Sudan Human Rights and Humanitarian Bulletin Issue No 4 01 – 15 Decem
Sudan Human Rights and Humanitarian Bulletin
Issue No 4
01 – 15 December 2013
The Sudan Human Rights and Humanitarian Bulletin (Sudan HRH Bulletin) is a fortnightly report on the human rights and humanitarian situation in Sudan issued by Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC). Information in this Bulletin is compiled from different sources, including interviews with eye witnesses and victims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Prime sources for some information in this Bulletin are Radio Dabanga http://www.radiodabanga.org and the weekly Humanitarian Bulletin on Sudan issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) http://unocha.org/sudan
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The human rights and humanitarian situation in Sudan continued to deteriorate during the last two weeks. The war between the army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and its allied insurgent groups of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) has been intensifying with military operations in South and West Kordofan and the Blue Nile States. Fighting was also reported between the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdulwahid (SLM- Abdulwahid) and the army near Zallingei, capital of Central Darfur State. Forced displacement of civilians due to scorched-earth tactics, including aerial bombardment and ground attacks by the army and militiamen against civilian settlements is on the increase. The most recent United Nations (UN) estimates indicate that by the end of 2013, the number of newly displaced persons reported this year in Darfur, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile States would reach 950,000. This significant increase in the number of forcibly displaced persons places additional burdens on the humanitarian community.
Abuses of civil and political rights and fundamental liberties have been reported in Sudan during the last two weeks. Unknown numbers of political dissidents are being detained without charges or trial in different parts of Sudan. Political detainees are usually held incommunicado under deplorable conditions in detention centres controlled by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) where torture is reportedly rampant. Harassment and intimidation of journalists and political activists have also been reported. Violations of fundamental rights and liberties in Sudan are committed by the government apparatus against the background that Sudan is a state party to the core body of regional and international human rights and humanitarian law, and, as such, it is under legal obligation to respect the rights and liberties provided in these instruments.1
A. Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1. Violations of Civil and Political Rights
On 15 December 2013, armed NISS agents arrested Mr. Gazi Al-Ryah Al-Shalzli, an activist and leading member of the humanitarian group Nafeer Campaign. He was arrested from his family home and taken to an unknown place. The NISS did not give any explanation, or show an arrest warrant or court order for the arrest of Mr. Al-Shazli. On the same day, it was also reported that NISS agents arrested Dr. El-Fadil Saeed, a pro-democracy activist and member of the Sudan Democratic Liberal Party and held him in an unknown location.
Mr. Zongel Ibraham Mickael, a Sudanese Christian preacher, has been in detention since 26 October 2013. Mr. Mickael is a naturalized Sudanese citizen of Eritrean origin. He has been active in the service of the Anglican Church in Khartoum for several
1 Sudan is a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is a state party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Sudan is a contracting party to the Geneva Conventions on International Humanitarian Law. It is also a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and, as such, it should refrain from any practice or act which defeats the object and purpose of the Rome Statute.
years. It was reported that earlier in October 2013 the Sudanese authorities revoked Mr. Mickael’s legally acquired Sudanese citizenship, confiscated his travel documents and ordered him to leave the country without due judicial process or the right of appeal. Mr. Mickael was arrested despite the fact that he has applied for political asylum to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Khartoum and is expecting resettlement in a third country. His application for political asylum is currently under review. Since 11 August 2011, the government of Sudan has revoked the citizenship of more than 7 million of its rightful citizens whose ancestors originate from the Southern part of the country. For that purpose the Sudanese Nationality Act of 1994 was amended so that: "A person will automatically lose his Sudanese nationality if he has acquired, de jure or de facto, the nationality of South Sudan.” This measure has been retroactively applied to collectively and arbitrarily deprive millions of Sudanese nationals of their citizenship rights.
Three young people (Mr. Arafat Jamaleldin, Mr. Tarig El Sheikh, and Mr. Shamseldin Haj Ahmed) have been detained incommunicado since 30 November 2013. They were arrested by NISS agents in a private home in the Shambat suburb of Khartoum North. They were arrested during a meeting they had organized in support of the families of the victims of police killings and violence during the demonstrations held in that popular residential area during the September/October public protests reported in different parts of Sudan.
