Women at the forefront of revolts in Sudan
Last Friday, July 13, revolts in Sudan were led by and dedicated to the women of Sudan. Following these protests, at least 40 women were detained. The Nobel Women’s Initiative issued a statement in response to the violence against peaceful protestors in Khartoum, Sudan.
Authorities are using teargas, nerve gas and live ammunition against protest groups, which have ranged in size from 200 to 2,000 people. Many protestors have been severely injured; one woman was blinded after being shot with rubber bullets.
It is estimated that Sudan’s National Security Services (NSS) have detained 2,000 people in connection with the protests, and reports indicate that at least 100 peaceful protestors are currently detained in Khartoum alone. The majority of detainees are being held in NSS detention centres, which are known for the use of ill treatment and torture—including beatings, sleep and food deprivation, racism and sexual abuse. Authorities have reportedly beaten detainees with their fists, hoses, plastic pipes, sticks and metal bars.
The latest demonstrations in Sudan began on June 16, when female students led protests at Khartoum University. Revolts were triggered by Sudan President Omar al-Bashir’s announcement regarding government austerity measures that will lead to continued inflation and cutbacks in subsidies over food, housing, fuel, and school fees. Women have remained at the forefront of the resistance movement, leading protests in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, and other major cities in Sudan.
“Instead of responding to the protestors’ concerns, the Sudanese government appears to be targeting select individuals for their presumed political views”, Daniel Bekele, Africa Director of Human Rights Watch, said. Officials have reportedly targeted women’s rights activists, human rights defenders, and journalists protesting for regime change, peace and justice.
Inside Sudan’s prisons: Sudanese protesters speak out, MinnPost, 17 July 2012.
Nobel Women’s Initiative Calls on Sudan to Release Women Human Rights Defenders, Nobel Womens Initiative, 13 July 2012.
Sudan: Arrests and torture fail to quell uprising, GreenLeft, 15 July 2012.
Sudan: Torture, Abuse of Demonstrators Charge or Release Detained Peaceful Protestors, Amnesty International, 11 July 2012.
Sudan: Why Do People Want Change in Sudan? A Barbaric Penal Code is One Reason. AllAfrica, 16 July 2012.