Khartoum December 21, 2014
Sudanese security forces raided the “Sudanese Observatory for Human Rights” in Khartoum on Sunday during a training workshop on “parallel reports on human rights,” which started on Saturday. According to “Reuters” the security forces confiscated all computers, documents pertaining to the observatory and personal laptops. They also arrested a journalist who was attending the training workshop and does not work at the Observatory. He was released later.
The former head of the Observatory, Amin Mekki Medani, was arrested earlier this December after signing the “Call of Sudan”. The declaration calls on unification between civil society organizations, political parties and rebels.
Activists expressed fears of expanding arbitrary arrests ahead of the presidential elections in April 2015, the continuous and increasing governmental pressure on political parties and human rights organizations, and the tightened security measures on the press; which in turn raised concerns about the upcoming electoral process transparency.
Despite a widespread boycott by major opposition parties and armed movements in both South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, the government dismissed calls to postpone the elections.
While The Electoral Commission announced an eleven day postponement in order to complete the two-month period stipulated in the Constitution to enforce constitutional amendments. President al-Bashir intends to claim the right to appoint governors of states rather than filling positions thorough elections, which raises doubts about the government’s desire to consolidate the practice of democracy in Sudan.
It is noteworthy that restricting the activity of Sudanese human rights NGOs occurs at a time in which Sudanese government and non-governmental human rights organizations are simultaneously preparing their respective reports to be delivered to the Human Rights Council in the UN summit of 2016.
Al-Bashir has expressed satisfaction with the ICC suspension on investigations in Darfur due to lack of support from the UN Security Council. However, charges and warrants of arrest issued against al-Bashir and others are still valid.
It is important to note that “Parallel Reports” also known as “shadow reports” are prepared by the civil society and non-governmental organizations to measure the efficiency and credibility of governmental reports.