Title: Sudan Human Rights and Humanitarian Bulletin for the period 01 to 15 March 2014
Author: SudaneseOnline News
Date: 04-02-2014, 08:20 PM
Sudan Human Rights and Humanitarian Bulletin
and#65532;and#65532;and#65532;Issue No 10
01 – 15 March 2014
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
27, Ch. des Creand#770;ts-de-Pregny, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Geneva (Switzerland) Tel: +41 22 747 00 89 Fax: +41 22 747 00 38 E-mail: [email protected] Webpage http://www.darfurcentre.ch
The first two weeks of March 2014 witnessed some of the most violent clashes between the Darfur insurgent groups and the government security forces and militiamen. Both the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid Nur (SLM-AW) and the SLM-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) were involved in the fighting. The conflict in Darfur also witnessed a new development with increased military operations by supporters of long-time Janjaweed leader and government ally Shiekh Musa Hilal, against government forces and the civilian populations. The military activities of this undeclared rebel group are significant as its leader, Musa Hilal, is known for his atrocious acts against civilians in Darfur. Because of his key role in organizing and leading Janjaweed attacks against civilians during the early years of the conflict, the UN Security Council placed on him travel restrictions and financial sanctions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter (Resolution 1672/2006). Shiekh Musa Hilal operates under the banner of the Awakening Revolutionary Council and enjoys a wide-base support among his nomad Mahameed tribesmen in Sudan with their kinship extensions in countries such as Chad, Niger and Libya. Shiekh Musa Hilal is a member of the National Assembly representing the ruling National Congress Party and serves in the ranks of the Federal Government in a ministerial advisory position (Ministry of Federal Affairs). Despite his apparent split with government, he has not resigned from his official positions or been dismissed by the government.
During the recent military operations in Darfur, massive crimes and violations of international humanitarian law were committed. An unknown number of civilians and combatants from all sides were killed or injured during multiple clashes and confrontations that took place in the region. Large civilian settlements were burned to the ground and civilian installations, food stores, farmlands and water stations were destroyed in scorched-earth military tactics thus forcibly displacing the inhabitants. Different sources estimated that about 350,000 civilians were displaced during the first two weeks of March 2014, especially in North Darfur State where the military operations were concentrated. Meanwhile, victims of the Janjaweed attacks in southeast Nyala at the end of February 2014 continue to join the crowded internally displaced persons (IDP) settlements in South Darfur State. They arrive in a destitute situation as the militiamen rob them of everything except the clothes they wear.
Numerous violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms were committed in Sudan during the period under review. These violations included extra-judicial executions, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, curtailment of press freedom and freedoms of assembly and association, the right to fair trial and equality before the law, rape and sexual violence. Hundreds of people are held in government custody because of their political views. While some of the political detainees are undergoing trial many others are held without judicial purview under supervision of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). Violations of fundamental rights and liberties in Sudan are committed by government agents 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 obligation to respect the rights and liberties provided in these instruments.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.
A. Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
1. Violations of Civil and Political Rights
Mr. Tajeldin Ahmed Arga Ali, a 26 year old Blogger from Darfur, has been held incommunicado by the NISS since 24 December 2013. He was arrested in Khartoum while attending a public meeting addressed by President Omar Al-Bashir and his Chadian counterpart Idris Deby. The arrest took place inside the Friendship Hall where Mr. Arga confronted the two Presidents and publicly blamed them of being responsible for the killing and destruction occurring in Darfur and accused them of distorting reality about the situation in the region. Since his arrest Mr. Arga has not been seen in public and there are serious fears about his safety and security of person.
On 13 March 2014, militiamen killed Mr. Mohamed Suleiman Ibrahim, a 20-year old student at Nyala University in South Darfur State. Mr. Ibrahim and a relative were arrested by pro-government militiamen in Nyala on 26 February 2014. The militiamen initially demanded that the family of the deceased pay a ransom equivalent of about US$15,000 in return for his release. The family members were in the process of paying the ransom when the mutilated body of Mr. Ibrahim was found on the street.
