Risk to non-Arab Darfuris on Return to Sudan
Eric Reeves | December 2017; updated January 2018 and July 2018
The evidence available collectively strongly suggests that significant dangers remain for non-Arab Darfuris who are forcibly repatriated to Sudan, including the Khartoum urban area. The withdrawal from Darfur of the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) will increase insecurity and likely increase the flow of non-Arab Darfuris to Khartoum and other urban areas. So too will any dismantling of camps for the internally displaced in Darfur. Tensions between police/security officials and non-Arab Darfuris—already high for Darfuri students—will also increase.
The lifting of U.S. economic sanctions removed the last strong source of international pressure on the Government of Sudan to refrain from even grosser abuses of human rights in the capital area, directed particularly against politically active non-Arab Darfuri students and other non-Arab Darfuris with even modest political profiles. A “political profile” is created simply by virtue of applying for asylum in a Western country.
The risk of compelled return of non-Arab Darfuris to Darfur will soon be high, even as conditions in Darfur are in no way conducive to such returns, forced or otherwise.
Forcibly repatriating non-Arab Darfuris to Sudan, including to the Khartoum urban area, creates unacceptable risks for those returned who have even a very low political profile.
What we can know about non-Arab Darfuris to the Khartoum urban area
This report attempts to survey all currently available evidence bearing on the risks facing non-Arab (also known as “African”) Darfuris in the event of forcible repatriation to Sudan from the UK and Europe generally, and to the Khartoum urban area in particular. I have drawn on almost two decades of my own continuous research and publications, as well as opinions and information solicited from those Sudanese and students of Sudan I believe are most likely to have a highly informed sense of the fate of non-Arab Darfuris forcibly repatriated to Sudan. I have also surveyed recent human rights literature that bears on the questions posed. A bibliography of the literature and individuals consulted is appended.
Additionally, I include a compendium of relevant dispatches from Sudan Tribune and Radio Dabanga concerning the realities confronting Darfuris in the Khartoum urban area, as well as other urban areas in Sudan (throughout this report I shall refer to the “Khartoum urban area,” intending thereby to give an insistent sense of the geographic vastness of Khartoum, Omdurman, and Bahir, also known as “Khartoum North.”). Notably, Radio Dabanga, over its now nearly decade-long reporting on Darfur, has become—with the assistance of Dutch civil society and journalists—a highly credible source of detailed news about Darfur and the experience of Darfuris in the Khartoum area. Radio Dabanga dispatches have long comported extremely well with reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other human rights organizations.
I have organized this report around five questions, and queried my sources using them:
- What is the risk of being persecuted on sole basis of being non-Arab Darfuri in the whole of Sudan?
- Can non-Arab Darfuris can internally relocate to Khartoum to escape or avoid persecution?
- What obstacles non-Arab Darfuris would face if they had to relocate to Khartoum?
I also asked whether the security situation for non-Arab Darfuris has improved in Sudan, as suggested by some who responsible for decisions about non-Arab Darfuri refugees and if so this improvement durable and stable?
Conditions in Darfur
I find no evidence that the security situation of non-Arab Darfuris has improved anywhere in Sudan—certainly not in Darfur, despite what has been essentially the end of major hostilities between rebel groups and the Sudan Armed Forces and its primary militia ally, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The Jebel Marra campaign of 2016 may have ended significant rebel resistance, even as it created large numbers of new internally displaced persons (although see | “The dangerous fiction of Darfur’s peace,” Jérôme Tubiana, UN IRIN, August 2, 2017 | https://www.irinnews.org/opinion/2017/08/02/dangerous-fiction-darfur/). Some of those displaced have returned to their villages; a great many have not, as many villages were completely destroyed and security is extremely poor, as are humanitarian resources. These displaced people have fled to already overcrowded IDP camps near El-Fasher (North Darfur) and Nyala (South Darfur)—and to the Khartoum urban area. As Niemat Ahmadi (founder and chair of the Darfur Women’s Action Group) emphasizes, it is very difficult for Darfuris to settle in any other urban area (email received September 19, 2017).
Camps themselves are more frequently and more brazenly subject to attack by the RSF and irregular Arab militia forces, as well as what are essentially bandit/extortionist armed forces. On September 22, 2017 Sudanese security forces again attacked non-Arab Darfuri displaced persons in Kalma camp, outside Nyala, where President al-Bashir was reiterating his government’s plan to dismantle the camps and compel the return of non-Arab Darfuris to their villages, many thousand of which have been destroyed during the conflict of the past fourteen years. Additionally, vast tracts of arable and pasturable land belonging to non-Arab Darfuris have been violently expropriated by Arab militias—violence that continues in widespread fashion to this day (see my monograph on this subject | “Changing the Demography: Violent Expropriation and Destruction of Farmlands in Darfur, November 2014 – November 2015,” Eric Reeves (author),Maya Baca (research and editing) | December 1, 2015 | http://sudanreeves.org/2017/10/15/changing-the-demography-violent-expropriation-and-destruction-of-farmlands-in-darfur-november-2014-november-2015/ ).
Humanitarian access in Darfur remains extremely restricted by Khartoum in many locations. One operational international non-governmental humanitarian organization (INGO) has indicated to me in a confidential conversation that roughly 30 percent of Darfuris are still beyond humanitarian reach because of interference or denial of access by the Khartoum government. Given the UN estimate of how many people in Darfur are in need (3 million), this suggests that almost 1 million Darfuris are being denied the assistance they need.
The UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is continuing its very large withdrawal of personnel (44 percent of military personnel and 30 percent of police personnel), per the June 30, 2017 UN Security Council Resolution re-authorizing UNAMID for another year. Continuing pressure from Khartoum makes it likely that UNAMID will be further reduced in June 2018. An already badly performing force is being drawn down very significantly, and will be drawn down even further, radically reducing its capacity to provide security for civilians or humanitarian workers (most of whom—97 percent—are now Sudanese nationals, and regarded with suspicion because of this commitment to work with INGOs). All operational INGOs have very tight “trip wires” for withdrawing from Darfur, which would put its Sudanese workers at acute risk. Of the many asylum cases involving non-Arab Darfuris on which I have worked, a disproportionately large number of these asylum seekers have worked for INGOs.
Khartoum has repeatedly and vigorously announced its plans to dismantle the IDP camps in Darfur, and has waited to begin only to ensure that U.S. economic sanctions will be lifted in October 2017 (a virtual certainty), and for UNAMID to initiate its deployments out of Darfur (these are now well begun). The dismantling of the camps will be a disaster for Darfuris who have depended upon them for tenuous security and as the means for organizing distribution of humanitarian assistance. Denied camp sanctuary—and with their lands and farms largely seized by Arab groups (often by Arab armed groups from other African countries, such as Chad, Niger, and Mali)—camp residents will face an extremely insecure environment without the possibility of organized relief assistance.
Implications for the non-Arab Darfuri Population in the Khartoum Urban Area
A tremendous number of people in camps, especially those whose villages have been destroyed and their farmlands violently seized by Arab militias, will migrate to the capital area of Khartoum/Omdurman/Bahri (only a few will migrate to few other major urban areas, such as El Obeid and Kosti). This process has been continuous since before the war began in 2003, but has accelerated in recent years, and there is now a very large non-Arab Darfuri population. Again, some have there for a great many years, some are there as students, but many continue to be driven to the urban area by ongoing ethnically-targeted destruction in Darfur.
The very size of the non-Arab Darfuri population precludes comprehensive monitoring, although discrimination is by all accounts rampant—in employment, housing, and education. It should be noted that non-Arab Darfuri students have been the focus of continual, often brutal harassments by the police forces and the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). This has been chronicled in highly authoritative fashion by Amnesty International in an important report of January 2017 (‘UNINVESTIGATED, UNPUNISHED’: HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AGAINST DARFURI STUDENTS IN SUDAN | January 2017 | Index: AFR 54/4848/2017 | https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr54/4848/2017/en/), and subsequently.
