Nairobi, 1 October 2014
A major new report revealing the scale of discrimination in Sudan was released today by the Equal Rights Trust in partnership with the Sudanese Organisation for Research and Development (SORD).
In addition to legal analysis, the report, In Search of Confluence: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Sudan, presents original direct testimony from over 260 persons discriminated against on the grounds of gender, religion, belief, race, ethnicity, political opinion, disability, and health status.
The report is also the first and only external source to provide testimony directly from the gay community in Sudan, which is driven underground by criminalisation and persecution.
"Our work in Sudan was sometimes very dangerous, as Sudan is among the most oppressive places on earth" said Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director of the Equal Rights Trust. "For example, on the second day of interviewing in Khartoum, I realised that everyone I had met had been arrested in recent years, usually for several months. People would mention this fact casually, or only if asked. We then decided to always ask. The result was that out of 60 civil society activists that spoke to us, only 5 had not been arrested in the last 3 years in connection with their work. The report alleges that the al-Bashir government, promoting a narrow vision of Sudan as an Arab and Islamic state, is the discriminator-in-chief. We reveal the various ways in which the regime promotes discrimination, despite some isolated efforts it has made in the opposite direction. The report argues that inequality is the root cause of all of Sudan’s continuing conflicts." Petrova added.
Also speaking at the report launch, Sudanese architect and human rights activist Amira Osman, whose high-profile case last year saw her facing a punishment of flogging for refusing to wear a hijab, said: "My case received considerable international attention last year. However my case is one of many: there are hundreds if not thousands of women in Sudan who are criminalised for their dress every year."
Faisal Elbagir, Sudanese journalist, also spoke at the launch and read a statement from fellow journalist Anwar Awad, who had been subjected to torture and other abuses.
The Equal Rights Trust called on Sudan to reform its laws, policies and practices to ensure protection from discrimination. In particular, the Trust urged the Sudanese authorities to:
- Mainstream the principles of equality and non-discrimination in all of their initiatives aimed at conflict resolution and peace building
- Integrate equality principles based on non-discrimination and positive action in comprehensive policies to redress past abuses
- Strengthen protection from discrimination through improving the legal and policy framework in respect to equality
To read "In Search of Confluence: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Sudan", click here.