incompatibility with the Constitutive Act or the African Charter. It therefore finds that Article 56(2) has been complied with.

92. Article 56(4) stipulates that Communications should not be based exclusively on news disseminated through the mass media. The present Communications are supported by UN Reports as well as reports and Press releases of international human rights organizations. These Communications are not based exclusively on mass media reports. The Darfur crisis has attracted wide international media attention. It would be impractical to separate allegations contained in the Communications from the media reports on the conflict and the alleged violations.

93. In its decision declaring Sir Dawda Jawara v The Gambia (the Jawara Case)[FN128] admissible, the Commission stated that "[w]hile it would be dangerous to rely exclusively on news disseminated from the mass media, it would be equally damaging if the Commission were to reject a communication because some aspects of it are based on news disseminated through the mass media. . There is no doubt that the media remains the most important, if not the only source of information. It is common knowledge that information on human rights violation is always gotten from the media. The issue therefore should not be whether the information was gotten from the media, but whether the information is correct. " The African Commission therefore finds further that the Communications comply with Article 56(4).

[FN128] See Communication 147/96, 13th Annual Activity Report, 1999-2000

94. With respect to Article 56 (5), the Respondent State argues that no attempt was made to approach various internal remedies. The Complainants, on the other hand, argue that Article 56(5) does not apply to the Communications due to the «serious, massive and systematic» nature of the alleged violations by the Respondent State. They submit that such violations are incapable of being remedied by domestic remedies.

95. Article 56 (5) of the African Charter provides that Communications relating to human and peoples' rights referred to in Article 55 received by the African Commission shall be considered if they "are sent after the exhaustion of local remedies, if any, unless it is obvious that this procedure is unduly prolonged".

96. The issue to be resolved is whether the local remedies were capable of addressing the violations alleged by the Complainants.

97. The African Commission has previously decided on the question of remedies with respect to cases of serious or massive violations of human rights. In the Free Legal Assistance Group, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Union Interafricaine des Droits de l'Homme, Les Témoins de Jehovah/ Zaire, the Commission stated that: ‘[i]n the light of its duty to ensure the protection of human and peoples' rights. the Commission cannot hold the requirement of exhaustion of local remedies to apply literally in cases where it is impractical or undesirable for the complaint [s] to seize the domestic courts in the case of each individual complaint. This is the case where there are a large number of individual victims. Due to the seriousness of the human rights situation as well as the great number of people involved, such remedies as might theoretically exist in the domestic courts are as a practical matter unavailable '.[FN129]

[FN129] Communications 25/89, 47/90, 56/91 100/93, (4 International Human Rights Law Report 89, 92), (1997).

98. The Respondent State argues that the remedies were not only available, but effective and sufficient, and that the Complainant didn't bother to access them to seek justice for the victims. The Complainants cite several reports which indicate various cases of intimidation, displacement, harassment, sexual and other kinds of violence, which according to the Complainant may not be dealt with appropriately through local remedies.

99. The African Commission has often stated that a local remedy must be available, effective and sufficient. All three criteria must be present for the local remedy envisaged in Article 56 (5) to be considered worthy of pursuing. In the Jawara Case [FN130] the African Commission held that a remedy is considered available if the petitioner can pursue it without impediment. It is deemed effective if it offers a prospect of success. It is found sufficient if it is capable of redressing the complaint.

[FN130] See Footnote 2 above for reference

100. In the present Communication, the scale and nature of the alleged abuses, the number of persons involved ipso facto make local remedies unavailable, ineffective and insufficient. This Commission has held in Malawi African Association and Others v. Mauritania[FN131] that it "does not believe that the condition that internal remedies must have been exhausted can be applied literally to those cases in which it is neither practicable nor desirable for the Complainants or the victims to pursue such internal channels of remedy in every case of violation of human rights. Such is the case where there are many victims. Due to the seriousness of the human rights situation and the large number of people involved, such remedies as might theoretically exist in the domestic courts are as a practical matter unavailable . "[FN132].

[FN131] Communications 54/91, 61/91, 98/93, 164/97 to 196/97 and 210/98, (2000).

[FN132] See also Free Legal Assistance Group, Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, Union Interafricaine des Droits de l'Homme, Les Témoins de Jehovah / Zaire, African Comm. Hum. & Peoples' Rights. Communication No. 25/89, 47/90, 56/91, 100/93 cited above.

101. Such is the case with the situation in the Darfur region, where tens of thousands of people have allegedly been forcibly evicted and their properties destroyed. It is impracticable and undesirable to expect these victims to exhaust the remedies claimed by the State to be available.

102. The African Commission, considering that the alleged violations prima facie constitute "serious and massive violations," finds that under the prevailing situation in the Darfur, it would be impractical to expect the complainants to avail themselves of domestic remedies, which, are in any event, ineffective. Had the domestic remedies been available and effective, the Respondent State would have prosecuted and punished the perpetrators of the alleged violations, which it has not done. The Commission finds that there were no remedies and therefore the criteria under Article 56(5) does not apply to the complainants.

103. The Respondent State argued that the violations have been settled by other international mechanisms and cites Article 56(7) of the Charter.

104. The African Commission wishes to state that a matter shall be considered settled within the context of Article 56 (7) of the African Charter, if it was settled by any of the UN human rights treaty bodies or any other international adjudication mechanism, with a human rights mandate. The Respondent State must demonstrate to the Commission the nature of remedies or relief granted by the international mechanism, such as to render the complaints res judicata, and the African Commission's intervention unnecessary.

105. The African Commission, while recognizing the important role played by the United Nations Security Council, the Human Rights Council, (and its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights,) and other UN organs and agencies on the Darfur crisis, is of the firm view that these organs are not the mechanisms envisaged under Article 56(7). The mechanisms envisaged under Article 56(7) of the Charter must be capable of granting declaratory or compensatory relief to victims, not mere political resolutions and declarations.

106. In the opinion of this Commission, the content of the current complaints were not submitted to any such bodies, by the Complainants, or any other individual or institution.

107. For these reasons, the African Commission declares both Communications admissible.

SUBMISSIONS ON THE MERITS

108. It should be noted that in spite of several reminders, neither the Complainants nor the Respondent State submitted in respect of the SHRO Case.

109. The other Complainant, COHRE, and the Respondent State made submissions on the merits with respect to the COHRE Case. The Commission will consider their submissions. Rule 120 of the Rules of Procedure of the African Commission states that "[i]f the communication is admissible, the Commission shall consider it in the light of all the information that the individual and the State Party concerned has submitted in writing it shall make known its observation on this issue. "

COMPLAINANT'S SUBMISSIONS ON THE MERITS

110. The Complainant submits that since February 2003, following the emergence of an armed conflict in the Darfur region, the Respondent State has engaged in and continues to forcibly evict thousands of Black indigenous tribes, inhabitants of the Darfur from their homes, communities and villages. The alleged forced evictions and accompanying human rights abuses recorded in this Communication constitute a violation of the rights guaranteed under the African Charter to which the Respondent State is a party.

111. It is submitted that the Respondent State failed to respect and protect the human rights of the Darfur people. Regarding the obligation to respect, it is submitted that government forces attacked villages, injuring and killing civilians, raping women and girls, and destroying homes. The State also failed to prevent the Janjaweed militiamen from killing, assaulting and raping villagers, hence failing in its obligation to protect the civilian population of Darfur. The Communication also alleges that at times the Janjaweed and government forces conducted joint attacks on villages.

112. The Complainant argues further that attacks by militias prevented Darfurians from farming land, collecting fireweed for cooking, and collecting grass to feed livestock, which constitute a violation of their right to adequate food.

113. The Complainant submits that the forced eviction and the accompanying human rights abuses in the Darfur region tantamount to violations of the right to life, and the right to security of the person respectively protected under Articles 4 and 6 of the Charter, as thousands of people were killed, injured, and raped.

114. The Complainant submits further that attacks carried out by the Respondent State and the Janjaweed have forced thousands of people to flee their homes and habitual places of residence. According to the Complainant, those actions constitute a violation of the right to freedom of residence under Article 12(1) of the Charter.