As a daily reader of all reports from Radio Dabanga, Radio Tamazuj, and Sudan Tribune, I find continual confirmation of the basic findings of the Amnesty International report. Other news resources I find useful for my continuing Sudan research include: African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies; Nuba Reports; Sudan Democracy First Group; and the leading Sudanese Arabic-language newspaper in the diaspora, al-Hurriyat (I have exceedingly little Arabic, but know the editor of al-Hurriyat well, Alhaj Warrag—and have consulted him in preparing this report).
I also communicate frequently with Jérôme Tubiana, perhaps the most distinguished researcher on events in Darfur. His voluminous work has been published chiefly by the important research organization Small Arms Survey (Geneva), but he has also helped author reports as a member for several years of the UN Panel of Experts on Darfur, monitoring Khartoum’s compliance (or mainly lack thereof) with the demands made in UN Security Council Resolution 1593 (March 2005), which established an arms embargo on Darfur and a ban on Khartoum’s military flights. I rely not only on Tubiana’s reports but his guidance on key questions concerning conditions in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains of South Sudan, and Khartoum.
Of particular note is the fact that Tubiana’s work has been cited as authoritative in the British Home Office country guidance documents for Sudan.
Tubiana’s answers to the questions I posed may be a useful point of departure, since he was on assignment in Bangui, Central African Republic, and was able to offer only terse answers to the questions. (He did authorize me to use his name in this report.)
To the question, “What is the risk of being persecuted on sole basis of being non-Arab Darfuri in whole of Sudan,” Tubiana replied: “Very high, in particular if you come from Europe and asked [for] asylum there” (email received September 16, 2017).
To the question of “whether internal relocation to Khartoum is unduly harsh based on the current level of societal discrimination,” Tubiana replied simply, “Definitely” (email received September 16, 2017).
To the “question of what obstacles non-Arab Darfuris would face if they had to relocate to Khartoum?” Tubiana replied, “High risks of arrest, torture and even killing, discrimination and difficulty [in gaining] access to proper housing, work, education, etc.” (email received September 16, 2017).
Although brief, these responses speak to the essential questions with unrivaled authority, authority the British Home Office itself recognizes in citing Tubiana’s work.
Racial/ethnic Animus in Treatment of Non-Arab Darfuris
One distinguished Sudanese journalist in exile suggested a future that bears directly on the fate of non-Arab Darfuris forcibly repatriated to Sudan, and Khartoum in particular. For given the prevailing extreme insecurity in Darfur, and the terrible hardships that people in the region continue to suffer, it is exceedingly unlikely that non-Arab Darfuris forcibly repatriated to Sudan would return to Darfur; they will become part of what is now thievery large population of non-Arab Darfuris in the Khartoum urban area.
This journalist was gravely concerned that once UNAMID withdraws from Darfur and U.S. sanctions are lifted, there will be a concerted effort by the Government of Sudan to compel non-Arab Darfuris to return to Darfur, no matter how insecure or how inauspicious the chances for rebuilding lives. We had clear evidence of this disposition to remove Africans from the Khartoum area with the independence of South Sudan: people of South Sudanese ethnic origin were stripped of their Sudanese citizenship, even if they had been born in Khartoum and lived there all their lives. Most knew only Arabic and had no land, cattle or economic resources in South Sudan. Many hundreds of thousands were obliged to leave, although there is still a significant population of ethnically South Sudanese living in Khartoum and its environs. But they suffer terrible discrimination and abuse, live often in squalid shantytowns far outside Khartoum with no services, and are persecuted on religious grounds if they are Christian.
The same racial/ethnic animus is already clear in the treatment of non-Arab Darfuris in Khartoum, if less conspicuous because non-Arab Darfuris speak Arabic and are all Muslims. But particularly as the non-Arab Darfuri population increases in size in and around Khartoum, and as the international presence in Darfur diminishes, forcible repatriation from the UK for non-Arab Darfuri asylum seekers will likely become more dangerous. For at the same time, the Government of Sudan will almost certainly follow through with its frequently announced plans to dismantle IDP camps (see above), thereby putting pressure on non-Arab Darfuris to migrate toward the Khartoum urban area, even as the government is attempting to reduce their population in the city areas. It is an explosive situation, and non-Arab Darfuris forcibly repatriated to Sudan would be caught in the middle.
In considering the fate of non-Arab Darfuris in the Khartoum area, we should recall the vast literature on the Darfur conflict that makes clear how deep the racial/ethnic animus, indeed hatred, has been—both in the militia forces and in the regular army, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). Rape of non-Arab Darfuri girls and women—by the army and the militias—has been at once shockingly prevalent, and according to all human rights reports, typically accompanied by the hurling of the most hateful racist epithets and language. The denial of humanitarian resources and access has consistently been on an ethnic basis, something made clear even in the very early days of the war (see | “Note to the Emergency Relief Coordinator: Sudan: Humanitarian Crisis in Darfur,” by Ambassador Tom Vraalsen, December 8, 2003 | http://sudanreeves.org/2004/12/17/human-destruction-and-displacement-in-darfur-war-humanitarian-access-and-ethnic-cleansing-december-12-2003/).
Despite being a multi-ethnic country, with many Arab and non-Arab tribal groups, Sudan has always been ruled by the riverine Arab elite, which has revealed consistent contempt for African lives and livelihood. The nature of the current regime’s waging of war against the marginalized populations of Sudan’s peripheral regions gives overwhelming evidence of the contempt. It has been only partially mitigated by international pressures, and is likely to be re-asserted with greater zeal as the internal international presence diminishes, external international pressures dissipate, and the Sudanese economy continues its remorseless decline after years of mismanagement by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party ruling elites.
Experiences of non-Arab Darfuris on Return to Sudan
Non-Arab Darfuris forcibly repatriated to Sudan—meaning necessarily to the Khartoum urban area—can expect to be aggressively interrogated by intelligence officers. As Belgium begins cooperation with the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in an effort to return Sudanese asylum seekers to Sudan, The Telegraph and Radio Dabanga have both reported on the opposition of human rights groups to this action—and to the very idea of cooperating with NISS. One person interviewed declared in…
…an interview with the Belgium VRT NWS, a Sudanese migrant who was forcibly repatriated said that returnees are always questioned at Khartoum Airport by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS). “They ask your name, your tribe, where you lived in Sudan, your level of education, and your political affiliation. When we arrived, they held a most of the people of our group. Until now, I have not heard about their fate,” he said. (“Belgium to forcibly deport refugees in cooperation with Sudan,” Radio Dabanga/The Telegraph | September 24, 2017 | BRUSSELS | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/belgium-to-forcibly-deport-refugees-in-cooperation-with-sudan/)
In a particularly notorious case reported by Radio Dabanga, Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Adam, returning from Israel was interrogated for two hours before being hurled from the fifth floor of NISS office to his death (“Man dies during interrogation at Sudan security office” Radio Dabanga, November 25, 2016 | Khartoum | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/man-dies-during-interrogation-at-sudan-security-office/). The official explanation of his death was entirely untenable.
Niemat Ahmadi (see above) is familiar from the personal experiences of her family returning to Khartoum of what may await them, with or without a political profile: “They can be arrested, tortured, raped and killed”:
In the same reply to my query, Ms. Ahmadi gave a number of specific examples:
In 2016 Hawa Sulieman, [a non-Arab Darfuri] student [was] arrested six times, was severely tortured, and raped while in custody of NISS, until she lost her memory. [She was] finally she was assisted by [a] doctor to escape after she was transferred to the hospital for medical treatment. She was then aided by the East and horn of Africa Human Rights network to escape and is currently in Cairo seeking asylum with UNHCR.
