Tag: sudan

Sudanese Authorities Use ‘Pornography’ as Evidence in Criminal Trial of Human Rights Advocates

Human rights activists in Sudan are being prosecuted in what critics are calling a “morality” trial.

Six activists, all of whom are affiliated with Khartoum Center for Training and Human Development (TRACKS), have been charged with undermining the constitutional system, waging war against the State, espionage, and terrorism. If convicted, they could be sentenced to life in prison, or death.

Nearly 1 Million S. Sudan Refugees Face Dire Conditions: UN

Nearly a million refugees fleeing the brutal conflict in South Sudan, most of them women and children, are suffering dire conditions in camps across the region, the UN said Monday.

Refugee agency UNHCR said arrivals in Uganda alone had peaked at “more than 8,000 in one day” last month after an outbreak of fresh fighting in the capital of neighboring South Sudan.

Ninety per cent of new arrivals were women and children, the UN added.

“With refugees fleeing South Sudan in their thousands, surrounding countries are straining under the weight of large numbers of displaced people and critically underfunded operations,” UNHCR said in a statement reported by AFP.

Sudan: Students, Activists at Risk of Torture

Free Detainees; Investigate Abuses

Sudanese national security officials have detained dozens of students and activists – many of whom are still in custody – without charge since mid-April 2016, during protests on university campuses.

Some have been held for more than a month. Others are held in locations that the government has not revealed, without access to lawyers or contact with family, putting them at increased risk of torture.
“Sudan is cracking down on activists, students, and even their lawyers, with abusive and thuggish tactics,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should put a stop to these tactics, immediately make the whereabouts of all detainees known, and release anyone being held without charge.”

When Cities Become Death Traps

“Urban areas have become death traps for thousands of civilians,” says a new report issued by the United Nations Secretary-General ahead of the first World Humanitarian Summit, which opens May 23, 2016, in Istanbul. The report describes the widespread use of explosive weapons in towns and cities as “the largest killer of civilians in conflict.” It follows an unprecedented plea by Ban Ki-moon and the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross for countries to “stop the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas.”

Over the past year, Human Rights Watch has documented the unacceptably high civilian toll from the use of these weapons in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen.

Explosive weapons with wide-area effects are especially problematic. These include heavy weapons such as large aircraft bombs and ground-launched artillery shells and mortar projectiles that cause death and damage over a wide area. They also include weapons that deliver multiple munitions or explosive warheads over a large area, such as Grads and other rockets from multiple launch rocket systems, and inherently inaccurate weapons such as “barrel bombs.”

The World’s Largest Refugee Camp is Closing

The Kenyan government is constructing a timetable to close all refugee camps due to security concerns. About 600,000 people will be displaced– some of which have spent decades or even their entire lives in the camps.

The Dadaab camp lies along the Somali border; the Kenyan government claims Islamists are using the camp to launch attacks in Nairobi. Kenya’s camps host refugees from neighboring war-torn countries Sudan and Somalia. The Kenyan government has tried to close the camps before. In 2013 they abandoned the original plan after the UN told them they can’t forcibly return refugees to their home countries. Despite Somalia’s al-Shabaab insurgency, Kenya has been successfully attempting to relocate a portion of their camps’ Somalian refugees voluntarily. Once given refugee status, a person cannot be forcibly returned to their homeland unless the situation has improved. According to Kenya, the situation in Somalia has improved. Whether it has improved enough to allow Kenya to forcibly return refugees is still up in the air.

Along with relocating refugees and closing the camps, Kenya is constructing a wall along the Somali border. The Kenyan government claims the wall is intended to minimize attacks in Kenya by al-Shabaab and hopefully keep out an insurgency. If Kenya is ultimately forced to keep their refugee camps open, the security wall would be a convenient solution to limit the amount of new (or returning) refugees entering the country. Also, if Kenya is constructing a wall to prevent violence overflowing from Somalia, the situation in Somalia probably hasn’t improved enough for them to forcibly return refugees.

South Sudan: Army Abuses Spread West

South Sudanese government forces have carried out numerous killings, enforced disappearances, rapes, and other grave abuses in the Western Equatoria region during expanded fighting in the region. Rebel armed groups there have also committed serious abuses, including rape.