On 11 March 2014, Mr. Ali Abakar Musa Idris, a 21-year old third year student at the Faculty of Economics (University of Khartoum) was shot dead in the university campus by government security agents. A number of other students were injured, including Mohamed Ishag Abdallah (Bahri University) and Mohanad Abu Elgasim (University of Khartoum). All the students are from Darfur. The security agents used excessive force and live ammunition against the students when they organised a rally inside the university to discuss the violence against civilians in Darfur. They decided to start a peaceful march to deliver a memorandum to the UN Representative in Khartoum demanding meaningful intervention to protect civilians in Darfur. The security forces and pro-government students used batons, tear gas and live ammunition to prevent them from continuing the procession. In the following days, the NISS agents continued their repression campaign against activists and students originating from Darfur. On 14 March 2014, the security forces in Umbadda residential area (Omdurman) used tear gas and batons to disperse a peaceful gathering where students, university professors, pro-democracy and human rights activists met to commemorate the death of Mr. Ali Idris. At least two people were injured. According to the Darfur Students' Association, the security forces used excessive force to expel hundreds of students originating from Darfur out of the campuses and dormitories where they live in different universities, including female students resident in Al-Zahra dormitory (University of Khartoum). It has been reported that no less than 1,000 female students from Darfur living in Khadija bint Khuwaylid dormitory in Khartoum North (Bahri) complex were forced to leave. About 300 students have been arrested since 11 March 2014, of which 190 were released after they were interrogated while 110 remain in detention.
On 8 March 2014, the NISS prevented a number of Sudanese non-governmental organizations from observing the International Women’s Day in Khartoum. The Sudan Human Rights Monitor, which was one of the convenors of this event, affirmed that the organizations informed the authorities about the date, time and venue of the event and received the necessary permission well in advance yet the authorities decided to
revoke their previous decision and prevent the convening of this worldwide celebrated event without giving the organizers any explanation.
On 13 March 2014, a Special Criminal Court in Sinja, Sennar State issued death sentences against 17 members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), including its Chairperson Mr. Malik Agar and Secretary General Mr. Yasir Arman. Forty-six other co-defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment while 31 were acquitted. These people were convicted, some of them in absentia, for their political beliefs. They were accused of staging war against the state and committing terrorist activities. The court proceedings were believed to be flawed and did not meet the minimum standards for fair trial. The SPLM-N leaders and cadre were convicted under criminal law despite the fact that they had started political negotiations with the government in order to find a peaceful solution to the armed conflict in the country.
On 3 March 2014, the NISS agents arrested Sheikh Yagoub Adam Mohamed and Sheikh Musa Saleh Musa, two IDP leaders in Ronga Tas camp, Azum Locality, Central Darfur State. The two elders were arrested in retaliation to the IDP efforts to build a fence around the camp in protest of government plans to relocate the IDPs to a “model village” built by the government for this purpose. The IDPs rather demanded that the government disarm the Janjaweed and other government-controlled militias so that they will be able to return to their actual homes instead of model villages.
The crackdown on freedom of expression and the press intensified manifold in the first two weeks of March 2014. Several daily and weekly newspapers were confiscated and destroyed on different occasions since the beginning of the month. The NISS agents confiscated the daily issues of El-Hurra on 5 and 6 March 2014. On 5 March 2014, Elaph (Economic Weekly), and The Citizen (English Newspaper) were confiscated by NISS agents. On 4 March 2014, the NISS confiscated El-Jareeda, Akhir Lahza, and El- Sudani dailies. On 3 March 2014 they confiscated El-Sudani as well as El-Hurra and El-Ahram. All these newspapers were confiscated after print and no reasons were cited for these measures, which inflict considerable economic loss on the publishers. Mr. Haidar Kheirallah, journalist and Editor-in-Chief of El-Jareeda daily newspaper was prevented from writing for an indefinite period without explanation of the reasons for this decision. Currently the government of Sudan is in the process of promulgating a new Press and Publications Act reportedly without the input of journalists, publishers or other stakeholders. The text, which is to be deliberated by Parliament in April 2014, falls short of meeting international standards on freedom of expression and contains restrictive provisions, including various penalties against journalists and publishers.
Incidents of rape and sexual violence against women and girls were reported in Darfur during the period under review. On 15 March 2014, a member of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Historic Leadership Faction, which is a splinter group of the SLM-AW and signatory of a peace deal with the government in 2011, reportedly raped an IDP hearing-impaired woman in Rwanda camp, Tawila Locality, North Darfur State. The offender was arrested and handed to police. On 9 March 2014, three armed members
of the Central Reserve Police (Abu Tira) abducted and gang-raped two girls aged 12 and 15 years old from the Kendebe IDP camp, Sirba Locality, West Darfur State. The attack reportedly took place in Kido area, about 4km south of the camp when four girls went to collect firewood. Two of the girls managed to escape. On 2 March 2014, militiamen abducted a young woman (Ms. Sadia Musa) while she was travelling from Ereida, Yassin Locality to Waranga, east of Zalingei in Central Darfur State. On 1 March 2014, militiamen abducted and gang-raped two girls aged 15 and 17 years old in Nierteti IDP camp in Central Darfur State and injured eight other women. The incident took place in Kebe area to the north of the camp. During the attack government-backed Janjaweed on camels and horses backs assaulted 13 IDP women and their children, severely beating and verbally abusing them.