[Darfur Women’s Action Group] have three more non-Arab Asylum seekers cases (Abdelrahim Abu Basher, a Fur; Amdelmageed from the Bargo tribe, and Sadig from Dago tribe. [They] were living in Khartoum and were targeted for arrest, [and] have been arrested and tortured and forced to flee to Uganda, and then to the US. I have [been]involved in their asylum process as a witness because I know them; they were granted asylum by the US immigration authorities and they are currently living in [the] U.S. [Lightly edited for clarity—ER]
Ms. Ahmadi is also familiar with the new registration system (funded in large part by the EU) and its effect on all Sudanese, but particularly non-Arab Darfuris and those from South Kordofan and Blue Nile:
I can attest that it’s extremely hard [to move undetected] because the government has created [a] new identification system to track people base on their tribal and region of birth to limit the movement for the non-Arab Darfuris. Even if some tried to hide, [they] will not be able to work or make themselves visible anywhere.
Ms. Ahmadi’s sister fled Darfur to Khartoum with her six children, thinking to find safety after her husband had been badly tortured in Darfur. Instead, she was arrested and tortured herself, and narrowly escaped to Egypt, where she is today seeking refugee status. She had no political profile whatsoever, other than being married to a man who may or may not have had a political profile.
Alhaj Warrag, the prize-winning human rights writer and editor of al-Hurriyat, declared flatly:
Any non-Arab Darfuri in Sudan is subject to racial discrimination, and if he is politically active there is a definite risk of being arrested, tortured and even executed. (email received September 19, 2017)
Here it is important to recall the observation of Jérôme Tubiana’s highly informed response to my query about the risk of being persecuted on sole basis of being non-Arab Darfuri in whole of Sudan: “Very high, in particular if you come from Europe and asked asylum there.” It is critically important that the Home Office understand both the extent of the NISS network of operatives in all European countries that have a substantial population of non-Arab Darfuris and the fact that seeking asylum is regarded as, ipso facto, a political act, conferring a political profile. Knowledge that a non-Arab Darfuris has sought asylum is certain to become known, either in the country where it is sought or on forcible repatriation of the asylum seeker to Sudan.
Ahmed H. Adam, a non-Arab Darfuri by birth and a research associate at SOAS (University of London), offered particularly pointed commentary on the questions of security for non-Darfuri Arabs:
Can non-Arab Darfuris internally relocate to Khartoum to escape or avoid persecution?
No, the danger is the same, even more dangerous in the cities and towns that under the regime full control. I’m in a direct contact with one of those who deported from Jordan two years ago. He is now in Cairo [and] he told me that many of his fellows had fled Sudan again, because of persecution and harassment by NISS and other [of the] regime’s security apparatus. He [said] that they were planning to prosecute the Jordan’s government and UNHCR for denying them their legal rights…
Is internal relocation to Khartoum unduly harsh based on the current level of societal discrimination?
Indeed, the regime has built a very negative and racist perception about the [non-Arab Darfuris]. Many non-Arab Darfuris lost their jobs based on racial discrimination. It’s compulsory to fill the box of ” tribe” in the job’s application forms.
What obstacles non-Arab Darfuris would face if they had to relocate to Khartoum?
Harassment and persecution by NISS and other regime’s militias and security apparatus. In the eyes of the regime and its supporters, any non-Arab Darfuri who arrives back in the country from abroad is a traitor, Zionist, [or] spy!
The Significance of a “Political Profile”
As all respondents made clear in the answers to my queries, the chances of arrest, torture, and/or murder are very significantly increased for non-Arab Darfuris perceived as “political” in any sense. Non-Arab Darfuri students (and non-Arab Darfuris of student age), for example, are regarded as by definition “political.” This is the clear upshot of the Amnesty International report of January 2017, which offers many examples:
‘UNINVESTIGATED, UNPUNISHED’: HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AGAINST DARFURI STUDENTS IN SUDAN | January 2017 | Index: AFR 54/4848/2017 | https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr54/4848/2017/en/
This document was powerfully amplified by a further report from Amnesty (September 2017):
COURAGEOUS AND RESILIENT: ACTIVISTS IN SUDAN SPEAK OUT | Amnesty International | Index: AFR 54/7124/2017 | September 2017 | https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr54/7124/2017/en
In the first of these highly researched reports, Amnesty finds that “The human rights violations experienced by Darfuri students and the range of coercive measures used by the state against them have a nexus to the protracted conflict in Darfur.” And this “nexus” brings to the fore the political profile of any non-Arab Darfuri in the Khartoum urban area. Notably, Amnesty International refused to participate in the 2016 UK-Danish report on Sudan cited by the British Home Office, declaring “based on AI’s previous experience with them as they have twisted the statement made by us to suit their narrative” (email from Peter Verney, received September 21, 2017). Verney, known to be a many of unimpeachable integrity, also claims that the authors of the report did not interview Darfuri refugees.
To be sure, the non-Arab Darfuri population in the Khartoum urban area is now so great that monitoring of all such persons is impossible, although NISS has powerful new registration and surveillance equipment, again largely funded by the European Union. But NISS informants are everywhere, and non-Arab Darfuris are many times arbitrarily selected for arrest because they are judged to be in a position to provide intelligence to NISS about non-Arab Darfuris who are politically active. In my asylum work of many years and many cases, I have seen again and again accounts by asylum seekers of NISS attempting to convert non-Arab Darfuris into the role of intelligence gatherers as a condition for release from arbitrary arrest. Moreover, NISS checks the passenger manifest of all flights arriving in Khartoum extremely closely.
Judging whether a non-Arab Darfuri is “political” is entirely at the discretion of NISS: it enjoys total impunity per the Sudanese constitution created by the governing National Islamic Front/National Congress Party over the past twenty-eight years. I know of no case in which a NISS officer has been disciplined in any way for human rights abuses, nor do I know of any human rights organization or informed individual who knows of any such disciplining. Total impunity is the order of the day.
Impunity is now accorded the Rapid Support Forces in the Khartoum urban area as well. As part of the discrimination and harassment non-Arab Darfuris, the following is a typical example:
Young travellers at El Soug El Shaabi bus station in Omdurman, and shoppers at the market in Khartoum North, were beaten and forced to submit to haircuts by members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Tuesday and Wednesday. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that a number of members of the RSF, wearing uniforms and accompanied by members of the security and intelligence services, on Tuesday inspected travellers’ belongings at the bus station, where many busses depart for the Darfur states. The RSF assaulted several of them, and forced them to have haircut. The attacks reportedly took place before the eyes of the police. (Radio Dabanga | May 31, 2017 | KHARTOUM |
This widespread impunity enjoyed by the NISS and government-sponsored militia forces alone makes the fate of any non-Arab Darfuri person seeking political asylum in the UK entirely uncertain if forcibly repatriated to Sudan, even if the intention of the asylum seeker is to live “non-politically” in the Khartoum urban area.
The “Illusion of Normalcy”
It is extremely important in assessing the condition, and fate, of non-Arab Darfuris in the Khartoum urban area to take account of what has been acutely assessed in a lengthy and highly detailed report by the Sudan Democracy First Group: “the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and its international supporters are working hard ‘to obscure the violence and political unrest which continue to convulse Sudan, and are accelerating the economic, social and cultural deprivation of its people.’” The report (Manufacturing the Illusion of Stability in Sudan | July 2017) is deeply informed and telling in how the ruling NCP has deliberately fashioned an illusion that holds much (if misguided) appeal to the international community (particularly in pages 37 – 70
The findings of the Sudan Democracy First Group are echoed in the responses I received from all whom I queried. Omer Ismail is an especially well-informed expert on Darfur and the situation of Darfuris in Khartoum. Of Fur ethnicity, born in el-Fasher (North Darfur), and now the Senior Sudan Analyst at the Enough Project (Washington, DC), Mr. Ismail is perhaps the most broadly informed Sudanese person I know, with a truly extraordinary network of contacts, in Darfur and in Khartoum. He was especially emphatic in dismissing the idea that there have been any significant changes in the security situation for non-Arab Darfuris in the Khartoum urban area: any “changes as not sustainable because [they are] superficial.” The phrases “ propaganda narrative,” “superficial improvement,” “biased media.” Jérôme Tubiana dismisses out of hand the notion of an improvement of conditions for non-Arab Darfuris: “[they] didn’t improve.”