115. The Complainant states that the forced evictions and destruction of housing and property in the Darfur region violated the right to property enshrined in Article 14 of the Charter. It is the Complainant's view that those attacks cannot be compared to a lawful dispossession as they have not been carried out "in accordance with the provisions of appropriate law. " and did not contribute to public need nor was it in the general interest of the community.

116. The Communication recalls the decision of the Commission in the case of

Social and Economic Rights Action Centre and Centre for Economic and Social Rights v Nigeria (the SERAC Case) [FN133] where the Commission found, inter alia, that forced evictions by government forces and private security forces is an infringement of Article 14 and the right to an adequate housing which is implicitly guaranteed by Articles 14, 16 and 18(1) of the Charter.

[FN133] Communication 155/1996.

117. Regarding the right to adequate housing, the Complainant urges the Commission to draw inspiration from other international human rights law standards. It submits that the right to adequate housing is well-defined under international human rights law, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 25(1)), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11(1)), and other international human rights instruments.

118. The Complainant also submits that the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights gave a precise content to the right to housing in its General Comment No. 4 adopted on 12 December 1991, concerning the State's obligation to respect, protect and fulfil security of tenure. In its General Comment No. 7, the Committee defines and proscribes the practice of forced evictions.

119. The Complainant recalls that in General Comment No. 4, the Committee on Economic, Social Cultural Rights held that "many of the measures required to promote the right to housing would only require the abstention by the [Respondent State] from certain practices". Furthermore, in General Comment No.7, it is affirmed that: "The State itself must refrain from forced evictions and ensure that the law is enforced against its agents or third parties who carry out forced evictions."

120. The Complainant further invites the Commission to find the State in violation of Article 7 as it failed to "adequately investigate and prosecute" the authors of the forced evictions and destruction of housing.

121. The Complainant submits that the African Commission relied on international law to define the right to adequate housing implied by Articles 14, 16 and 18(1) of the Charter, in its decision on the SERAC Case.

122. The Complainant also relies on the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in Akdivar and Others v. Turkey[FN134], where, in a situation similar to the one prevailing in the Darfur, that is, destruction of housing in the context of a conflict between the government and rebel forces, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey was responsible for violations perpetrated by both its own forces and the rebel forces because it has the duty to both respect and protect human rights.

[FN134] No. 21893/93, 1996-IV, no. 15.

123. The Complainant submits that forced evictions and destruction of housing constitute cruel or inhuman treatment prohibited by Article 5 of the Charter, which is consistent with international human rights standards. It quotes the Concluding Observations on Israel in 2001 where the Committee Against Torture (CAT) found that forced evictions and destruction of housing cause "indescribable suffering to the population". Regarding forced evictions and destruction of housing carried out by non-state actors, the Communication relies on the jurisprudence of the CAT in Hijrizi v. Yugoslavia [FN135] where the Committee ruled that the State is responsible for failing to protect the victims from such a violation of their human rights not to be subject to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment under Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture.

[FN135] Communication No. 161/2000: UN Doc. CAT/C/29/D/161/2000 (2 December 2002).

124. The Complainant also submits that forced evictions and accompanying human rights violations constitute violations by the Respondent State of the right to adequate food and the right to water implicitly guaranteed under Articles 4, 16 and 22 of the Charter as informed by standards and principles of international human rights law.

125. The Complainant relies on the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General Comment No. 12 of 1999, which obligates States to respect, protect and fulfil the right to adequate food, and General Comment No. 15 of 2003, where the Committee declares that "the human rights to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal domestic uses".

126. The Complainant invites the Commission to develop further its reasoning in the SERAC Case by holding that the right to water is also guaranteed by reading together Articles 4, 16, and 22, of the African Charter. It urges the Commission to find that the Respondent State has violated that right by "being complicit in looting and destroying foodstuffs, crops and livestock as well as poisoning wells and denying access to water sources in the Darfur region.

RESPONDENT STATE'S SUBMISSIONS ON THE MERITS

127. The Respondent State avers that it is addressing the alleged human rights violations through the framework of implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) adopted on 5 May 2006, containing a number of remedies on the situation in Darfur, including addressing the content of the present Communication. As a result of the Agreement, the Respondent State indicates that, it has taken a number of measures to implement the DPA and at the same time deal with the issues raised by the Complainant.

128. The Respondent State submits that following the signing of the Peace Agreement with the Major Armed Movements in Darfur, the signatory partners began to implement all the components of the Agreement (that is, power sharing, wealth sharing, the security arrangements, and the Darfur/Darfur Dialogue). Consequently, Presidential and States decrees and decisions to establish Commissions, development funds, appointing their heads and members, were issued in accordance with the provisions of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

129. The Respondent State submits further that , all the major organs stipulated in the Agreement were duly established, notably the Darfur Interim Authority. These organs have since begun to discharge their duties, since April 2007. In addition, the Respondent State argues that the official positions allocated to Darfurians in all the Organs, Commissions and Committees to a large extent have been occupied by them. The State added that a total of 87 posts have been filled and 16 posts, at lower levels, are yet to be filled.

130. The Respondent State further indicates that with regard to the core aspect of wealth sharing, specialized mechanisms and committees, such as the Darfur Fund for Re-construction and Development and the Compensation Fund for the War Victims, as well as the Rehabilitation Commission have been formed.

131. Regarding the establishment of the Darfur Joint Assessment Mission (DJAM) responsible for defining the development needs and services in Darfur, comprising the Government and the Movements representatives', donors and specialized International Agencies), the State submits that Committees have conducted land surveys in Darfur with a view to defining the needs, adding that the process of data analysis and statistics in preparation for the anticipated International Conference on Development and Re-construction of Darfur sponsored by Holland, is also being undertaken.

132. With respect to the security and military arrangements, the Respondent State submits that work was underway in earnest involving the Government and the Movements, as well as the AU Mission to consolidate the cease fire to which the concerned parties are committed, as well as to make the other security arrangements, notably the specification of military positions, re-integration and demobilization work. The Respondent State added that it has presented disarmament plan regarding the Janjaweed/Militias to the African Union in July 2006. The Respondent State added that a Joint Committee formed by the African Union and the Government was assigned to look into the implementation of the plan in accordance with the provision of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

133. The Respondent State submits further that the commitment of the parties to the Darfur Peace and Cease-fire Agreement has brought about a considerable improvement in the security situation, adding that the State of insecurity has now been confined to some pockets of North Darfur (only 6 localities in North Darfur out of a total of 34 localities which make up the three States of Darfur).

134. The Respondent State argues that it has improved the humanitarian situation and facilitated the flow of relief aid to internally displaced persons. Its fast track policy adopted in 2004, aims at removing all the administrative and procedural restrictions to the flow of relief. As such the level of coverage of relief supplies is 98% access by the needy leaving a balance of (2%) which was not covered due to insecurity in certain localities of North Darfur.

135. With respect to the voluntary repatriation of the refugees, the Respondent State indicates that it has embarked on the rehabilitation of a great number of the villages in Darfur by providing basic services such as water, health, education and housing, aimed at encouraging the return of internally displaced persons , (hereinafter, IDPs) and refugees to their villages and cities. Such efforts have resulted in the return of more than 100,000 IDPs and refugees to their villages in the 3 States of Darfur. The number includes returnees to 70 villages, in West Darfur, 22 villages in South Darfur and 10 villages in North Darfur, The State adds that, a number of major roads have been re-opened in order to facilitate the return of the refugees and the IDPs, including the Nyala-Quraidha-Bram Road, the Nyala-Labdu Road, the Nyala-Mohajiria Road, the Nyala-Dhuain Road and the Kalbas-Eljinaina Road.

136. The Respondent State submits that, following the signing of the Peace Agreement, a great number of the IDPs have begun to exercise pasturing and farming activities. In this regard, the Respondent State notes that, it has assisted in distributing agricultural inputs to the IDPs and those affected by the war. In the same context the efforts of social reconciliation have contributed to confidence building which, in turn, helped in the return of a high percentage of IDPs and the refugees to their villages.