B. Security and Humanitarian Situation in Darfur
Between 2 and 15 March 2014, a series of military attacks were reported in the eastern and western parts of North Darfur State, especially affecting civilians in Malit, Alliet Jarelnabi, El-Taweisha, Haskanita, Kalamindo and Saraf Omra Localities. The areas affected by these operations and considered out of the government control, represent 60% of the State’s landmass. A large number of villages were plundered and civilian installations destroyed during these attacks. Hundreds of civilians and combatants were either killed or injured. Government sources estimated that about 330,000 people lost their homes and belongings and were forcibly displaced. Different government security units, paramilitary forces and Darfur insurgent factions were involved in the fighting. However, attacks by militiamen under the command of Musa Hilal against Tama and Gimir tribesmen, resulted in many people being killed, a paralysis of life in the area and are widely believed to be the main cause of the destruction and large- scale displacement of civilians in Saraf Omra and the entire villages surrounding it. The militiamen plundered the marketplace, shops and houses in Saraf Omra and dozens of villages in its environs. They set up checkpoints and took over town entrances and government facilities in the area. It is reported that loads of goods and livestock looted by this group from Saraf Omra were dispatched for sale in different parts of Darfur, including places as far as El-Geneina in West Darfur State.
On 15 March an attack by the Rapid Support Forces displaced about 10,000 civilians in Tarny, Khartoum Belleil, and Konjara in east Jebel Marra. Some of the victims of these attacks arrived at Tawila area in North Darfur State. The Janjaweed burned down all the villages and looted the belongings and livestock of the victims. While few IDPs managed to settle in Dali and Argo IDP camps, many others are living in the open without shelter, food, water, or medicines.
On 13 March 2014, a joint Darfur military force composed of the SLM-AW, SLM-MM, and Liberation Movement for Justice-Taher Hajar (LMJ-TH) attacked the Sudanese army in Mellit. They reportedly destroyed the army base, killed 97 soldiers, wounded dozens others and seized a number of military vehicles, weapons and ammunition. Government sources confirmed that 78 members of the armed forces were killed including senior army officers as well as civilians. A week earlier this force claimed control of El-Taweisha, Kalamindo, and Ailliet Localities in North Darfur State.
Internal fighting within SLM-AW forced thousands of people to flee Bargo, Kakerguwa, and Simo in east Jebel Marra in the second week of March 2014. At least five civilians were killed, dozens injured and civilian installations, including marketplaces and health centres in the area were destroyed. Some of the civilians killed during these clashes are: Ms. Maryam Juma Saleh, 35 years old, Ms. Aisha Musa Adam, 37 years old, Mr. Adam Abakar Yagoub, 45 years old, Mr. Abdel Hai Adam El Faki, 55 years old and Mr. Hussein Yahya Mohamed, 65 years old.
On 12 March 2014, pro-government militiamen killed two people and wounded several others in a clash with villagers in Gaby area, north of Murnei, Zalingei Locality. The villagers were killed when a rescue team in which they took part intercepted the militiamen to recover livestock looted by the militiamen from the natives in an earlier attack against the area.
On 9 March 2014, the Sudanese Air Force attacked Mashrou Abu Zaid and Dalma areas in east Jebel Marra and killed 38 livestock. On 6 March 2014, the Air Force attacked Um Ridim Shatta village situated at about 10km northwest of Alliet Jarelnabi. The aerial bombardment that followed killed Adam Salah Kasheer, a 5-year old boy and Ms. Aisha Ibrahim Bishara, 55 years old. Seven other people were injured during this attack (Mohamed Salah Kasheer, a 3-year old boy, Ms. Tihani Abdallah, Ms. Um Sabil Abdallah Suleiman, Mr. Hassan As’ad El Tayeb, Ms. Sidiga Musa Barima, Ms. Sa’ida Ibrahim Bishara and Ms. Hanuna Dokar).
