Human Rights Watch | Emergency Decrees Bring More Repression in Sudan

International Investigation Needed into Abuses During Crackdown

Jehanne Henry
Associate Director, Africa Division

After more than two months of near-daily protests in Khartoum and across Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir announced on the evening of February 22 a year-long state of emergency and dissolved the government. He postponed constitutional amendments allowing him to run for office again in 2020 but did not offer to step down.

In the following days, al-Bashir issued additional decrees outlawing protests, setting up emergency courts, and appointed loyal military men in key roles. Significantly, he appointed Ahmed Haroun, former governor of Northern Kordofan, as acting head of the ruling National Congress Party. Both Haroun and al-Bashir are wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged atrocity crimes in Darfur.

While the new government was purportedly established to help address Sudan’s economic crisis and appease critics, it has not ended the protests, nor the government’s abusive response. On the night of al-Bashir’s announcement, security forces raided a doctors’ residence in Khartoum, looted property, and arrested more than 50 people, according to the independent doctor’s syndicate. Two days later, they raided the University of Medical Studies and Technology, shot tear gas into the building, and beat and arrested students. On February 25, government forces shot at protesters, injuring three, the syndicate said.

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