World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Sudan: Attacks on Freedom of Expression in Darfur

Sudan: Intimidation and denial - attacks on freedom of expression in Darfur

Rather than taking decisive action to curb widespread human rights violations in Darfur, the Sudanese government instead is seeking to gag those who are speaking about the abuses, Amnesty International said in a new report published today. See…

Under increasing international pressure, the Sudanese government is attacking freedom of expression, so as to control information which would reveal whether or not the government is fulfilling its commitments.

"Instead of arresting those who commit human rights violations, the Sudanese authorities are arresting those who are exposing the perpetrators," Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International said.

Despite the risks attached, people are speaking and will continue to speak out against human rights violations in Darfur because of the feeling they have nothing more to lose.

On 30 August the UN Security Council will discuss the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Sudan: "As long as people who want to speak out about these violations are intimidated and arrested, the commitments of the Government of Sudan to the international community remain hollow," Irene Khan said.

Freedom of expression has been notably absent in political discussions between the Sudanese government and the United Nations or others. Freedom of expression is essential not only because it is a right in itself, but because it acts in defence of other rights. Unless people are allowed to speak freely it will be difficult for UN and AU observers to make an accurate assessment of any progress in Darfur.

Among the cases in Amnesty International's latest report are those of seven people arrested for giving information to the African Union's ceasefire monitors in Abu Dereja near Al Fasher on 15 July and 17 July. They were reportedly still being detained in the National Security centre in Al Fasher as of 20 August.

The Sudanese authorities are also trying to stop civil society from discussing the causes and solutions to the crisis. People have been arrested for presenting petitions, trying to organize public meetings and opposing the return of those displaced by the conflict to unsafe areas.

Control over the independent Sudanese press is tight, and government-owned television and radio give a one-sided view of the crisis, portraying foreign media reports about human right violations in Darfur as a "conspiracy against Sudan". As one Sudanese lawyer said: "One problem is the lack of information in Khartoum about the conflict. People in Khartoum do not know what is happening in Darfur. On the television and the radio the government says that everything is all right in Darfur, that people receive aid and that the situation is under control,".

The Sudanese government has further sought to control information on the crisis by not granting access to Darfur, in spite of numerous requests, to international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, which have been critical towards Khartoum.

The Sudanese government should lift all restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and release all those detained solely for expressing their opinions.

The right to freedom of expression must be protected in Sudanese commitments, in peace talks, and in any monitoring of the situation in Darfur.

Full report "Sudan: Intimidation and denial: Attacks on freedom of expression in Darfur" online at

Sudan: Act now to end the human rights crisis in Darfur, visit

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news