Mr. Mohamed Mohammadou A. Sabi, a journalist with Al-Akhbar daily newspaper, was released from custody on 5 December 2013. He had been held incommunicado for more than two months without charges or trial and had spent the period of his detention in a security facility since his arrest in Khartoum on 28 September 2013. After his release Mr. Sabi declared that he had been verbally abused and mentally and physically tortured during his detention and that he was regularly beaten and held in solitary confinement in a separate detention cell. The health condition of Mr. Sabi, who suffers from chronic gastric ulcer, has deteriorated during his detention as he received no medical attention or medicine that he needs on a regular basis. Mr. Adam Sharief, the Coordinator of Darfur Bar Association in South Darfur State, was released from prison on 30 November 2013. He had been arrested in Nyala on 26 September 2013 and held in government custody without charges or trial until his release. He was threatened and intimidated. Mr. Sharief believes that his life is in danger.
Freedom of Expression and the Press
A crackdown on newspapers as well as harassment and intimidation of journalists and publishers as a means to curtail freedom of expression, continues unabated in Sudan. On 1 December 2013, NISS confiscated the daily issue of El-Jareeda newspaper after it had been printed. A day earlier El Taghyeer newspaper was ordered to stop the distribution of its issue after printing. There were no reasons advanced by the NISS for these measures. The NISS shutdown El-Majahar Al-Siasi newspaper for an indefinite period as of Friday, 6 December 2013 when the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief received a telephone call from NISS informing him about their decision. The number of journalists that have been prevented by NISS from writing in newspapers because of their critical opinions about the government performance is on the increase.
Harassment and Intimidation of Women Activists and Sexual Violence
Ms. Rania Ali Musa Mamoun, a playwright and novelist, who was arrested with her brother and sister on 23 September 2013 while they were taking part in a public rally, was convicted in a flawed court process by the Criminal Court in Wad Medani (central Sudan) on charges of infringements to public order. Her brother was also convicted of the same charges. They were fined 500 Sudanese pounds or about US$850 each. Ms. Mamoun and many other protestors were convicted of criminal offences for exercising their fundamental rights as guaranteed under Sudan’s Constitution.
Incidents of rape and sexual violence against women and girls were reported in Darfur during the last two weeks.
On 15 December 2013, it was reported that 10 women aged between 18 and 40 years, and 4 minors aged between 12 and 15 years, were gang-raped by militiamen in Wadi Bari, northeast of Abta area in Central Darfur State. Local sources indicated that more than 20 government-backed militiamen, some of them in military uniforms, assaulted the women and girls while they were collecting firewood and picking jujube fruits in Wadi Bari, north of Mileisa village. The victims did not receive any medical assistance or comfort as no specialized health service is available in the area. This abhorrent crime is believed to have been committed by militiamen in revenge for the deadly attacks against the government military units carried out by the SLM-Abdulwahid in Darfur a few days ago.
On 9 December 2013, armed militiamen reportedly raped three IDP women, aged 30, 25, and 18 years old. The women are residents of Bir Dageeg IDP camp, Sirba locality, West Darfur State and the incident took place in Goz Segeit area, west of the camp, when government-backed militiamen wearing military uniforms assaulted the women while they were tending their farms. The women were found in a state of shock but received no medical treatment as all the health centres in the area were short of medicines. At least 83 cases of rape have taken place during the past two years in the Sirba locality and were reported to the authorities but no action was taken to arrest the assailants or to comfort the victims.
On 1 December 2013, a woman and her 16 year old daughter who are residents of the Murnei IDP camp, West Darfur State were violently attacked by armed militiamen. The two women were on their way back home from their farm in Wadi Korbala, east of Murnei camp when militiamen shot dead the woman when she resisted them. The militiamen had gang-raped the minor girl for hours before releasing her in a state of psychological shock.
B. Security and Humanitarian Situation in Darfur
The security and humanitarian situation in Darfur is precarious. Military operations, including aerial bombardment and ground attacks by the security forces, killings and other atrocities committed by militiamen against civilians, especially the IDPs, are some of the consistent features of the deteriorating security situation across Darfur. Clashes between armed herdsmen and the local farmers and IDPs are increasing in a disturbing manner.
