Joint Statement | To the Human Rights Council: Let’s Protect Women in Sudan
Since the dispersal of the sit-in on June 3rd 2019, human rights defenders continue to share information that portrays the violence used by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The internet remains partially inaccessible as the shutdown continues, and the majority of WHRDs remain in isolation, unable to communicate with each other and with the outside world. The Central Sudan Doctors Committee announced that the death toll has reached 113 martyrs who were shot, burned and run over, in addition to thousands of injured civilians. Seven women protestors were identified among the 113 martyrs, 2 of which were pulled from the Nile River.
Women have a long history of violence under the Sudanese regime. This regime is currently presenting itself as the Transitional Military Council, which has its own history of atrocities particularly in the Darfur region, the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, where women, including women human rights defenders, have been subjected to sexual violence, rape, murder and displacement. The world has intensively called for accountability of perpetrators.
The head of the Ahfad Trauma Center in Khartoum, Dr. Sulaima Sharif, said that the center has treated dozens of traumatized women who were beaten or abused by the Support Forces this month. At least 15 said they had been raped, according to Dr. Sharif. On June 17, the authorities have arrested a WHRD without an arrest warrant and took her to one of the NISS offices in which she was interrogated, verbally harassed and threatened. They forced her to sign a paper that she was not allowed to read. On June 24th, The Co-op Union of Women Tea Sellers announced the death of Amal Qos, who was present in the massacre area. She was found on the Nile beach on June 20th after having been missing since June 3rd. Qos used to work as tea seller in the sit in. The Co-Op reported in a statement that 5 women are still missing and that many women were subject to sexual violence, beatings, and theft. On June 30th, during the demonstrations that took place all over Sudan, at least 19 women were injured because of live ammunition and beatings. On July 2nd, the Sudanese Professionals Association stated that security forces and the Rapid Support Forces raided the houses of WHRDs Qamarya Omar Balhaj Youssef and Dr. Ihsan al Fegeiri. It is important to note that Dr. Ihsan was previously arrested for 3 months, from December 2018 until March 2019.
All of these attacks on human rights have pushed the Regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders in MENA (WHRDMENA Coalition) to send a letter to permanent representatives of member and observer states of the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish an immediate international inquiry to investigate gross human rights violations against WHRDs, and particularly the systematic widespread use of rape and sexual violence against women human rights defenders as a punishment for using their right to freedom of expression peacefully. The undersigned organizations and groups support the Regional Coalition’s call to establish an international inquiry mechanism regarding violations that WHRDs were subjected to. We cannot be silent about what women in Sudan are being subjected to, and WHRDs in the region consider their safety to be interlinked with the safety of women in Sudan. The Human Rights Council must stand with women in Sudan. WHRDs must be protected.
1- Regional Coalition for Women Human Rights Defenders in the MENA
2- Knowledge Workshop- Lebanon
3- Human rights and Civic Participation Association “PaRiter” – Croatia
4-The Global Fund for Women, United State
5-Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative (IM-Defensoras)
6.Association Des Mamans Célibataires pour la Paix Et Le Développement -AMC- Burundi
7.Activiste Feministe Africaine (sous region des grands Lacs )
8.National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya (NCHRD-K)
9-Nazra for Feminist Studies- Egypt