On 5 March 2014, pro-government armed militiamen car-jacked an official government vehicle used by the Commissioner of Kutum Locality. The militiamen attacked the vehicle in Hamra area and abducted the vehicle’s driver and two guards. On the same day, militiamen ambushed and injured 4 employees of the Small-scale Farmers' Association in Kabkabiya Locality. The incident reportedly took place in Khor Ardaba while the employees were on their way from Torgo.
On 3 March 2014, the Rapid Support Forces shot dead three men (Mr. Ahmed Abdallah Shatta Hesabo, Mr. Mohamed Yagoub Hassan Ismail and Abakar Fadul) in Tibra area south of Um Gunja in South Darfur State. Ten other people went missing: Mr. Abdallah Suleiman Hussein, Ms. Mona Yunis Suleiman Hussein, Mr. Jamal Abdallah Suleiman, Mr. Mohamed Abdallah Suleiman, Mr. Hamed Bosha Suleiman, Ms. Nur Bosha Suleiman, Mr. Abdel Aziz Haroun Suleiman, Mr. Ibrahim Abdallah Abdel Rasoul, Mr. Abakar Hussein Mohamed and Mr. Abdel Karim Abdallah Idris Daoud.
On 2 March 2014, Mr. Ismail Adam Abdel Karim, a local merchant was shot dead in an attack by government-backed militiamen on his commercial vehicle in Yama area on the Nyala-Kass road, South Darfur State. The militiamen then looted the merchandise loaded in the vehicle and robbed the passengers of their belongings.
On 1 March 2014, members of the Borders Guards shot dead Mr. Abu Bakar Ismail Abbu inside El-Fasher when he resisted their attempt to loot his vehicle. In another attack by the Borders Guards a few hours earlier, three young men were injured by gunfire when they refused to hand over their money and mobile phones to the soldiers. These attacks provoked mass demonstration in El-Fasher on 2 March 2014 against the
ongoing assaults, killings and robberies by government-backed militiamen, especially the Borders Guards. The deteriorating security situation in El-Fasher was behind the unusual call of the Governor of North Darfur State on the residents of the city to carry arms and protect themselves because the State is no longer capable of controlling the security situation and reigning in the undisciplined security forces.
1. The humanitarian situation in Darfur is acute. It has further worsened with the ongoing violence and displacement. Due to the limited presence of UN agencies and humanitarian organizations in the region, there is no precise information about the humanitarian situation and the number of people in need of urgent intervention or those who already live in a state of famine. On 13 March 2014, the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner in Central Darfur State described the conditions in which the IDPs live as catastrophic and on one of the rare occasions called upon international relief agencies and organisations to intervene to rescue the newly displaced.
2. Available data indicates that over 300,000 people needed protection and urgent humanitarian assistance between 1 and 15 March 2014. In the first week of March 2014 alone, it is estimated that at least 100,000 people arrived in IDP camps in North and South Darfur States. Early in March 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) counted around 45,000 IDPs that arrived at Sani Deleiba, El-Salam, Kalma, Otash, and Dereig camps. These people were displaced by the Rapid Support Forces in southeast Nyala in late February 2014. The IDPs are facing a severe shortage of basic needs such as food items, medicine, potable water and shelter.
3. The health and sanitation situation in Darfur is degrading rapidly with the arrival of large IDP populations. There are major health and sanitary concerns about the spread of diseases such as acute watery diarrhoea, malaria, skin diseases and eye infections. Shortage of health services and medicine is impacting heavily on the rate of child mortality. Most child deaths reported in Darfur recently are from preventable diseases. On 1 March 2014, five infants (Mawadda Ahmed Adam, a 1-month old girl, Abdallah Eisa Eisa, a 15-month old boy, Najla Mohamed Doka, a 5-month old girl and two unidentified others) died from water-borne disease in Deleig IDP camp, Central Darfur State. Local sources indicated that about 73 more children are infected with the disease in the IDP camp.
4. East Jebel Marra has been under siege by the government army unit stationed in Tabit since mid-February 2014. At present the people stranded in that area cannot access urban centres, especially the main marketplace in Tabit where villagers usually procure basic necessities, including food stuff, fuel etc. They can no longer get medicine from the only pharmacy in the area located in Tabit. Loads of goods bound to the area are being systematically confiscated by the security forces. There are also reports that IDPs in El-Salam camp in South Darfur State have been under siege since the end of February 2014. They have been surrounded by the army and a large number of Janjaweed elements equipped with 115 armed vehicles and 16 tanks. The IDPs do not dare leave the camp to fetch water or other necessities. Militiamen have set up checkpoints and IDPs who leave the area are inspected, their properties confiscated and all men under 35 years old are apprehended.