1. Military Operations and Violence by Security Forces and Militiamen
Fighting between the SLM-Abdulwahid and the army was reported on 13 December 2013 in Abta area, about 20 km north-east of Zallingei. The SLM-Abdulwahid declared that its forces occupied Abta area after they had killed and injured some army soldiers, arrested others and confiscated military equipment and provisions. It was also reported that the SLM-Abdulwahid soldiers looted all the weapons, equipment and supplies of the police station in Abta. This latest round of fighting caused the displacement of a number of civilians and 17 of such newly displaced families sought refuge in the Hamidiya camp, Zallingei locality. Many incidents in which civilians were killed, injured or lost property because of indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilian targets by SAF were reported in Darfur, particularly in east Jebel Marra.
On 14 December 2013, government-backed militiamen attacked and injured 4 IDPs, including Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sayed, an elementary school teacher, Mr. Ajab Khamis Adam Ibrahim, Mr. Hubeldin Abdallah, and Mr. Abdallah Mohamed Matar. Two victims of the attack were left in critical conditions and are receiving medical treatment in El-Geneina hospital. The attack was reportedly carried out in Kereinik locality, West Darfur State, while the victims were collecting straw on the outskirts of the Kereinik camp.
On 12 December 2013, a family composed of four members (Mr. Bahreldin Bashir Saleh, his wife Ms. Um El-Kheir Yagoub Yahya, their son Jamal, 12 years old and daughter Samah 7 years old), was killed by aerial bombardment on their family home, about 3 km west of Nimra village, in east Jebel Marra. It was reported that two MiG jet fighters dropped six cluster-type bombs in that area which led to the instant killing of the family.
On 9 December 2013, a SAF military jet bombarded Sauda area, east of Kaja in east Jebel Marra. No casualties among civilians have been reported however the aerial bombardment caused panic among the civilian population, destroyed the water well and killed about 27 cattle gathered near this water source.
On 3 December 2013 aerial bombardment killed Mr. Hamdan Saad Saleh, an Abbala herdsman. It was also reported that 8 of his camels perished and 3 others were injured in the attack. The attack took place in the Kaja area, south of Delma village in east Jebel Marra, while Mr. Saleh was tending to his cattle.
On 7 December 2013, about 3 armed government-backed militiamen stormed Centre No. 4 at the Atash IDP camp, near Nyala in South Darfur State. They ransacked the home of Mr. Izzeldin Ismail Yahya and robbed him of the equivalent of US$262. Mr. Yahya was seriously injured in this attack. He received medical treatment in Nyala hospital and was later sent to a hospital in Khartoum for further treatment.
On 5 December 2013, two policemen were killed and three others wounded near Dar Es-Salaam area, Abu Karinka locality, East Darfur State, when a group of Rizeigat tribesmen attacked them and destroyed the vehicle in which the policemen were travelling. No clear reasons were indicated for this attack.
On 4 December 2013, gunmen killed Mr. Ahmed Wad Djoby and seriously injured Mr. Mohamed Omar El-Hindi and Mr. Abdelnasir Adam Bahreldin. The shooting followed an armed robbery of a mobile phone shop in El-Faniya IDP, Kass locality in South Darfur State.
On 3 December 2013, militiamen attacked the IDP camp in Armenkol, Sirba locality, West Darfur State and indiscriminately fired machineguns at the camp residents. Three people (Ms. Um Aisha Mohamed Shatta, 45 years old. Mr. Abdallah Bakout, 65 years old and Mr. Abdelkheir Suleiman) were injured in this attack. In Bindisi IDP camp in Central Darfur State, two militiamen attacked Mr. Yousef Adam in what appears to have been a robbery attempt. Mr. Adam was riding on a motorcycle when he was attacked. Mr. Adam was shot dead while one of the militiamen died as a result of knife wounds sustained during this attack.
On 2 December 2013, militiamen shot and robbed Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Abdallah a cattle trader resident in Tawila IDP camp, North Darfur State. The attack took place in Jeili area and the militiamen reportedly robbed Mr. Abdallah of the equivalent of US$870, his mobile phone, a donkey, and other belongings. The victim received medical care at El-Fasher hospital.