A final note on the risk to non-Arab Darfuris in the Khartoum urban area, whether “political” or not: as Niemat Ahmadi stresses, “young people between the ages of 13 and 35” may face “forced militarization” (i.e., forced recruitment, including of children).
The Economy and its Political Implications
The state of the Sudanese economy is rarely if ever considered in contemplations of the future facing forcibly repatriated non-Arab Darfuris to Sudan, including the Khartoum urban area. International news reporting on the true state of the Sudanese economy has almost entirely disappeared in recent years, and all that emerges are the figures from Sudan’s Central Bureau of Statistics (which provides only data the government wishes to see promulgated) and occasional reports by the IMF, based entirely on the corrupted data from the Central Bureau of Statistics.
All Sudanese economists known to me, as well as non-Sudanese economists who study the Sudanese economy, have reached relatively similarly conclusions, and these are dire in the extreme. I have authored two substantial reports for the Enough Project (Washington, DC) that trace in detail, with a wide ranges of cited sources, the trajectory of the Sudanese economy:
“Kleptocracy in Khartoum: Self-Enrichment by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party, 2011 – 2015,” Eric Reeves/Enough Project Forum Report | http://www.enoughproject.org/blogs/enough-forum-release-kleptocracy-khartoum
“Watching the Bubble Burst: Political Implications of Sudan’s Economic Implosion,” Eric Reeves, Enough Project Forum publication, 17 September 2014 http://www.enoughproject.org/reports/enough-forum-watching-bubble-burst
I conclude on the basis of the extensive research informing both reports that the Sudanese economy is in an irreversible decline, and that civil unrest will grow far beyond what we have seen to date. This is notable for many reasons, but in particular the scapegoating that has been a typical response of the Arab riverine elite that has ruled Sudan since Independence. This is particularly true of the current National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime, which has ruled without effective political rivals since June of 1989. For many years, the people of South Sudan served as effective scapegoats, especially since many northerners were dying in the ghastly civil war. When the current economic spiral downward accelerates and the economy begins to implode—something a lifting of U.S. sanctions can’t at this point forestall—civil unrest will be uncontrollable. The massive and violent demonstrations of September 2013 are a clear harbinger of what will come in the relatively near term (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/27/sudanese-protesters-attacked-march-fuel-subsidies/)
It is quite likely that the historical scapegoating tendency will be directed at non-Arab Darfuris, as well as the remaining ethnically African Southern Sudanese and people from the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. For many there will be no escaping the violence that will be unleashed by a regime in its death throes, unable to preserve itself except by recourse to targeted violence of the sort we saw in September 2013, when “shoot to kill” orders were given to police and security forces, killing hundreds. Last December, President al-Bashir—in anticipation of widespread civil demonstrations—threatened to issue “shoot to kill” orders again (see | Sudan Tribune, December 12, 2016 | Sudan Tribune, December 12, 2016 | http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article61093/).
Non-Arab Darfuris may well be among the first to take part in culminating civil unrest, and as a consequence the most vulnerable.
The risk of being persecuted solely on the basis of being non-Arab Darfuri in Sudan, particularly the Khartoum urban area, is unacceptably high. Non-Arab Darfuris, as Jérôme Tubiana insists, “are targeted by the security services and discriminated against in Khartoum.” They face “high risks of arrest, torture, and even killing,” as well as “discrimination and difficulty ‘in] accessing proper housing, work, education, etc.” The Darfur Union in the UK was equally adamant in its assessment of conditions facing non-Arab Darfuris in the Khartoum urban area (email received September 23, 2017), as was Ahmed H. Adam, a research associate at SOAS (University of London.
Non-Arab Darfuris cannot internally relocate to Khartoum to escape or avoid persecution; although those with a political profile are most likely to suffer persecution—including harassment, discrimination, illegal incarceration, torture, and even murder—all are at potential risk. In the words of Omer Ismail, cited above, “A traffic stop could end the life of a young Darfuri non-Arab male.”
Non-Arab Darfuris forced to relocate to Khartoum would face discrimination in desirable employment, as well as housing in many parts of the larger urban area; they would be a physically at risk, the more so if politically active (and again, simply seeking asylum in a European country is a “political” act in the eyes of the security services, as Tubiana insists).
Sources cited in this report (email communications)
Writer and photographer who has covered conflicts in Sudan, South Sudan, Chad and the Horn of Africa for over twenty years. His work has been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The London Review of Books, Asymptote, Le Monde Diplomatique, National Geographic Magazine-France, Géo and XXI. He has worked as a researcher and photographer for organizations including the United Nations, the Small Arms Survey and the International Crisis Group. He is the author of several books, including Chroniques du Darfour (Glénat, 2010).
Editor of ah-Hurriyat, the leading on-line Sudanese newspaper on-line in the diaspora. He is also recipient of the 2012 recipient of the Oxfam/PEN Award, given to writers and journalists defending freedom of expression. He is exceptionally knowledgeable about domestic events in Sudan.
A student of Sudan for more than 25 years, Verney is highly informed on UK asylum procedures and country guidance documents.
Darfur Union in the UK
A highly informed advocacy group based in the UK, with many contacts in Darfur and the Khartoum urban area.
Ahmed H Adam, Research Associate, School of Law, SOAS (University of London)
He is highly educated, widely published, and extremely knowledgeable about current events in Darfur and the Khartoum urban area. He has a wide range of contacts in Sudan and Khartoum in particular.
He is a native of Darfur, educated at the University of Khartoum and remains extremely well-connected to a wide range of sources in both Darfur and the Khartoum urban area. He works as the Senior Sudan Researcher at the Enough Project in Washington, DC, where he has published a number of important papers on Darfur and Sudan.
The founder and president of Darfur Women Action (DWAG), and an indefatigable champion of the Darfuri people. She maintains extensive contacts with people in Darfur and the Khartoum urban area, and has organized a number of important conferences, one featuring Fatou Bensouda, currently Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court.
Although preferring anonymity for reasons of personal security, this Sudanese journalist working abroad has an exceptionally wide range of contacts in the Khartoum urban area. Few outside Sudan know as much as he about conditions in the city.