137. The State avers that it has made contributions to humanitarian programmes in Darfur in 2006, to the tune of ($110,889,000 US Dollars) as follows:

138. The Respondent State believes that

". the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement . could indeed help in addressing all the humanitarian issues regarding the situation in Darfur, including the Communication under reference. As stated in our previous memorandum. the Sudanese government shall not be held responsible for the subject of the Communication but it will bear its consequences by virtue of the responsibility it has towards its citizens. The Sudanese Government shall in this regard, be enlightening the esteemed African Commission on all the developments regarding the Communication under reference".

AFRICAN COMMISSION'S DECISION ON THE MERITS

139. The Respondent State made a general denial of the allegations and stated that due to its geographical location, the security situation in the surrounding countries had a destablilising influence on the domestic situation in the country.

140. The Respondent State submits that further consideration of this Communication is no longer relevant. It argues that several issues raised have been addressed by the President of the Republic. The State notes that on 9 March 2004, a general amnesty was granted to combatants who surrendered their arms, that the signing of the first peace agreement at Abeche and N'djamena, and the Abuja May 2006 Agreement, the launching of the reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by the rebels to allow international aid organizations' assistance, the return of internally displaced persons, the creation of an independent Commission of Inquiry on the human rights violations, and the convening of a meeting for all Darfurians to discuss the restoration of peace, have all contributed to addressing the crisis in the Darfur.

141. The State notes that the commitment of the parties to the Darfur Peace and Cease-fire Agreement has brought about a considerable improvement in the security situation, adding that the State of insecurity has now been confined to some pockets of North Darfur.

142. From the above submissions, the Respondent State doesn't seem to be contesting the allegations made by the Complainants. Rather the State notes that following the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement, measures have been put in place by the parties to the Agreement to ensure a resolution of the crisis in Darfur, and consequently address the grievances raised in the present Communication.

143. Could it be said that by not contesting the allegations, the State has conceded to violating the provisions cited by the Complainants, that is, Articles 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12 (1), 14, 16, 18 (1) and 22?

144. It must be noted that the Respondent State has not conceded to the violations either. It simply informs the Commission that the grievances highlighted in the Communications will be addressed by the political developments initiated, in particular, the Signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement. The African Commission will therefore have to address each and every allegation made by the Complainants to ascertain their veracity.

ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLES 4 AND 5

145. With respect to allegations of violation of Articles 4 and 5 of the African Charter, the Complainants allege large-scale and indiscriminate killings, torture, poisoning of wells, rape, forced evictions and displacement, destruction of property, etc.

146. Article 4 of the Charter protects the right to life and provides that "Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of his right". The right to life is the supreme right of the human being. It is basic to all human rights and without it all other rights are without meaning. The term ‘life' itself has been given a relatively broad interpretation by courts internationally, to include the right to dignity and the right to livelihood.

147. It is the duty of the State to protect human life against unwarranted or arbitrary actions by public authorities as well as by private persons. The duty of the State to protect the right to life has been interpreted broadly to include prohibition of arbitrary killing by agents of the State and to strictly control and limit the circumstances in which a person may be deprived of life by state authorities. These include the necessity to conduct effective official investigations when individuals have been killed as a result of the use of force by agents of the State, to secure the right to life by making effective provisions in criminal law to deter the commission of offences against the person, to establish law-enforcement machinery for the prevention, suppression, investigation and penalisation of breaches of criminal law. In addition to the foregoing, the State is duty bound to take preventive operational measures to protect an individual whose life is at risk from the criminal acts of another individual.[FN136] In Article 19 v Eritrea[FN137] this Commission noted that ‘arbitrariness is not to be equated with against the law but must be interpreted more broadly to include elements of inappropriateness, injustice, lack of predictability and due process. '.

[FN136] See European Court judgments in McCann v. United Kingdom (1995) 21 EHRR 97 and Tanrikulu v. Turkey (1999) 30 EHRR 950.

[FN137] Communication 275/2003.

148. States as well as non-state actors, have been known to violate the right to life, but the State has duo legal obligations, to respect the right to life, by not violating that right itself, as well as to protect the right to life, by protecting persons within its jurisdiction from non-state actors. In Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum/Zimbabwe[FN138], the Commission noted that an act by a private individual or [non-state actor] and therefore not directly imputable to a State, can generate responsibility of the State, not because of the act itself, but because of the lack of due diligence on the part of the State to prevent the violation or for not taking the necessary steps to provide the victims with reparation.[FN139]

[FN138] Communication 245/2002.

[FN139] In human rights jurisprudence this standard was first articulated by a regional court, the Inter- American Court of Human Rights, in looking at the obligations of the State of Honduras under the American Convention on Human Rights - Velasquez-Rodriguez, ser. C.,No.4, 9 Hum. Rts.l.J. 212 (1988). The standard of due diligence has been explicitly incorporated into United Nations standards, such as the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women which says that states should 'exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with national legislation, punish acts of violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the state or by private persons'. Increasingly, UN mechanisms monitoring the implementation of human rights treaties, the UN independent experts, and the Court systems at the national and regional level are using this concept of due diligence as their measure of review, particularly for assessing the compliance of states with their obligations to protect bodily integrity.

149. In the present Communication, the State claims it has investigated some of the allegations of extra-judicial and summary executions. The Complainant submits that no effective official investigations were carried out to address cases of extra-judicial or summary executions.

150. To effectively discharge itself from responsibility, it is not enough to investigate. In Amnesty International, Comite Loosli Bacheland, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Association of Members of the Episcopal Conference of East Africa/Sudan [FN140] the African Commission held that "investigations into extra-judicial executions must be carried out by entirely independent individuals, provided with the necessary resources, and their findings must be made public and prosecutions initiated in accordance with the information uncovered. In Jordan v United Kingdom [FN141] the European Court of Human Rights held that, "an effective official investigation must be carried out with promptness and reasonable expedition. The investigation must be carried out for the purpose of securing the effective implementation of domestic laws, which protect the right to life. The investigation or the result thereof must be open to public scrutiny in order to secure accountability. For an investigation into a summary execution carried out by a State agent to be effective, it may generally be regarded as necessary for the person responsible for the carrying out of the investigation to be independent from those implicated in the events. This means not only a lack of hierarchical or institutional connection but also a practical independence".

In the present Communication, the State claims to have investigated the alleged abuses, put in place mechanisms to prevent further abuses and to provide remedies to victims. The question is - were all these initiatives done in accordance with international standards? Did they meet the test of effective official investigations under international human rights law?

[FN140] Communications 48/90, 50/91, 52/91, 89/93.

[FN141] Application no. 24746/94 ((2003) 37 EHRR 2), Judgment of 4/8/2001.

151. The Fact-finding Report of the African Commission to the Darfur Region of Sudan [FN142] states that some women IDPs who were interviewed during the mission stated that ". their villages were attacked by government forces, supported by men riding horses and camels. The attacks resulted in several deaths and injury of people. Some of these women who sustained injuries, showed their wounds to the Commission. The women furthermore stated that during the attacks, a number of cases of rape were committed, some of the raped women became pregnant. Complaints were lodged at the police but were yet to be investigated. They declared that the attackers came back at night to intimidate the villagers who had not fled, accusing them of supporting the opposition. Everyone had to run away from the villages.

The women indicated that they were traumatized by the violent nature of the attacks and said that they would not want to return to the villages as long as their security is not assured. They lamented lack of water and a school in the camp. The mission visited the police station to verify complaints and the level of progress made on the reported cases of rape and other offences, but the mission was unable to have access to the files as the officer in charge of the said cases was absent at the time. At one of its meetings in El Geneina, the mission was informed by the authorities of West Darfur State that even though cases of rapes were reported to the police, investigations could not be conducted because the victims could not identify their attackers. Therefore the files were closed for lack of identification of the perpetrators."

[FN142] The African Commission conducted a Fact Finding Mission to the Darfur Region of Sudan between 8-18 July 2004. The Report of the Mission was adopted by the African Commission during the 3rd Extraordinary Session, held in Pretoria, South Africa, and was published in its Activity Report presented to the AU Executive Council. See paras 86, 87, and 88, at page 20 EX.CL/364(XI)Annex III.