Clashes between Farmers and Herders
Violent clashes between farmers and armed herdsmen over farmland invasions and the destruction of agricultural produce were reported during the last two weeks with serious consequences on the overall food security situation in the affected areas. It is to be noted that the farmers usually hail from IDP communities while the herdsmen are largely regarded by local people as members of the government-controlled Janjaweed militiamen. In some areas of Darfur such as Mukajar locality, Central Darfur State, it is reported that so far about 30% of the farmlands have been entirely destroyed as a result of systematic aggressions by herdsmen and the release of their cattle to graze agricultural land and plantations. In other places large tracts of millet, sorghum, beans and sesame were destroyed by camels and livestock, which were intentionally released by herdsmen. Rain shortage and the spread of agricultural pests have severely affected some areas. In Tawila area, the local people and IDP camp residents have reported repeated invasions of their farms by armed herdsmen. Farmers are constantly harassed and threatened if they resist the invasion of their arable farms by cattle and camels. In Wadi Salih locality in Central Darfur State, which is one of the main agricultural areas, there are signs of failure of the agricultural season which could lead to a deadly famine in the region. The recent inter-tribal clashes between Salamat and Misseriya as well as the frequent destruction of farmlands during the planting and harvesting seasons have drastically reduced the agricultural produce.
On 8 December 2013, at least 10 people were killed and dozens others wounded in armed clashes between Abbala nomads and Habbaniya tribesmen in Buram locality in South Darfur State. This violent incident started when the Abbala herdsmen (camel owners) invaded a farmland in Buram area and killed its owner when other members of his Habbaniya tribesmen mobilized and clashed with the Abbala herdsmen.
On 4 December 2013, armed herdsmen shot and killed Mr. Adam Mohamed Abdelrahman, a 27 year old, near his farm, south of Mukjar town. Mr. Abdelrahman was killed when he chased away camels he found grazing on his tomato plantation. The shooting took place a few meters from a military compound where members of the Central Reserve Forces (Abu Tiara) and other troops were stationed. The assailants left the area without being apprehended.
On 2 December 2013, herdsmen released large numbers of camels and cattle on farmlands in the areas of Marary, Hagar Sultan, Tajarub, and Adam Fur in Um Dukhun locality, Central Darfur State. A day earlier heavily armed herdsmen attacked the residents of Marary village and forcibly displaced a large number of farmers in retaliation for the complaints by farmers against the cattle invasions of their plantations.
On 1 December 2013, clashes between farmers and a large number of armed herdsmen forced many farmers to abandon their farmlands and homes in Abga Rajil area, about 4 km south of El-Salam IDP camp in South Darfur State and the nearby villages. The conflict started when armed herdsmen attempted to release their camels and cattle onto the farmlands by force.
2. Humanitarian Situation in Darfur
The number of civilians in need for humanitarian intervention in Darfur is increasing steadily as the numbers of IDPs in the region increases. The situation is aggravating due to the small number of relief organisations working in the area, the blockade of humanitarian services and restrictions on the movement of humanitarian convoys, in addition to banditry and lawlessness. The need for staple food in particular is expected to increase in 2014 across Darfur. According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), the harvest prospects for the year 2013-2014 is expected to be 20-30% below average due to poor rains, insecurity, and pest outbreaks (grasshoppers and birds). The prices of staple foods have increased by 10-35% compared to the previous month. The hike in food prices is due to the poor harvest expectations, high transport and production costs, as well as high inflation. The official inflation rate in Sudan had reached 42.6% in November 2013 from 40.3% in October 2013. The high inflation rate means that securing staple food from the markets is practically out of reach for the poor local people in Darfur and IDPs who have no sources of income.
The humanitarian situation in IDP camps in Central Darfur State, which is the scene of constant aerial bombardment and military operations, is especially dire. Residents of the IDP camps in this area face a severe shortage of food due to the absence of relief organizations and the reduced food rations distributed by the World Food Programme (WFP). Lack of food has led to a proliferation of malnutrition among the IDP populations. At least 10 children, including Musalam Ibrahim Ali, 21 months old and Nasreen Omar Osman, 22 months old, died from malnutrition in Nierteti hospital in the last week of November 2013.The children lived with their displaced families in the camps surrounding Nierteti. The reduction in food rations is especially alarming. According to the IDPs in Zallingei camps, between 2004 and 2009, each registered IDP received a monthly ration of 16kg of sorghum, 1kg kilo of lentils, a litre of cooking oil, four ounces of salt and two pounds of sugar. Between 2009 and 2012 the sorghum ration was reduced to 8kg, lentils to half a kilo, salt to a quarter of a pound, while sugar
and oil were completely stopped by the WFP. Special nutritional food for children and pregnant women is also no longer distributed. As of August 2013, the monthly food ration for a registered IDP was reduced to 3.7kg of sorghum, 1 ounce of salt, and 9 ounces of sugar. In localities such as Nierteti, residents of the IDP camps have not received food rations since October 2013. Residents of the Kubum camp in South Darfur State, which hosts 2,200 IDPs in addition to about 1,500 newly arriving IDPs, have not received food rations since the beginning of October 2013. The camp population is also suffering from a lack of health services and medicines.