Bibliography of Reports Consulted/Authored
‘UNINVESTIGATED, UNPUNISHED’: HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AGAINST DARFURI STUDENTS IN SUDAN | January 2017 | Index: AFR 54/4848/2017 | https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr54/4848/2017/en/
COURAGEOUS AND RESILIENT: ACTIVISTS IN SUDAN SPEAK OUT | Amnesty International | Index: AFR 54/7124/2017 | September 2017 | https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr54/7124/2017/en
“Tales of the Tombstones: The Discrimination Against Sudanese Students from Darfur in Sudanese Universities,” Sudan Democracy First Group, 1 October 2018 | http://sudanreeves.org/2018/10/01/sudan-democracy-first-group-tales-of-the-tombstones-the-discrimination-against-sudanese-students-from-darfur-in-sudanese-universities/
In an article dated 26 June 2015, African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) reported that ‘Members of ethnic minority groups, including Darfuris and people hailing from Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, are particularly vulnerable to torture and ill-treatment. ACJPS has documented threats of sexual violence against male and female detainees, as well as cases of rape against female detainees in state custody:
“Manufacturing the Illusion of Stability in Sudan” | Sudan Democracy First Group, July 2017 | http://www.democracyfirstgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Manufacturing-the-Illusion-of-Stability-in-Sudan.pdf?mc_cid=82b8231958&mc_eid=a9db638c83
Maria-José Tubiana, Forced to Flee: Stories of Asylum Seekers from Sudan (Darfur), (L’Harmattan | 2017)
“The dangerous fiction of Darfur’s peace,” Jérôme Tubiana, UN IRIN, August 2, 2017 | https://www.irinnews.org/opinion/2017/08/02/dangerous-fiction-darfur
“Scorched Earth, Poisoned Air: Sudanese Government Forces Ravage Jebel Marra, Darfur,” Amnesty International | 109 pages; released September 29, 2016 | http://www.amnestyusa.org/research/reports/scorched-earth-poisoned-air-sudanese-government-forces-ravage-jebel-marra-darfur
“Men With No Mercy”: Rapid Support Forces Attacks Against Civilians in Darfur, Sudan,” Human Rights Watch | September 9, 2015 | https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/09/09/men-no-mercy/rapid-support-forces-attacks-against-civilians-darfur-sudan
“Mass Rape in Darfur: Sudanese Army Attacks Against Civilians in Tabit,” Human Rights Watch, February 11, 2015 | http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/02/11/sudan-mass-rape-army-darfur
“Continuing Mass Rape of Girls in Darfur: The most heinous crime generates no international outrage” | January 2016 | Eric Reeves (author),Maya Baca (research and editing) | http://sudanreeves.org/2017/03/07/continuing-mass-rape-of-girls-in-darfur-the-most-heinous-crime-generates-no-international-outrage-january-2016/
“Changing the Demography: Violent Expropriation and Destruction of Farmlands in Darfur, November 2014 – November 2015,” Eric Reeves (author)Maya Baca (research and editing) | December 1, 2015 | http://sudanreeves.org/2016/02/17/changing-the-demography-violent-expropriation-and-destruction-of-farmlands-in-darfur-november-2014-november-2015/
Dispatches from Radio Dabanga and Sudan Tribune (2017 – 2018) bearing on conditions for non-Arab Darfuris in the Khartoum urban area:
Khartoum urban area
Sudan Tribune | Sept 21, 2017 (KHARTOUM)
The arrival of Sudanese officers to Brussels to identify Sudanese illegal migrants has raised a heated debate in Belgium as the opposition groups and rights activities strongly condemned the security cooperation with Khartoum.
On Saturday 16 September, Belgium’s Minister of State for Immigration Theo Francken announced announced on his Facebook page the arrival of three security officers from the interior ministry in Khartoum to identify some 80 Sudanese immigrants detained in a centre for illegal immigrants ahead of their deportation to Khartoum.
The announcement triggered widespread criticism from the opposition parties and human rights groups that slammed the presence of Sudanese security members pointing to the bad human rights record of the Sudanese government and the indictment of President Omer al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes in Darfur region.
Alexis Deswaef, the President of the League of Human Rights (LDH), said on Tuesday that he was shocked by the agreement between Belgium and Sudan on the identification of migrants. He further wondered if the Prime Minister Charles Michel and his Foreign Minister Didier Reynders endorse such cooperation.
“A simple Secretary of State like Mr Francken is undermining Belgium’s international credibility while Mr Michel and Mr Reynders are in New York to defend the Belgian candidacy to the UN Security Council,” he said.
Vanessa Saenen, HCR representative in Brussels told the public TV, RTBF that such cooperation is not without risks for the migrants stressing that “Sudan is still a country with many problems of violations of human rights, violence, and percussion.”
Belgium green party Ecolo requested to hold a meeting of the Committee on Internal Affairs to discuss the issue. While the Socialist Party called for debate at the parliament to discuss the discuss the initiative of the state minister for immigration. Different European countries have started to send back to Khartoum Sudanese migrants who arrived via Libya.
[All highlighting in bold and bold underling is mine, as is further commentary in italics followed by my initials—Eric Reeves]
- Darfuri students detained, beaten in Khartoum
Radio Dabanga, July 15, 2018 | KHARTOUM
Agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) subjected two Darfuri students to severe beatings last week. The chairman of Darfur University Students Association was assaulted by students of the Sudan Islamic Movement. The spokesman for the Darfur Students Association of the University of Khartoum told Radio Dabanga that NISS officers held student El Nur Abakar at the Faculty of Arts library of the University of Khartoum on Wednesday evening.
“They took him to an unknown destination where they held him for more than two hours,” he reported. “He was severely beaten and questioned about his relationship with activist students at the university.”
- Hundreds of Darfuris still detained in Sudan prisons despite release order
Radio Dabanga, April 12, 2018 | SUDAN
Hundreds of Darfuris are still being held in detention by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) despite the order of President Al Bashir to release all political detainees from the country’s prisons on Wednesday.
- HRW, Amnesty: Release of Sudanese detainees is their right, not a concession
Radio Dabanga, April 15, 2018 | DABANGA | SUDAN
Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International have welcomed the news that President Omar Al Bashir ordered the release of all political prisoners in Sudan, however the detentions should never have occurred in the first place, they said. On Tuesday, Al Bashir issued a presidential decree, ordering the release of all political detainees in the country.
In a statement on the same day, HRW considered the order “a grim reminder of a defining feature of Sudan’s political landscape: the periodic mass arrest and detention of opposition leaders to silence them whenever they threaten to speak out. “Whatever his motivations, Al Bashir does not deserve congratulations,” the human rights organisation said. “The release of political detainees is not a gift or a political concession, but a basic obligation of respect for fundamental principles of human rights and rule of law.”
Amnesty International welcomed the release of “at least 56 opposition activists” in a press statement:
Despite Al Bashir’s order, hundreds of political activists and students from Darfur are still being held in Sudanese prisons and security detention centres in the country. In addition, dozens of leading members of the Communist Party of Sudan have not been released as well.
- Darfuri student leader’s battered body found in Khartoum
Radio Dabanga, May 20, 2018 | KHARTOUM
The body of Awadallah Abakar, a leader of Darfuri university students, was found in El Yarmouk district, south of Khartoum, on Friday, two days after he disappeared.
The Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council (SLM-TC) said in a statement on Friday that Abakar was “found dead with marks of beatings and torture”. A statement by the youth and student official of the movement, Abdelhalim Ibrahim, accused the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of involvement in Abakar’s death. He asserted that “the assassination of Abakar confirms that the regime is continuing the systematic targeting policies against the students of Darfur, Nuba Mountains and their leaders through a master plan.”
- South Darfur human rights activist detained, beaten senseless
Radio Dabanga, May 20, 2018 | GIREIDA
South Darfur human rights activist Adam Suleiman has been transferred to Gireida Hospital in a coma as a result of alleged torture and severe beating by the security services in the town.
- Sudan must end politically motivated attacks on Darfuri students
Amnesty International, 18 January 2017
The Sudanese government must end politically motivated and sometimes deadly attacks on Darfuri students at universities across the country, said Amnesty International today as it released a report covering a wave of attacks spanning three years.
“Dozens of students have been killed, injured and expelled from universities since 2014 for organizing around and speaking out against human rights violations in Darfur,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. “This continues an appalling pattern that continues to see Darfuri students being subject to arrest, detention, as well as torture and other ill-treatment, since the conflict in Darfur broke out in 2003, often compromising their continued access to higher education.”
- Sudan security arrests nine rebel students in Khartoum
Radio Dabanga | September 15, 2017 | KHARTOUM
Students gathered in Bahri and El Sug El Arabi markets on Wednesday morning to speech against the detentions by the Sudanese security service (NISS) of their fellow members on Sunday. No lawyers have been allowed to the nine arrested members of the United Popular Front, the student faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW). Human rights activist Abdelbassit Mohamed told Radio Dabanga from Khartoum yesterday that the arrested students were handed over by the NISS to the police of Bahri Wasat.