152. UN and Reports of International Human Rights Organisations attest to the fact that the Respondent State has fallen short of its responsibility. For instance, in her 2006 Report, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in The Sudan noted that, "the human rights situation worsened from July 2005. and a comprehensive strategy responding to transitional justice has yet to be developed in the Sudan." She added that the cases prosecuted before the Special Criminal Court on the events in Darfur "did not reflect the major crimes committed during the height of the crisis in Darfur". "only one of the cases involved charges brought against a high-ranking official, and he was acquitted."

153. The Special Rapporteur also found that "the Government has taken other justice initiatives, but they too have fallen short of producing accountability"[FN143] noting that "national laws . effectively protect Sudanese law enforcement officials from criminal prosecution [and that these laws] contribute to a climate of impunity in the Sudan." The fact that the abuses have persisted and are ongoing since the submission of the Communications clearly demonstrates a weakness in the judicial system and lack of effectiveness to guarantee effective investigations and suppression of the said violations. In the opinion of the African Commission, lack of effective investigations in cases of arbitrary killings and extra-judicial executions amount to a violation of Article 4 of the African Charter.

154. Regarding the allegation of Article 5, the Complainants simply make a generalized allegation of human rights violations, adding that ‘methods used included extra-judicial executions, torture, rape of women and girls and arbitrary arrests and detentions, evictions and burning of houses and property, etc. Article 5 of the Charter provides that ‘[e]very individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man, particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited'.

155. Article 5 of the African Charter is aimed at the protection of both the dignity of the human person, and the physical and mental integrity of the individual. The African Charter does not define the meaning of the words, or the phrase "torture or degrading treatment or punishment.." However, Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture[FN144] defines, the term 'torture' to mean ". any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."

[FN144] Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, G.A. res. 39/46, [annex, 39 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 51) at 197, U.N. Doc. A/39/51 (1984)], entered into force June 26, 1987.

156. Torture thus constitutes the intentional and systematic infliction of physical or psychological pain and suffering in order to punish, intimidate or gather information. It is a tool for discriminatory treatment of persons or groups of person who are subjected to the torture by the State or non-state actors at the time of exercising control over such person or persons. The purpose of torture is to control populations by destroying individuals, their leaders and frightening entire communities.

157. The Complainant has submitted that the various incidences of armed attacks by the military forces of the Respondent State, using military helicopters and the Janjawid militia, on the civilian population, forced eviction of the population from their homes and villages, destruction of their properties, houses, water wells, food crops and livestock, and social infrastructure, the rape of women and girls and displacement internally and outside national borders of the Respondent State, constitute violation of the various cited articles of the African Charter, one of which is Article 5. The totality of the aforesaid violations amount to both psychological and physical torture, degrading and inhuman treatment, involving intimidation, coercion and violence.

158. In Media Rights Agenda v Nigeria [FN145], the Commission stated that the term ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment or treatment' is to be interpreted so as to extend the widest possible protection against abuse, whether physical or mental. In John Modise v Botswana [FN146], the Commission elaborated further and noted that ‘exposing victims to personal sufferings and indignity violates the right to human dignity. It went on to state that ‘personal suffering and indignity can take many forms, and will depend on the particular circumstances of each Communication brought before the African Commission'.

[FN145] Communication 2245/1998.

[FN146] Communication 97/1993.

159. Based on the above reasoning, the African Commission agrees with the UN Committee Against Torture in Hijrizi v. Yugoslavia [FN147] that forced evictions and destruction of housing carried out by non-state actors amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, if the State fails to protect the victims from such a violation of their human rights. Hijrizi v. Yugoslavia involved the forced eviction and destruction of the Bozova Glavica settlement in the city of Danilovgrad by private residents who lived nearby. The settlement was destroyed by non-Roman residents under the watchful eye of the Police Department, which failed to provide protection to the Romani and their property, resulting in the entire settlement being leveled and all properties belonging to its Roma residents completely destroyed. Several days later the debris of Bozova Glavica was completely cleared away by municipal construction equipment, leaving no trace of the community.

[FN147] Communication No. 161/2000: UN Doc. CAT/C/29/D/161/2000 (2 December 2002).

160. The Committee Against Torture found that the Police Department did not take any appropriate steps to protect the residents of Bazova Glavica, thus implying acquiescence and that the burning and destruction of their homes constituted acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment within the meaning of Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture or other Cruel, Inhuman Degrading Treatment or Punishment.[FN148] Consequently, the Committee held that the Government of Serbia and Montenegro had violated Article 16 of CAT by not protecting the rights of the residents of Bozova Glavica.

[FN148] Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture states in part that ". Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in Article 1, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."

161. In a similar case dealing with allegations that the applicants' property had been destroyed by Turkish security forces, the European Court of Human Rights arrived at the same conclusion, that the destruction of homes and property was cruel and inhuman treatment. In Selçuk and Asker v Turkey [FN149], the complainants were both Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin living in the village of Islamköy. In the morning of 16 June 1993, a large force of gendarmes arrived in Islamköy and set fire to the houses and other properties of the said complainants.

[FN149] European Court of Human Rights, Case of Selçuk and Asker v. Turkey, Judgment of 24 April 1998, Reports 1998-II, p. 900, paras. 27-30.

162. The Court held that "even in the most difficult of circumstances, such as the fight against organised terrorism and crime, the Convention prohibits in absolute terms torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." The Court concluded that the treatment suffered by the applicants in this case was so severe as to constitute a violation of Article 3[FN150], adding that ‘. bearing in mind in particular the manner in which the applicants' homes were destroyed . and their personal circumstances, it is clear that they must have been caused suffering of sufficient severity for the acts of the security forces to be categorised as inhuman treatment within the meaning of Article 3."

[FN150] Article 3 of the European Convention provides that ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'.

163. Human dignity is an inherent basic right to which all human beings, regardless of their mental capabilities or disabilities are entitled to without discrimination. It is an inherent right which every State is obliged to respect and protect by all means possible.[FN151]

[FN151] See Purohit & Moore v The Gambia, Communication 241/2001.

164. In the present Communication, the Respondent State and its agents, the Janjawid militia, actively participated in the forced eviction of the civilian population from their homes and villages. It failed to protect the victims against the said violations. The Respondent State, while fighting the armed groups, targeted the civilian population, as part of its counter insurgence strategy. In the opinion of the Commission this kind of treatment was cruel and inhuman and threatened the very essence of human dignity.

165. The African Commission wishes to remind States Parties to the African Charter to respect human and peoples' rights at all times including in times of armed conflict. This was emphasised in Constitutional Rights Project, et al/Nigeria in which this Commission stated that:

"[I]n contrast to other international human rights instruments, the African Charter does not contain a derogation clause. Therefore limitation on the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter cannot be justified by emergencies or special circumstances. The only legitimate reasons for limitation of the rights and freedoms of the African Charter are found in Article 27(2), that is, that the rights of the Charter "shall be exercised with due regard to the rights of others, collective security, morality and common interest."

166. The forced eviction of the civilian population cannot be considered permissible under Article 27(2) of the African Charter. Could the Respondent State legitimately argue that it forcefully evicted the Darfur civilian population from their homes, villages and other places of habitual residence, on grounds of collective security, or any other such grounds or justification, if any? For such reasons to be justifiable, the Darfurian population should have benefited from the collective security envisage under Article 27(2). To the contrary, the complaint has demonstrated that after eviction, the security of the IDP camps was not guaranteed. The deployment of peacekeeping forces from outside the country is proof that the Respondent State failed in its obligation to guarantee security to the IDPs and the civilian population in Darfur.

167. In its decision in the Commission Nationale des Droits de l'Hommme et Libertes/Chad[FN152], the Commission reiterated its position that "[t]he African Charter , unlike other human rights instruments does not allow for states to derogate from their treaty obligations during emergency situations. Thus, even with a civil war in Chad [derogation] cannot be used as an excuse by the State violating or permitting violations of rights in the African Charter."

[FN152] Communication No 74/92, 9th Annual Activity Report, 1995-1996 at paragraph 21.

