Protect Sudanese Women Peace Activists At Imminent Risk
On August 12th, 2023, Sudanese security forces raided the Lawyer syndicate offices in Madani city in AlJazeera state to stop an event organized by the ‘No for Women Oppression Initiative’ to call for peace and an end to the war in Sudan. The event was canceled two times before this date because of the smearing campaign against women peace activists organizing the event. The online campaign led by former regime members and military supporters in the city accused the organizers of supporting the RSF and called them traitors.
The Sudanese Umma Party sent a letter to the No for Women Oppression Initiative apologizing for canceling the hosting of the event in their offices on August 9th. The letter informed the No for Women Oppression Initiative that the party believed that the event would disturb the peace in the city following the smear campaign against the event’s subject and the initiative’s members. Members of the initiative who organized the event received direct threats and faced continuous online harassment.
At least three pickup vehicles of the Sudanese security raided the place of the event and informed the organizers that this event is prevented by local security. Prior to the raid, another local association was prevented by authorities from hosting this event earlier in the week. Reports of security harassment and arrests of activists in Al Jazeera state are increasing. The state is hosting over 600,000 displaced people from Khartoum. The city of Madani is the closest refuge for most women’s rights groups and activists who fled the conflict in Khartoum. Their ability to work is threatened and restricted by local authorities who are controlled by former regime members. These conditions are similar to other states in western and eastern Sudan.
Sudanese women peace activists received increasing threats as the polarization of the society, and the recent calls for citizens to join the military and RSF, has led to the extreme militarization of public space in Sudan. Calling for peace and the end of the war has been considered treason in the context of the war in Sudan for the last 3 months. Women peace activists’ lives are at serious risk, as the civic space is shrinking, and freedom of expression is extremely restricted in Sudan. Attacks on civil society organizations and their activities calling for peace are rising. This hostile environment impedes the work of women peace builders and civil society efforts to end the war in Sudan. The continuous attacks on women peace activists and restrictions on civic space is threatening women’s participation in the peace process and their engagement according to the 1325 national action plan approved by the Sudanese government in 2020.
Subsequently, we call upon the Sudanese authority to:
- End attacks on women peace activists and civil society groups, and respect the country’s international commitments to protect and respect the rights to freedom of association, expression and assembly
- Ensure women’s participation in the peace process as adopted by the 1325 national action plan
We call upon the international community to:
- Provide urgent protection and support for women peace activists and peace groups in Sudan
- Strongly condemn Sudanese authorities’ attacks on peace activists and civil society groups
International Service for Human Rights
Sudanese Women Rights Action