- Editor-in-chief beaten by Sudan security service
Radio Dabanga | September 14, 2017 | KHARTOUM
The editor-in-chief of the newspaper Akhbar El Watan was beaten during her arrest by the Sudanese security service in Khartoum on Tuesday evening. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) released Hanadi El Siddig after three hours of detention that evening, during which she was subjected to “beating and verbal abuse.” “The personnel was forced to use violence against me by the operations police,” El Siddig told Radio Dabanga yesterday.
NISS members on motorcycles intercepted her and her car on Tuesday evening, on her way back from El Falah club in El Jareif West. “I went to the club as a journalist and a member of the committee for the development of El Jareif West,” El Siddig explained. She wanted to determine the repercussions of the demonstrations that broke out in El Jareif West, after a death sentence was issued against four people on charges of killing the former director of a cotton company three years ago.
• Darfur lawyers advocate for release of 37 detainees
September 14, 2017 | OMDURMAN
Thirty-seven people who were arrested in East Darfur have been held in El Huda Prison in Omdurman for more than a month for unknown reasons. The people were arrested by Rapid Support Forces in Khazan Jadeed area in East Darfur on 6 August. The reasons for their detention remains unknown, said lawyers of the Darfur Bar Association (DBA) on Wednesday. “They are not being accused of committing any illegal acts.”
All detainees were transferred from Khazan Jadeed to the military headquarters in Shearia, and from there to the prison in Port Sudan. The prison administration refused to receive them as prisoners because they were not sentenced or face criminal complaints, the DBA said in its press statement. Finally they were moved to El Huda Prison.
[Those arrested appear to be Arab persons in this case, but the long reach of the security services and the imprisonment of the men in Omdurman is notable in assessing the risk for non-Arab Darfuris—in Darfur as well as the Khartoum urban area—ER]
- Public nuisance: Four students charged, police hunt young people
Radio Dabanga | September 12, 2017 | OMDURMAN / JEBEL ALIA
The court in Omdurman sentenced four students for public nuisance on Monday, as the police and security service search and detain young people gathering in the streets in the evenings. Students Mahmoud Jadallah, studying at El Nilein University in Khartoum and Siddig Eisa, student of the El Imam El Hadi University in Omdurman, and two other students were detained on Saturday by agents of the Sudanese security service.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga student Abdelbasit Mohamed said that in total 22 people were detained in the Libya market in Omdurman on Saturday, and handed over to the police. The detained students belong to the United Popular Front, the student wing of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) of rebel leader Abdelwahid El Nur.
[These students are undoubtedly non-Arab Darfuris—ER]
• Two Darfuri students detained, other still held incommunicado in Khartoum
September 11, 2017 | KHARTOUM / GENEVA |
The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) calls on civil society organisations and activists in Sudan to exert efforts for the immediate release of Nasreldin Mukhtar, former chair of the Darfur Students Association of the Holy Koran University in Omdurman, and two other Darfur students who were recently detained. The Darfur lawyers as well urge the dissolution of the ‘jihadist units’ at the campuses of the country’s universities.
Mukhtar was held by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) at the gate of the university on 22 August just after he had sat for an exam. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga at the time that the agents shot in the air before they took him to an unknown destination.
In a statement on Sunday, the Bar Association reports that two other Darfur student activists were detained on Saturday: Mahmoud Jadallah, studying at El Nilein University in Khartoum and Siddig Eisa, student of the El Imam El Hadi University in Omdurman. Both students are member of the United Popular Front (UPF), the students’ wing of the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdelwahid El Nur. They were held by NISS agents while they were conducting public speeches at the El Soug El Shaabi and the Libya Market in Omdurman.
The whereabouts of Mukhtar are still unknown to his family and lawyers. The DBA fears for his health, as he suffers from a chronic stomach disease and the effects of torture during his former detention in end 2015. Mukhtar, at the time also Deputy Head of the General Darfur Students Association, used to regularly report to Radio Dabanga about the situation of the Darfuri students at the Holy Koran University after they were attacked by militant student members of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and police and security forces at the campus on 13 October that year. He was detained, together with six other students, on 14 November.
• ‘Khartoum is creating an illusion of stability’: Sudanese think tank
July 23, 2017 | KAMPALA
According to a new report by the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and its international supporters are working hard “to obscure the violence and political unrest which continue to convulse Sudan, and are accelerating the economic, social and cultural deprivation of its people.”
In the English version of SDFG’s latest report, Manufacturing the Illusion of Stability in Sudan, the Kampala-based think tank deals with “the dynamics behind, and impact of, the campaign orchestrated by the NCP and its international supporters.”
The 70-page report “exposes the external and internal partners of the regime who have participated in projecting an illusion of regime functionality at the expense of a genuine resolution of Sudan’s multiple crises,” the SDFG says in a press release today. It also challenges the political opposition to engage in deeper consultation with Sudanese citizens and develop “a genuine grassroots movement for change.”
The Group warns that if the United States economic sanctions on Sudan will be lifted after three months, increased oversight of Sudanese financial flows will be vital. “The biggest beneficiary of any lifting of sanctions will be the ruling party, its security institutions, and its private companies,” the report reads. “Mechanisms must be established to prevent increased weapons flows, support for militias and expansion of the architecture of state corruption.”
According to the SDFG, “a just peace and lasting stability” cannot be achieved “through fragmented responses to Sudan’s various conflicts and political challenges.
“The biggest beneficiary of any lifting of sanctions will be the ruling party, its security institutions, and its private companies.”
“Ignoring the common roots of these conflicts, and responding to them through separately negotiated agreements, or through military means, will only add to the accumulation of grievances and exclusion. Only a comprehensive political solution will end the cycle of violence,” the think tank states.
The situation of the Sudanese refugees and displaced people in the country must be resolved through genuine consultation with the communities. “A conference of Sudanese refugees and displaced persons might be considered. “All parties involved in the Sudanese crisis should put the situation of displaced people and refugees at the heart of their political proposals and discourse.”
As for the Sudanese opposition, it “must develop its discourse and working tools and strengthen its understanding and response to the basic issues in people’s daily lives.
“To do this, forces working for civil and political change must continue efforts to unify around a common platform, refine the clarity of their discourse and develop detailed alternative policies for the transition period; support the restoration of a genuinely independent political role for civil society by encouraging its active participation in the process of change and building bridges with political forces,” the Group recommends.
• 1,000 Darfuri students resign en masse from university in White Nile state
About 1,000 students at the University of Bakht El Rida in El Duweim in White Nile state submitted collective resignations from the university in protest against “the security services and the university administration’s racial targeting of Darfuri students,” of whom 13 have been dismissed and nine others arrested on accusation of murder.
Yesterday a student told Radio Dabanga that all the Darfuri students at Bakht El Rida University submitted mass resignations to the deans of their faculties and left the university.
He explained that “the administration of the university routinely accuses the people of Darfur of everything happening at the university and in turn incites their fellow students against them.”
He stressed that the students will only return to the university if the dismissed students are reinstated, and the detained students released or brought to fair trial. They also demand “a stop to the systematic targeting of Darfuri students and the incitement against them.”
Sources told Radio Dabanga that on Tuesday the students left El Duweim and refused to continue at the university “because of the racist policies and a protest against the repression against them for years by the security services and the police with the knowledge and consent of the university administration.”
He said hundreds of students went to the bus station at the El Soug El Shaabi in El Duweim to find a way to get to the national capital of Khartoum, but the security services issued instructions to the owners of buses not to transport the Darfuri students. He pointed out that many of the students then began to walk on foot in the direction of Khartoum.
Sudanese authorities are accused of frequently using excessive force against students. A report by the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) points to a police raid of a student residence at Bakht El Rida University on 9 May, and the dispersion of a public forum at the El Zaeem El Azhari University in Khartoum North by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) and a student militia six days later.