168. In view of the above, the African Commission finds that the Respondent State did not act diligently to protect the civilian population in Darfur against the violations perpetrated by its forces, or by third parties. It failed in its duty to provide immediate remedies to victims. The Commission therefore finds that the Respondent State violated Articles 4 and 5 of the African Charter. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLES 6 AND 7

169. The Complainant alleges arbitrary arrests and detentions of hundreds of Darfurians. It argues that the Respondent State has legal obligations pursuant to Article 6 of the African Charter to respect the right to liberty as well as to protect the right to security of the person, by protecting persons within its jurisdiction from non-state actors such as the Janjaweed militia.

170. Article 6 of the African Charter provides that "every individual shall have the right to liberty and to the security of his person. No one may be deprived of his freedom except for reasons and conditions previously laid down by law. In particular, no one may be arbitrarily arrested or detained". Article 6 of the Charter has two arms - the right to liberty and the right to security of the person.

171. The Complainant alleges that Article 6 has been violated. This presupposes that the victims of the Darfur conflict, have through the actions and omissions of the Respondent State, been subjected to among other violations, the loss of their right to liberty, arbitrary arrest and detention. Personal liberty is a fundamental condition, which everyone should generally enjoy. Its deprivation is something that is likely to have a direct and adverse effect on the enjoyment of other rights, ranging from the right to family and private life, through the right to freedom of assembly, association and expression, to the right to freedom of movement.

172. A simple understanding of the right to liberty is to define it as the right to be free. Liberty thus denotes freedom from restraint - the ability to do as one pleases, provided it is done in accordance with established law. In the Purohit and Moore/The Gambia Case,[FN153] the Commission held that prohibition against arbitrariness requires that deprivation of liberty ‘shall be under the authority and supervision of persons procedurally and substantively competent to certify it'.

[FN153] Communication 241/01 published in the 16th Activity Report.

173. The second arm of Article 6 deals with the right to security of the person. This second arm, even though closely associated with the first arm, the right to liberty, is different from the latter.

174. Security of the person can be seen as an expansion of rights based on prohibitions of torture and cruel and unusual punishment. The right to security of person guards against less lethal conduct, and can be used in regard to prisoners' rights.[FN154] The right to security of the person includes, inter alia, national and individual security. National security examines how the State protects the physical integrity of its citizens from external threats, such as invasion, terrorism, and bio-security risks to human health.

[FN154] Rhona K.M. Smith, Textbook on International Human Rights, second edition, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 245.

175. Individual security on the other hand can be looked at in two angles - public and private security. By public security, the law examines how the State protects the physical integrity of its citizens from abuse by official authorities, and by private security, the law examines how the State protects the physical integrity of its citizens from abuse by other citizens (third parties or non-state actors).

176. The Complainant submits with respect to the present Communication that the forced eviction, destruction of housing and property and accompanying human rights abuses amounted to a violation of Article 6 of the African Charter. The majority of the thousands of displaced civilians who were forcibly evicted from their homes and villages have not returned, in spite of the measures taken by the Respondent State.

By its own account, the Respondent State admitted that only 100,000 IDPs [FN155] have returned to their villages. It submitted further that insecurity prevails in only 6 of the 34 Darfur localities. The numbers of needy IDPs camped in various relief centres remains high, notwithstanding the said improvements.

[FN155] The figures given by UN and Non Governmental Humanitarian agencies operating in Darfur indicate that the number of IDPs have for the most part during the Darfur conflict ranged between 1,500,000 and 2,500,000.

177. The Commission observes that IDPs and refugees can only return when security and safety is guaranteed and the Respondent State provides the protection in the areas of return. Voluntary return under situation of forced displacement must be in safety and dignity. The Commission believes that the right to liberty complements the right to freedom of movement under Article 12. If the IDPs or the refugees are not able to move freely to their homes, because of insecurity, or because their homes have been destroyed, then their liberty and freedom is proscribed. Life in an IDP or refugee camp cannot be synonymous with the liberty enjoyed by a free person in normal society. The 2004 Mission of the African Commission to Darfur found that male IDPs could not venture outside the camps for fear of being killed. Women and girls who ventured outside the camps to fetch water and firewood were raped by the Janjawid militia.

178. Cases of sexual and gender based violence against women and girls in and outside IDP camps have been a common feature of the Darfur conflict. The right to liberty and the security of the person, for women and girls, and other victims of the Darfur conflict has remained an illusion. The deployment of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) forces, could not guarantee the implementation of the Abuja Darfur Peace Agreement. The United Nations had to supplement the AU with the United Nations/African Union Mission to Darfur hybrid forces, (UNAMID) to provide protection to the civilian population.

179. In the present Communication, the Respondent State, in spite all the information regarding the physical abuse the victims were enduring, has not demonstrated that it took appropriate measures to protect the physical integrity of its citizens from abuse either by official authorities or other citizens/third parties. By failing to take steps to protect the victims, the Respondent State violated Article 6 of the African Charter.

180. The Complainant argues that the victims' right guaranteed under Article 7 (1) of the African Charter has been violated due to the failure by the Respondent State to investigate and prosecute its agents and the third parties responsible for the abuses. Article 7 (1) of the Charter provides that ‘Every individual shall have the right to have his cause heard. This comprises a) The right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts of violating his fundamental rights as recognised and guaranteed by conventions, laws, regulations and customs in force b) The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty by a competent court or tribunal c) The right to defence, including the right to be defended by counsel of his choice and d) The right to be tried within a reasonable time by an impartial court or tribunal'.

181. The right to be heard requires that the complainants have unfettered access to a tribunal of competent jurisdiction to hear their case. A tribunal is competent having been given that power by law, it has jurisdiction over the subject matter and the person, and the trial is being conducted within any applicable time limit prescribed by law. Where the competent authorities put obstacles on the way which prevent victims from accessing the competent tribunals, they would be held liable.

182. Given the generalized fear perpetrated by constant bombing, violence, burning of houses and evictions, victims were forced to leave their normal places of residence. Under these circumstances, it would be an affront to common sense and justice to expect the victims to bring their plights to the courts of the Respondent State.

183. In Recontre Africaine pour la Defense des Droits de l'Homme/Republic of Zambia, [FN156] the African Commission held that the mass expulsions, particularly following arrest and subsequent detentions, deny victims the opportunity to establish the legality of these actions in the courts. Similarly, in Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum/Zimbabwe[FN157], the African Commission noted that the protection afforded by Article 7 is not limited to the protection of the rights of arrested and detained persons but encompasses the right of every individual to access the relevant judicial bodies competent to have their causes heard and be granted adequate relief. The Commission added that "If there appears to be any possibility of an alleged victim succeeding at a hearing, the applicant should be given the benefit of the doubt and allowed to have their matter heard."

[FN156] Communication 71/1992. Communication 245/2002.

[FN157] American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, O.A.S. Res. XXX, adopted by the Ninth International Conference of American States (1948), reprinted in Basic Documents Pertaining to Human Rights in the Inter-American System, OEA/Ser.L.V/II.82 doc.6 rev.1 at 17 (1992).

184. To borrow from the Inter-American human rights system, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man158 provides in Article XVIII that every person has the right to "resort to the courts to ensure respect for [their] legal rights," and to have access to a "simple, brief procedure whereby the courts" will protect him or her "from acts of the authority that . violate any fundamental constitutional rights. ".

185. In the present Communication, the forced evictions, burning of houses, bombardments and violence perpetrated against the victims made access to competent national organs illusory and impractical. To this extent, the Respondent State is found to have violated Article 7 of the African Charter.

ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 12 (1)

186. The Complainant alleges that the forced evictions constitute a violation of the right to freedom of movement and residence as guaranteed in Article 12 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. The Complainant argues that the forceful displacement of thousands upon thousands of persons from their chosen and established places of residence clearly contravenes the right to residence.

187. Freedom of movement is a fundamental human right to all individuals within States. Freedom of movement is a right which is stipulated in international human rights instruments, and the constitutions of numerous States. It asserts that a citizen of a State, generally has the right to leave that State, and return at any time. Also (of equal or greater importance in this context) to travel to, reside in, and/or work in, any part of the State the citizen wishes, without interference from the State. Free movement is crucial for the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

188. Freedom of movement and residence are two sides of the same coin. States therefore have a duty to ensure that the exercise of these rights is not subjected to arbitrary restrictions. Restrictions on the enjoyment of these rights should be proportionate and necessary to respond to a specific public need or pursue a legitimate aim.