3. Security and Humanitarian Situation in South Kordofan, West Kordofan and Blue Nile States
The security and humanitarian situation in the conflict-affected areas in South and West Kordofan States and the Blue Nile State continue to be a source of worry. Fighting between the government army and the SRF was reported during the last two weeks. Aerial bombardment of civilian targets by SAF that has been reported in South Kordofan State since mid-November 2013 has now spread to different parts of the two States, including areas that were spared of such operations in the past. There are reports that SRF has been intermittently shelling Kadugli with Katoucha missiles. The SRF attacks caused loss of lives, damage to properties and general panic among the civilian population.
During the last 7 days, aerial bombardment forcibly displaced about 2,000 people in Kega El-Kheil, Gogheiba, Torleit and Koldang villages in the environs of Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan State. The aerial attacks had partially or totally destroyed the villages. Two people (Mr. Gismallah Musa Bako and Mr. Allahjabu Adam Radwan) were killed while 8 others were wounded as a result of aerial bombardment in Lima and Kanga villages, west of Kadugli. In Korongo area aerial bombardment displaced about 287 families.
On 3 December 2013, aerial bombardment by SAF killed a woman and seriously injured five other civilians in Um Adara in West Kordofan State. The victim of the bombing is identified as Ms. Fatima Abdallah El Tayeb, while those injured are Ms. Nayra Mohamed El Tayeb, Ms. Mirayim Ali Jamaa, Ms. Ni'mat Ali Yusef, Mr. Hassan Saleh Hemeidan, and Mr. Yusef Nayir El-Dawi. It was also reported that civilians on the borders between West and South Kordofan States live in fear because of the indiscriminate and intense aerial bombardments as well as the abuses by government-backed militias in the region.
According to the SPLM-N, on 1 December 2013, a SAF military jet attacked Showa area, near Toloshi in Lagawa County in South Kordofan State, and indiscriminately bombarded the village with three barrel bombs. The attack killed 7 civilians, including a mother, her 3 children in addition to 3 other children, and also wounded a baby. The victims of this wanton aerial bombardment are Ms. Limia Ali Kafi, a 27 year old mother and her children Rebecca Francis, 6 years old, Mohamed Francis, 4 years old and Kawsar Francis, 2 years old. The other victims of this attack are Enas Tutu Boles, 3 years old, Islam Tutu Boles, 5 years old and Amira Ali El Faki, 11 years old. About 6 houses were destroyed and several animals perished in this attack.
Inter-tribal violence has been reported on the border areas between East Darfur and West Kordofan States. On 5 December 2013 at least 20 people were killed and dozens others injured in sporadic inter-tribal clashes that erupted between Hamr and Ma’alia tribesmen. The fighting, during which heavy weapons and machine guns were used, took place in Um Deibun area, in El-Udiya locality along the borders. According to eyewitness reports, in addition to deaths and injuries among the fighters, the clashes forced many families to leave their village and seek shelter elsewhere.
In the Blue Nile State, military operations and fighting between the army and SPLM-N has intensified in the last week and led to the forced displacement of hundreds of civilians. On 8 December 2013, the SPLM-N announced that its soldiers attacked military convoys in the area between Derang and Salbel as well as between Shamshur and Goldamul in Bau County and inflicted casualties among the government troops.
The UN estimates that thousands of civilians fled the fighting in the Blue Nile to South Sudan and Ethiopia. An estimated 2,800 people, including 1,850 children and 600 women, have fled Bau locality due to fighting or because of food insecurity in those areas. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that the newly displaced persons sought shelter in the area of El Gerri, north of El Roseires locality. The latest wave of displacement brings the number of people who have fled their homes in Blue Nile over the past three weeks to at least 5,800. Earlier, an estimated 2,000 people crossed the border into South Sudan, 800 into Ethiopia, with a further 200 people displaced within the State.