“The attacks on the students are extremely disruptive and raise serious concerns regarding the students’ safe access to higher education,” the Centre states.
- 19% of Sudanese unemployed: Ministry
Radio Dabanga | July 18, 2017 | KHARTOUM
Fewer Sudanese are unemployed, according to the Ministry of Development and Human Resources. Pharmacists expect a medicine shortage as imports are halted because of the skyrocketing US Dollar.
The number of unemployed Sudanese or those looking for work is two million, which constitutes 19% of the productive labour force, minister El Sadig El Hadi El Mahdi said at the Teiba Press corp on Monday.
[Non-Arab Darfuris in the Khartoum urban area suffer much higher rates of unemployment that the rest of the population—ER]
Sudan’s unemployment rate fluctuated substantially in recent years, ending at 20.6% in 2016. According to World Data Atlas the unemployment rate dropped by 4.8% to 19.6% this year.
Though unemployment rates may vary owing to the difference in definitions given by the country or statistical services. El Mahdi also reported that the productive labour force in Sudan, which falls within the age of 18-65 years, amounts to 21 million this year according to statistics from 2012 and projections of the years that followed.
Meanwhile pharmacists and medicine traders warned of higher prices of medicines because of the rise of the US Dollar, which reached more than SDG21 this week. They expect a shortage in medicines as pharmaceutical companies stop importing them. The country’s plummeting US Dollar exchange rate, which witnessed an all-time high yesterday, was pushed by Washington’s decision to delay its deadline for permanently lifting or continuing its economic sanctions against Sudan.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Gen .Dr Mohamed El Rikabi, said that Khartoum has received a letter from the US Department of Treasury, stating that the financial transactions between Sudan and international banks have been fully resumed since Thursday.
El Rikabi described the letter as “significant breakthrough” in Sudan’s relations with the international financial sector and international financial institutions. Commenting on Washington’s decision to delay the lifting of sanctions, he said that despite his dissatisfaction with the decision, Sudan has made significant gains in international financial transactions.
- Militiamen force youths to have haircuts in Khartoum, Omdurman
Radio Dabanga | May 31, 2017 | KHARTOUM
Young travellers at El Soug El Shaabi bus station in Omdurman, and shoppers at the market in Khartoum North, were beaten and forced to submit to haircuts by members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Tuesday and Wednesday. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that a number of members of the RSF, wearing uniforms and accompanied by members of the security and intelligence services, on Tuesday inspected travellers’ belongings at the bust station, where many busses depart for the Darfur states. The RSF assaulted several of them, and forced them to have haircut.
The attacks reportedly took place before the eyes of the police.
On Wednesday evening, RSF militiamen forced youths at the market in Khartoum North to cut their hair on the grounds that it is “dense and unfit.”
[An all too apt example of the racism that pervades the Khartoum urban area—ER]
El Tarig independent electronic newspaper reported that dozens of soldiers from the RSF came to Shendi bus station in Khartoum North and ordered some youths to forcibly have their hair cut after forcing them to sit on the ground. It added that the people were terrified and closed shops after the deployment of dozens of RSF soldiers.
• Houses demolished, residents forcibly removed by Khartoum authorities
Radio Dabanga | May 23, 2017 | KHARTOUM
Khartoum state Land Department authorities demolished and forcefully removed the residents of dozens of houses in El Shajara, during which a child was injured. The authorities “brutally dealt with residents and beat them with sticks,” according to the omda in El Takamol district, Abdelrahim El Haj. Several people, including women, were wounded, and seven people were arrested.
Lawyer Muawia Khidir El Amin also reported that women were beaten by the removal authorities. Approximately 88 houses were demolished and the authorities are working to demolish the small cottages, where people take shelter from the sun, from the site. A number of homes were destroyed in the same area in August 2016 without prior notice to inhabitants.
Dozens of residents in Soba East in Khartoum carried out a protest in April against the demolition of their houses and sale of land to the Social Security Fund. Similar protests against land seizure occurred in El Jireif district in October last year.
As part of a campaign ‘to demolish all illegal buildings’, a church building in Soba Aradi in southeast Khartoum was removed on 7 May, according to the Commissioner of Jebel Awlia locality. Like the other 26 churches in the capital threatened with demolition, the ownership of the land it was built on is disputed. In Soba Aradi, the authorities planned a housing project.
Weeks before, a dispute over the right to manage the land of the Evangelical School and Church in Omdurman escalated. The head of the visiting executive committee is accused of killing one of the church elders. Another church member sustained injuries before police arrived and arrested people.
• New arrests as Darfuri student protest raided in Omdurman
Radio Dabanga | May 18, 2017 | OMDURMAN |
The security services today arrested at least seven Darfuri students of the University of El Zaeem El Azhari, as protests continue for exemption from tuition fees.
Several callers told Radio Dabanga that today’s new arrests followed a protest meeting of Darfuri students at the Danubawa complex in Omdurman, against the issue of eight students who were expelled by the university in early April. “Student supporters of the National Congress Party (NCP), backed by a security force, stormed the meeting,” they said. “The security contingent used tear gas, and the NCP students beat us with sticks and batons.”
At least seven Darfuri students have been arrested, including Omar Adam Ahmed, Mohammed Abdel Halim Mohamed, Salah Adam Mohammed, Yassin Mohammed Abdul Rasool, Adam Ismail Ahmed, Adam Ahmed Jibril, and Alpahir Abubakr Al Fadil. It is not known where they are being held. It is known that several students were injured, however as the protesters scattered in all directions during the raid, exact figures have yet to be ascertained.
As reported by Radio Dabanga yesterday, the Court of Public Order in Bahri dismissed a complaint against 20 Darfuri students and ordered their release on Tuesday. They were arrested on Monday following a similar sit-in protest. Lawyer Jibril Hasabo told Radio Dabanga that a group of lawyers embarked on defence procedures of the students whom the police charged with rioting and breach of public safety according to the Criminal Code. “The Court found no grounds to substantiate the charges or secure a conviction, so it issued a decision to dismiss the complaint against them all”, he said. The students are calling for exception from tuition fees, and the reinstatement of their eight colleagues.
• Darfur displaced ‘under pressure’ from health issues, plans to dismantle camps
Radio Dabanga | May 9, 2017 | DARFUR / ZALINGEI
Displaced people in camps in Darfur feel they are facing pressure to leave the camps while health issues continue to emerge. The government is preparing plans to dismantle the camps.
[The dismantling of camps for 2.7 million displaced persons in Darfur seems a certainty, given government announcements; this will produce a mass migration of non-Arab Darfuris toward the Khartoum urban area, as most have no villages or lands to return to—ER]
Yesterday, community elders from various camps reported to Radio Dabanga that the camps witness the spread of diabetes, blood pressure issues and mental illnesses among camp residents. They said these are caused “by the horrors of war, the living conditions and the economic crisis.”
One of the sheikhs of camp Murnei, in West Darfur, told this station that seventeen people had a leg amputated in the camp because of diabetes-related complications. About 20 people reportedly suffer from mental illness. He called on the humanitarian authorities and organisations to provide health care and the necessary medical and psychological support, especially to the patients.
Continued announcements of the Sudanese government and the recent declaration of the US military attaché in Khartoum about the improved security situation in the region are signs of a campaign to increase the numbers of voluntary returnees from the camps to their areas of origin. While the majority of displaced long to return, reports of militiamen with their families occupying the abandoned villages and farms continue to emerge.
Meanwhile people in Zalingei, Central Darfur, are witnessing an increase in medicine prices, poor medical services, poor hospital environment, and a lack of life-saving medicines in the emergency sections. Yesterday one of the residents told Radio Dabanga that no maintenance is done in the city’s hospital, and dirty wards, toilets, and broken fans cause mosquitoes to breed.