Under international law, it is the duty of States to take all measures to avoid conditions which might lead to displacement and thus impact the enjoyment of freedom of movement and residence. Principle 5 of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement [FN159] requires States to adhere to international law so as to prevent or avoid situations that might lead to displacement.

[FN159] OCHA/Brookings Institution on Internal Displacement, 1999 and Implementing the Collaborative Response to Situations of Internal Displacement, IASC, 2004.

189. The right to protection from displacement is derived from the right to freedom of movement and choice of residence contemplated in the African Charter and other international instruments. Displacement by force, and without legitimate or legal basis, as is the case in the present Communication, is a denial of the right to freedom of movement and choice of residence.

190. The Complainant submitted that thousands of civilian were forcibly evicted from their homes to make-shift camps for internally displaced persons or fled to neighbouring countries as refugees. People in the Darfur region cannot move freely for fear of being killed by gunmen allegedly supported by the Respondent State. The Respondent State failed to prevent forced evictions or to take urgent steps to ensure displaced persons return to their homes. The Commission therefore finds that the Respondent State has violated Article 12 (1) of the African Charter.

ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 14

191. The Complainants also alleged violation of Article 14 of the Charter which provides that ‘[t]he right to property shall be guaranteed. It may only be encroached upon in the interest of public need or in the general interest of the community and in accordance with the provisions of appropriate laws'.

192. The right to property is a traditional fundamental right in democratic and liberal societies. It is guaranteed in international human rights instruments as well as national constitutions, and has been established by the jurisprudence of the African Commission. [FN160] The role of the State is to respect and protect this right against any form of encroachment, and to regulate the exercise of this right in order for it to be accessible to everyone, taking public interest into due consideration.

[FN160] See Communications 71/92 - Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme/Zambia, Communication 292/2004 - Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa/Republic of Angola, and Communication 159/1996 - Union Inter Africaine des Droits de l'Homme, Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme and Others v. Angola.

193. The right to property encompasses two main principles. The first one is of a general nature. It provides for the principle of ownership and peaceful enjoyment of property. The second principle provides for the possibility, and conditions of deprivation of the right to property. Article 14 of the Charter recognises that States are in certain circumstances entitled, among other things, to control the use of property in accordance with the public or general interest, by enforcing such laws as they deem necessary for the purpose.

194. However, in the situation described by the present Communication, the State has not taken and does not want to take possession of the victims' property. The property has been destroyed by its military forces and armed groups, acting on their own, or believed to be supported by the Respondent State. Could it be said that the victims have been deprived of their right to property? The answer to this is yes, and this is supported by international jurisprudence.

195. In Dogan and others v Turkey[FN161],the applicants allege that State security forces forcibly evicted them from their village, given the disturbances in the region at that time, and also destroyed their property.

[FN161] Applications nos. 8803-8811/02, 8813/02 and 8815-8819/02) 29 June 2004.

196. The applicants complained to the European Court of Human Rights about their forced eviction from their homes and the Turkish authorities' refusal to allow them to return. They relied on among other provisions, Article 1 (obligation to respect human rights), Article 6 (right to a fair hearing), Article 8 (right to respect for family life and home), and, Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property).

197. The Court also recalled that the state of emergency at the time of the events complained of was characterised by violent confrontations between the security forces and members of the PKK which forced many people to flee their homes. The Turkish authorities had also evicted the inhabitants of a number of settlements to ensure the safety of the population in the region. In numerous similar cases the Court had found that security forces had deliberately destroyed the homes and property of applicants, depriving them of their livelihoods and forcing them to leave their villages.

198. The Court recognised that armed clashes, generalised violence and human rights violations, specifically within the context of the PKK insurgency, compelled the authorities to take extraordinary measures to maintain security in the state of emergency region. Those measures involved, among others, the restriction of access to several villages, including Boydaş, as well as the evacuation of some villages.

199. The Court noted that the applicants all lived in Boydaş village until 1994. Although they did not have registered property, they either had their own houses constructed on the lands of their ancestors or lived in houses owned by their fathers and cultivated their fathers' land. They also had unchallenged rights over the common lands in the village and earned their living from breeding livestock and tree-felling. Those economic resources and the revenue the applicants derived from them, according to the Court, qualified as "possessions" for the purposes of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

200. The Court found that the applicants had had to bear an individual and excessive burden which had upset the fair balance which should be struck between the requirements of the general interest and the protection of the right to the peaceful enjoyment of one's possessions. The Court made a finding that Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 had been violated.[FN162]

[FN162] Protocol to t he Convention (European) for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, UNTS, Vol 213 No I-2889. No. 21893/93,

201. The victims in the present Communication, have been forced out of their normal places of residence by government military forces and militia forces believed to be supported by the Respondent State. Their homes and other possessions destroyed. The African Commission recognises that the Darfur Region has been engulfed in armed conflict and there has been widespread violence resulting in serious human rights violations. It is the primary duty and responsibility of the Respondent State to establish conditions, as well as provide the means, to ensure the protection of both life and property, during peace time and in times of disturbances and armed conflicts. The Respondent State also has the responsibility to ensure that persons who are in harms way, as it seems the victims were, are resettled in safety and with dignity in another part of the country.

202. In Akdivar and Others v. Turkey case [FN163], a situation similar to the one prevailing in the Darfur, involving the destruction of housing in the context of a conflict between the government and rebel forces, the European Court of Human Rights held that the State is responsible for violations perpetrated by both its own forces and the rebel forces because it has the duty to respect and protect human rights.

203. The United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights on 11 August 2005 endorsed a set of guidelines, known as the Pinhero Principles, and recommended them to UN agencies, the international community, including States and civil society, as a guide to address the legal and technical issues concerning housing, and property restitution when the rights thereof are violated. Principle 5 addresses the right to protection from displacement. Paragraphs 5.3 and 5.4 of the Principles state the following

" States shall prohibit forced eviction, demolition of houses and destruction of agricultural areas and the arbitrary confiscation or expropriation of lands as a punitive measure or as a means or methods of war."

" States shall take steps to ensure that no one is subjected to displacement by either State or non State actors. States shall also ensure that individuals, corporations, and other entities within their legal jurisdiction or effective control refrain from carrying out or otherwise participating in displacement

204. The African Commission is aware that the Pinhero Principles are guidelines and do not have any force of law. They however reflect the emerging principles in international human rights jurisprudence. When these principles are read together with decisions of regional bodies, such as the cited European Court decisions, the African Commission finds great persuasive value in the said principles, albeit as a guide to interpret the right to property under Article 14 of the African Charter.

205. In the present Communication, the Respondent State has failed to show that it refrained from the eviction, or demolition of victims' houses and other property. It did not take steps to protect the victims from the constant attacks and bombings, and the rampaging attacks by the Janjaweed militia. It doesn't matter whether they had legal titles to the land, the fact that the victims cannot derive their livelihood from what they possessed for generations means they have been deprived of the use of their property under conditions which are not permitted by Article 14. The Commission therefore finds the Respondent State in violation of Article 14.

ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 16

206. The Complainant also alleges violation of Article 16 of the African Charter. Article 16 provides that, ‘[e]very individual shall have the right to enjoy the best attainable state of physical and mental health. States Parties to the present Charter shall take the necessary measures to protect the health of their people and to ensure that they receive medical attention when they are sick'.

207. The Complainant submits that the Respondent State was complicit in looting and destroying foodstuffs, crops and livestock as well as poisoning wells and denying access to water sources in the Darfur region.

208. In recent years, there have been considerable developments in international law with respect to the normative definition of the right to health, which includes both health care and healthy conditions. The right to health has been enshrined in numerous international and regional human rights instruments, including the African Charter.

209. In its General Comment No. 14 on the right to health adopted in 2000, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights sets out that, ‘the right to health extends not only to timely and appropriate health care but also to the underlying determinants of health, such as, access to safe and portable water, an adequate supply of safe food, nutrition, and housing. '. In terms of the General Comment, the right to health contains four elements: availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality, and impose three types of obligations on States - to respect, fulfil and protect the right. In terms of the duty to protect, the State must ensure that third parties (non-state actors) do not infringe upon the enjoyment of the right to health.

