Press Release November 8, 2010
Date: November 8, 2010
No.: HAND 99
For immediate release
Wave of arrests of activists in Sudan to distract attention from military operations in Darfur
The Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) has arrested at least 14 Darfurian human rights workers, lawyers and journalists, while the army is staging a campaign to defeat rebel movements in Darfur not participating in the Doha peace talks. Human Rights organizations consider the wave of arrest as an attempt to distract international attention from the military operations in
Darfur. The number of casualties in the civil war in
Darfur in 2010 is already higher than in the previous three years, the UN reports. The Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND) strongly condemns the arrest of all the 14 arrested Darfuri and calls for their immediate release, to allow legal aid and to abstain from any abuse and torture.
The wave of arrests started with the closure of the office of Together for Peace and No Violence (TPNV) in
Khartoum by NISS agents. TPNV is a non-governmental organization that is officially registered in Sudan and headed by Abdelrahman Adam Adelrahman. The arrests have targeted Darfuri activists working for HAND, lawyers, journalists and reporters of Radio Dabanga. HAND is an umbrella organization for local Darfurian NGOs based in
Uganda. These local organizations are all officially registered inside
Sudan. HAND publishes monitoring reports on
Darfur and is not related or affiliated to any interest group, including the Sudanese government, rebel movements, the AU/UN peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) or any other international organization. Radio Dabanga is a radio station based in the
Netherlands being a project of Press Now that promotes independent, professional and impartial reporting worldwide.
Summary update events last week
· Between October 30 and November 2, 14 Darfuris, including a number of human rights activists, have been arrested in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. The legal authorities have not officially acknowledged the arrests. All 14 are being held incommunicado in an unknown location by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), without access to lawyers or their families. None of the families of those arrested have been informed about their whereabouts or the reasons for their arrest.
· Three Latvian pilots working for WFP being kidnapped in Nyala, capital of South Darfur,
· A UNAMID peacekeeper being shot and wounded in Kutum, North Darfur while the UN Security Chief Gregory Starr was on a visit to the region
· An attack by armed men on Tina village,
14 km west of Tawila in North Darfur, which left at least four killed, including one child that was slain brutally, and several others injured,
· A spike in fighting between government and rebel troops in North Kordofan, North Darfur and South Darfur with tens of reported casualties,
· A senior Hungarian UNAMID officer (a retired Lt-Colonel) is still held hostage by a pro government militia near El Fasher.
The arrests mark the Government of Sudan’s (GoS) latest attempt to silence the last pockets of human rights and other reporting on Darfur in the face of military build-up and large-scale military operations in Darfur.
· The operation in Darfur started two months before the independence referendum of the semi-autonomous region of South Sudan scheduled for January 9, 2011.
· The operation takes place 6 weeks before the scheduled signing ceremony of a new Darfur Peace Agreement in
Doha 19 December 2010.
· Since 5 August, the GoS announced its new Darfur strategy being widely understood as an attempt to impose a military solution on the Darfur conflict.
· All media in
Sudan are censored and the few media outlets and human rights organizations publishing reports on
Darfur are under surveillance of the National Security.
People reported to be detained in the past days working for several organizations are:
Abdelrahman Adam Abdelrahman, (33, Ad Daien)
Abdelrahman Al Gasim, (45, Tulus)
Abu Gasim Moh. Ali (30, Ad Daien)
Dirar Adam Dirar (29, Nyala)
Gafar ElSabki Ibrahim Abu (37, Um Kedada)
Khalid Ishaq Mohamed Yousif (Nyala)
Zakeria Yagoub (34, Khartoum)
Ibrahim Adam (23, Nyala)
Aziza Ali idriss (26, Geneina)
Aisha Sharif Sardu (30, Al Fasher)
Housna (family name unknown)
Kwather Abdelhaj Omer (35)
Manal Mohamed Ahmed (27, Kutum)
Zam Zam (family name unknown)
Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND)
The Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND) is a network of Darfuri grass root organizations registered as an NGO in
Uganda. One of the main goals of HAND is to improve the human rights situation in Darfur - and to give Darfur’s civilians hope for a better future - through reporting human rights violations, advocacy, promoting democracy and rule of law, vocational training, decreasing tribal tensions, capacity building, awareness raising, and peace building. The overall objective of HAND is to help efforts to end the armed conflict in
Darfur and to lift the human suffering faced by the people of the region. It endeavors to create a democratically vibrant society in
Darfur where human rights and fundamental freedoms are upheld in liberty and dignity and where good governance, the rule of law, equitable justice and accountability are maintained and preserved. HAND’s long-term strategy is to assist the people of Darfur in their efforts to lay down a new foundation for social co-existence between the different groups that live in the region.