“Patients in the hospital suffer from their disease, but also the lack of medicine and high prices in the pharmacies.” He called on the state authorities to expedite the sanitation of the hospital environment, maintenance of wards, improvement of hygiene standards and also to provide more medicine to the state.
• Sudan V-P calls for voluntary return survey in Darfur
Radio Dabanga | May 2, 2017 | EL FASHER
Sudan’s Second Vice-President Hasabo Mohamed Abdelrahman has called for a survey among displaced people in Darfur on the rehabilitation of camps and facilitation of voluntary repatriations.
Abdelrahman instructed the preparation of a direct survey, regarding the rehabilitation of the camps as part of efforts to facilitate voluntary return, during a meeting with the Voluntary Repatriation Committee on Saturday. He urged the delegation of the committee, headed by Majdi Khalafallah, head of the Darfur Peace Monitoring Office, to fulfil the pledges of development in Darfur to donors. Majdi told Sudanese press afterwards that the vice-president pointed out the importance of developing new strategies for development and service projects in Darfur.
[“Voluntary” returns are simply impossible, given the many thousands of non-Arab villages destroyed in Darfur and the massive, violent expropriation of farmlands by Arab militia forces—ER]
Two weeks ago displaced people in Darfur told this station that the continued announcements of the Sudanese government and the recent declaration of the US military attaché in Khartoum about the improved security situation in the region are “false propaganda”. While the majority of displaced long to return, reports of militiamen with their families occupying the abandoned villages and farms continue to emerge.
The head of the Darfur Civil Society Platform Hamid Ali Nur said that the government’s options given to the Darfur displaced, either to return to their villages of origin, or integrate them into the local communities by re-structuring the camps, are fake. “As the displaced are not able to return, Khartoum’s policy is aimed at permanently displacing them from their homes, lands, and heritage.”
New camp management
The Commissioner of El Fasher, El Tijani Abdallah Saleh issued a decision to form a committee for the management of Korma camp. The committee is tasked with urging camp residents to voluntarily return to their villages, supervising the camp’s market in cooperation with Sudanese armed forces, and solving problems in Korma camp. Yousif Mustafa will head the committee, to be deputed by Abdelsalam Adam Bashar, and Yagoub Idris as a rapporteur. The committee will include 15 leaders and representatives of the political, military, and popular defence forces.
• 400+ houses demolished north of Sudan capital
Radio Dabanga | April 5, 2017 | BAHRI
Sudanese authorities have demolished more than 400 houses in a village in Bahri, north of the capital Khartoum. Village elder Maher Habbani, said the authorities arrived at El Hassaniya Saleem village with 17 loaders and 55 police vehicles to remove the houses, which he says they did without warning. He called on the Attorney-General to intervene to resolve the case. He says that the villagers are resolute to fight for their rights, and demand that their village be re-planned.
[Poorer Sudanese, particularly Darfuris and others from the peripheral regions of Sudan, will be disproportionately affected by this ongoing campaign of demolitions, many providing lucrative real estate opportunities for NCP cronies—ER]
Earlier this month, El Gedaref State authorities forcibly removed more than 65 houses in the El Hijra district of Aljubarab west of the town of El Gedaref using bulldozers. One of the district residents told Radio Dabanga that the police force confronted protesters against the demolition with tear gas and batons. Four people were taken to the hospital an eight were arrested.
• Darfur students sanctioned for cultural activity
Radio Dabanga | March 26, 2017 | KHARTOUM
The administration of the Faculty of Education at the University of Khartoum has issued a decision suspending a woman student from Darfur for one academic year, and subjecting four others to disciplinary action, for ‘holding a cultural activity for the Darfur Students’ Association without informing the university police’ two months ago.
A student leader explained that the Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Khartoum issued a decision on Tuesday suspending Um El Hassan Mahmoud Abakar, a third-level student of Geography at the University of Khartoum. The student leader described the decision as unjust and unfair and explained that the cultural activity was for the purpose of acquaintance and social fabric. He called for immediate cancellation of the decision and return of the suspended student to study.
[Celebrating non-Arab Darfuri traditions and culture has become in the eyes of NISS a “political” activity—ER]
Monday 14 August 2017
Sudan Tribune | August 13, 2017 (EL-FASHER) – The Border Guards Force (BGF) in Darfur’s five states has refused to be merged with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) saying it wouldn’t cooperate with a government plan aiming to collect illegal weapons.
• Darfur tribal leader hostile to merge Border Guards militia with Sudan’s RSF
Sudan Tribune | July 21, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – The spokesperson of a Darfur tribal leader Friday has voiced his opposition to a reform aiming to restructure the different government militias groups considering it as an attempt to merge them…
Sudan Tribune | Saturday 12 August 2017
August 11, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – Seven members of the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC) in Darfur headed by the tribal leader, Musa Hilal, have been reportedly arrested by the Sudanese government militia of the Rapid Support Forces…
[The three dispatches augur more violence and chaos in Darfur, and greater displacement—ER]
Appendix A: Reports of violence against Sudanese forcibly repatriated to Sudan from European countries—
Such reports are coming more frequently, including from France, but Belgium has achieved considerable notoriety because of the its decision to repatriate forcibly some 100 Sudanese men, chosen with the assistance of the officials from the National Intelligence and Security Forces:
• Belgian government at risk of collapse over Sudan migrants scandal | PM Charles Michel dismisses ‘blackmail’ as Flemish party warns it could pull support for the coalition if its minister is forced out | The Guardian (UK), January 8, 2018 | https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/08/belgium-coalition-government-risk-collapse-sudan-migrants-scandal
Belgium’s coalition government is at risk of collapse over a scandal involving the forced repatriation of 100 people to war-torn Sudan. The Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, appeared on TV on Monday to insist he would not be intimidated by “blackmail or threats” after the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA), a Flemish nationalist party that is one of his three coalition partners, warned that it could withdraw support for his administration over the affair. The consequences of decisions taken by Theo Francken, a member of the N-VA and the minister for asylum and migration, are being examined following claims that some Sudanese migrants came to harm after he allowed three of the country’s officials to inspect their cases before they returned.
Fears have been raised that Sudan’s government, led by Omar al-Bashir, was in effect allowed to handpick political opponents for repatriation from Europe. Bashir, who came to power in 1989 after a military coup, is wanted in The Hague over allegations of crimes against humanity.
[As well as multiple counts of genocide—ER]
On Sunday, Bart De Wever, the N-VA leader, said he would rather bring down the government than allow such a senior representative of his party to be forced out. “If Theo Francken is asked to withdraw, then the N-VA will withdraw,” he said. “On this subject, I am very clear. I support Theo Francken and I will not let him down.”
When it was formed in 2014, after 138 days of coalition talks, Michel’s administration became known as the “kamikaze government” given its volatile makeup. Michel leads the sole francophone party in the government, the Mouvement Réformateur. It is the first time the separatist N-VA has been in office.
Michel has insisted that whatever the result of the inquiry, Francken’s resignation is not on the cards, prompting claims from the leader of the Socialist party in parliament, Ahmed Laaouej, that in Belgium “there is no longer a prime minister.” Eric Van Rompuy, a prominent member of the CD&V Flemish conservative party, which is also in the governing coalition, accused Michel of becoming “a puppet” of the N-VA. Michel, 42, Belgium’s youngest prime minister, said there was no need for a change in administration. “The country is going well, and 2018 will be a better year than 2017,” Michel told the Belgian broadcaster RTL.
The CD&V’s Kris Peeters, the deputy prime minister and economy minister, said: “Whoever leaves government now plays with fire. There is economic growth of 2% and job creation is positive, but there is still work. Work is what we have to do now.” Carl Devos, a political commentator from the University of Ghent, told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir that the prime minister was in an impossible position.
“Charles Michel knows that Theo Francken is untouchable,” he said. “He knows that if he had to ask his secretary of state to resign, it would simply signal the end of his government, which would be a resounding failure for him.”