210. Violations of the right to health can occur through the direct action of States or other entities insufficiently regulated by States. According to General Comment 14, ‘states should also refrain from unlawfully polluting air, water and soil, . during armed conflicts in violation of international humanitarian law. States should also ensure that third parties do not limit people's access to health-related information and services, and the failure to enact or enforce laws to prevent the pollution of water. [violates the right to health]'.

211. In its decision on Free Legal Assistance Group and Others v. Zaire[FN164] the Commission held that the failure of the Government to provide basic services such as safe drinking water and electricity and the shortage of medicine . constitutes a violation of Article 16.

[FN164] Communications 25/89, 47/90, 56/91 and 100/93.

212. In the present Communication, the destruction of homes, livestock and farms as well as the poisoning of water sources, such as wells exposed the victims to serious health risks and amounts to a violation of Article 16 of the Charter.

ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 18 (1)

213. With respect to the alleged violation of Article 18 (1), the Complainants argue that the destruction of homes and evictions of the victims constituted a violation of this sub-paragraph of Article 18. Article 18 (1) recognizes that ‘[t]he family shall be the natural unit and basis of society'. It goes further to place a positive obligation on States, stating that ‘[t]he family shall be protected by the State which shall take care of its physical health and moral'. This provision thus establishes a prohibition on arbitrary or unlawful interference with the family.

214. In its General Comment No. 19, the Human Rights Committee stated that ‘ensuring the protection provided for under article 23 of the Covenant requires that States parties should adopt legislative, administrative or other measures. '. Ensuring protection of the family also requires that States refrain from any action that will affect the family unit, including arbitrary separation of family members and involuntary displacement of families. In the Dogan case, the European Court of Human Rights also held that the refusal of access to the applicants' homes and livelihood constituted a serious and unjustified interference with the right to respect for family life and home. The Court concluded that there had been a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention, which protects the right to family, similar to Article 18 (1) of the African Charter.

215. In Union Inter Africaine des Droits de l'Homme, Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme and Others v. Angola [FN165], the Commission found that massive forced expulsion [ whether in peace time or war time] of population has a negative effect on the enjoyment of the right to family. In that Communication, it was alleged that between April and September 1996, the Angolan government rounded up and expelled West African nationals from its territory. These expulsions were preceded by acts of brutality committed against Senegalese, Malian, Gambian, Mauritanian and other nationals. The victims lost their belongings, and in some cases, families were separated. The African Commission held that mass expulsions of any category of persons, whether on the basis of nationality, religion, ethnic, racial or other considerations "constitute a special violation of human rights". The Commission added that ‘by deporting the victims, thus separating some of them from their families, the Defendant State had violated and violates Article [18 (1) of the Charter].

[FN165] Communications 159/1996.

216. The Respondent State and its agents, the Janjaweed militia forcefully evicted the victims from their homes, some family members were killed, others fled to different places, inside and outside the territory of the Respondent State. This kind of scenario threatens the very foundation of the family and renders the enjoyment of the right to family life difficult. By not ensuring protection to the victims, thus allowing its forces or third parties to infringe on the rights of the victims, the Respondent State is held to have violated Article 18 (1) of the African Charter.

ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 22

217. The Complainant alleges violation of Article 22 (1) of the Charter. Article 22 (1) provides that ‘[a]ll peoples shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in the equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind. (2). States shall have the duty, individually or collectively, to ensure the exercise of the right to development."

218. The right to economic, social and cultural development envisaged in Article 22 is a collective right endowed on a people. To determine violation under this article, the Commission will first have to determine whether the victims constitute a "people" within the context of the African Charter.

219. The population in the Darfur Region, alleges the Complainant, is made up of three major tribes, namely the Zaghawa, the Fur, and the Marsalit. These tribes are described as being "people of black African origin". The Respondent State is the largest state in Africa. Part of its population is of Arab stock. A common feature shared between the people of Darfur and the population of the other parts of the Respondent State, except for Southern Sudan, is that they predominantly subscribe to the Islam religion and culture.

220. By attempting to interpret the content of a "peoples' right," the Commission is conscious that jurisprudence in that area is still very fluid. It believes, however, that in defining the content of the peoples' right, or the definition of "a people," it is making a contribution to Africa's acceptance of its diversity. An important aspect of this process of defining "a people" is the characteristics, which a particular people may use to identify themselves, through the principle of self identification, or be used by other people to identify them. These characteristics, include the language, religion, culture, the territory they occupy in a state, common history, ethno - anthropological factors, to mention but a few. In States with mixed racial composition, race becomes a determinant of groups of "peoples", just as ethnic identity can also be a factor. In some cases groups of "a people" might be a majority or a minority in a particular State. Such criteria should only help to identify such groups or sub groups in the larger context of a States' wholesome population.

221. It is unfortunate that Africa tends to deny the existence of the concept of a "people" because of its tragic history of racial and ethnic bigotry by the dominant racial groups during the colonial and apartheid rule. The Commission believes that racial and ethnic diversity on the continent contributes to the rich cultural diversity which is a cause for celebration. Diversity should not be seen as a source of conflict. It is in that regard that the Commission was able to articulate the rights of indigenous people and communities in Africa. Article 19 of the African Charter recognizes the right of all people to equality, to enjoy same rights, and that nothing shall justify a domination of a people by another.

222. There is a school of thought, however, which believes that the "right of a people" in Africa can be asserted only vis-à-vis external aggression, oppression or colonization. The Commission holds a different view, that the African Charter was enacted by African States to protect human and peoples' rights of the African peoples against both external and internal abuse.

223. In this regard it protects the rights of every individual and peoples of every race, ethnicity, religion and other social origins. Articles 2 and 19 of the Charter are very explicit on that score. In addressing the violations committed against the people of Darfur, the Commission finds that the people of Darfur in their collective are "a people," as described under Article 19. They do not deserve to be dominated by a people of another race in the same state. Their claim for equal treatment arose from the alleged underdevelopment and marginalization. The response by the Respondent State, while fighting the armed conflict, targeted the civilian population, instead of the combatants. This in a way was a form of collective punishment, which is prohibited by international law. It is in that respect that the Commission views the alleged violation of Article 22.

224. The Complainant alleged that the violations were committed by government forces, and by an Arab militia, the Janjaweed, against victims of black African tribes. The attacks and forced displacement of Darfurian people denied them the opportunity to engage in economic, social and cultural activities. The displacement interfered with the right to education for their children and pursuit of other activities. Instead of deploying its resources to address the marginalisation in the Darfur, which was the main cause of the conflict, the Respondent State instead unleashed a punitive military campaign which constituted a massive violation of not only the economic social and cultural rights, but other individual rights of the Darfurian people. Based on the analysis hereinabove, concerning the nature and magnitude of the violations, the Commission finds that the Respondent State is in violation of Article 22 of the Africa Charter.

225. In Conclusion, the Commission would like to address the Complainant's prayer that the Commission draws the attention of the Assembly of the Africa Union to the serious and massive violations of human and peoples' rights in the Darfur, so that the Assembly may request an in-depth study of the situation. The Commission wishes to state that it undertook a fact finding mission to the Darfur suo motu, in July 2004. Its findings and recommendations were sent to the Respondent State and the African Union. The Commission has continued to monitor the human rights situation in the Darfur through its country and thematic rapportuers and has presented reports on the same to each Ordinary Session of the Commission, which are in turn presented to the Assembly of the African Union.

226. The African Union has deployed its peacekeepers together with the United Nations under the UNAMID hybrid force. In the Commission view, these measures constitute what would most likely ensue, if an in-depth study were undertaken under Article 58. The request by the Complainant would have been appropriate had no action been taken by the African Commission or the organs of the African Union.

227. The African Commission concludes further that Article 1 of the African Charter imposes a general obligation on all States parties to recognise the rights enshrined therein and requires them to adopt measures to give effect to those rights. As such any finding of violation of those rights constitutes violation of Article 1.

228. Based on the above reasoning, the African Commission holds that the Respondent State, the Republic of The Sudan, has violated Articles 1, 4, 5, 6, 7(1), 12(1) and (2), 14, 16, 18(1) and 22 of the African Charter.

229. The African Commission recommends that the Respondent State should take all necessary and urgent measures to ensure protection of victims of human rights violations in the Darfur Region, including to:

a. conduct effective official investigations into the abuses, committed by members of military forces, i.e. ground and air forces, armed groups and the Janjaweed militia for their role in the Darfur

b. undertake major reforms of its legislative and judicial framework in order to handle cases of serious and massive human rights violations

c. take steps to prosecute those responsible for the human rights violations, including murder, rape, arson and destruction of property

d. take measures to ensure that the victims of human rights abuses are given effective remedies, including restitution and compensation

e. rehabilitate economic and social infrastructure, such as education, health, water, and agricultural services, in the Darfur provinces in order to provide conditions for return in safety and dignity for the IDPs and Refugees

f. establish a National Reconciliation Forum to address the long-term sources of conflict, equitable allocation of national resources to the various provinces, including affirmative action for Darfur, resolve issues of land, grazing and water rights, including destocking of livestock

g. desist from adopting amnesty laws for perpetrators of human rights abuses and

h. consolidate and finalise pending Peace Agreements.

Adopted during the 45th Ordinary Session, held between 13 and 27 May 2009, Banjul, The Gambia.


Republic of the Sudan

Background:
With the Independence in 1956 problems began for the new republic almost immediately, in the shape of conflict between north and south. Carefully isolated from one another under British rule, the vast cultural differences between these two regions now escalated rapidly, and civil war was imminent.
A military coup, led by General Ibrahim Abboud, overthrew the government in 1958. Parliament was dismissed and martial law was declared, with Abboud as self-proclaimed Prime Minister.
Another coup in 1969, led this time by Colonel Jafaar Mohammed al-Nimeiry, set up government under a revolutionary council. Nimeiry became the Sudan's first elected President in 1972, and signed the Addis Ababa agreement, in an attempt to end strife between north and south. Uneasy peace was maintained for almost a decade and in 1983, Nimeiry was re-elected for a third term of office. His policies for economic recovery were ineffective, however, and unrest grew once more, resulting in Nimeiry's deposition in a bloodless coup in April 1985.

A year of military rule followed, before the rise of a new Mahdi. This was Sadiq al-Mahdi, the great-grandson of Mohammed Ahmad, but, despite many lofty promises of democracy, the new government proved weak and al-Mahdi was deposed in 1989.

His replacement was Lt. General Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, and Sudan was ruled by a 15-member Revolutionary Council. Throughout the 1990s, conditions have deteriorated in the Sudan. Non-Muslim rebels in the south, known as the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) are led by John Garang, a member of the southern Dinka tribe. The war between government and rebels continues, and many of the Sudanese people are displaced refugees, while many others are faced with economic ruin and the threat of starvation.

The northern opposition under the umbrella of the "National Democratic Alliance" (NDA), including the SPLM, had also took up arms against al-Bashir rule and occupied territories in eastern Sudan and northern Blue Nile.

In January 2005 the Sudan government has signed a preliminary peace agreement with the main opposition umbrella group, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years, ater which, a referendum for independence is scheduled to be held.

A separate conflict, which broke out in the western region of Darfur in 2003, has displaced nearly 2 million people and caused an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 deaths.
(Source: ArabNet and others)

Sudan is a member state of the League of Arab States

Official Name:
Jumhuriyat as-Sudan
short form: As-Sudan
int'l long form: Sudan
int'l short form: Republic of the Sudan
former: Anglo-Egyptian Sudan

Capital City: Khartoum (pop. 1.4 million)

Other Cities: Omdurman (2.1 million), Port Sudan (pop. 450 000), Kassala, Kosti,
Juba, the capital of southern region.


Government:
Type: Provisional Government established by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in January 2005.
Independence: 1 January 1956 (from the UK).

Geography:
Location: North-eastern Africa, south of Egypt, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea.
Area: 2.5 million km² (965,255 sq. mi.) North and South Sudan.
Terrain: Generally flat with mountains in east and west. The southern regions are inundated during the annual floods of the Nile River system.

Climate: Desert and savanna in the north and central regions and tropical in the south.

People:
Nationality: Sudanese
Population: 40 million (in 2015)
Ethnic Groups: Sudanese Arab (approximately 70%), Fur, Beja, Nuba, and Fallata.
Religions: Sunni Islam (official), small Christian minority.
Languages: Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, Fur, English.
Literacy: 76% (est)

Natural resources: Petroleum small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, hydropower.

Agriculture products: Cotton, groundnuts, sorghum, millet, wheat, gum arabic, sugarcane, cassava (tapioca), mangos, papaya, bananas, sweet potatoes, sesame sheep, livestock.

Industries: Oil, cotton ginning, textiles, cement, edible oils, sugar, soap distilling, shoes, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, armaments, automobile/light truck assembly.

Exports - commodities: gold oil and petroleum products cotton, sesame, livestock, peanuts, gum Arabic, sugar.

Exports - partners: UAE 32%, China 16.2%, Saudi Arabia 15.5%, Australia 4.7%, India 4.2% (2015)

Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, manufactured goods, refinery and transport equipment, medicines, chemicals, textiles, wheat.

Imports - partners: China 26.4%, UAE 10.1%, India 9.1%, Egypt 5.6%, Turkey 4.7%, Saudi Arabia 4.4% (2015)

Official Sites of Sudan

Sudan Government
Sudan's National Government Bodies and Ministries.

Statisticss
Central Bureau of Statistics
Statistical figures (in Arabic and English)

Map of Sudan
Political Map of Sudan.
Administrative Map of Sudan
Map showing the states of Sudan.
Topographic Map of Sudan
Map showing the topographical features of Sudan.

Google Earth Sudan
Searchable map/satellite view of Sudan.
Google Earth Khartoum
Searchable map/satellite view of Sudan's capital city.
Google Earth Port Sudan
Searchable map/satellite view of Sudan's major port.
Google Earth Abyei
Searchable map/satellite view of the disputed town in Abyei region.
Google Earth Juba
Searchable map/satellite view of South Sudan's capital.

Sudan News

Sudan ranks deep down at the bottom in the Reporters Without Borders annual press freedom index. Sudanese security (NISS) confiscates routinely copies of Sudanese newspapers.

Sudanese Media Centre
Believed to be run by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).

Al-Jareeda
A major Khartoum based Sudanese newspaper.

Al Rayaam
Oldest newspaper in Sudan (dead link)

Alsahafah
Daily news (dead link)

South Sudan
Juba Monitor
Scattered news from Sudan.

International News Sources
SudanTribune
News and views information site on Sudan (based in Paris).

IRINnews: Africa
News provided by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Radio/TV
Sudanese Radio & TV Corporation
The state-run Sudan National Broadcasting Corporation (SNBC)

Arts & Culture

Business & Economy

Bank of Sudan
The Central Bank of Sudan
Bank of Khartoum
Biggest Bank in Sudan.

Sudan Invest
The Investment Authority is responsible for setting up advertising and publicity campaigns for investment in Sudan.

Sudanese Petroleum Corporation
SPC controls oil and gas operations in Sudan.

Sudanese Products
Gum Arabic Company
The largest exporter of Gum Arabic in the world.

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Sudan - Travel and Tour Guides

Discover Sudan: accommodation, hotels, events, tourism, and more.


Tourism In Sudan
Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan provides some information about tourism in the country.

Education

Environment & Nature

Current issues:
Inadequate supplies of potable water
Soil erosion desertification periodic drought.
Wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting

History

Nubia
The earliest kingdoms and civilisations south of the Sahara.

History Of The Sudan
Page of the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan about the history of the country.

Additional Information about Sudan

FAO in Sudan
Food and Agriculture Information by the Organization of the United Nations about Sudan.

Freedom House Sudan
Freedom House reports about Sudan.

GlobalEDGE: Sudan
GlobalEDGE Sudan Country Profile.

Human Rights Watch: Sudan
Human Rights Watch information about Sudan.

OEC: Sudan
The Observatory of Economic Complexity provides economic information about Sudan.


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