Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), Arry and the Nuba Women’s Group condemn the killing of hundreds of  Sudanese protesters and the many more injured, as a result of  arbitrary and unlawful force being used by Sudanese security forces in a wave of protests in Khartoum and several other towns in the country. 

On 22 September 2013, thousands marched through the streets of the capital city of Khartoum to protest against President Omar al-Bashir’s announcement that fuel and other subsidies will be ended. The move means another increase in the cost of living at a time of worsening economic conditions affecting the majority of the population. Anger over fuel price hikes has turned into street demonstrations against the 24-year rule of President al-Bashir.  Police and national security forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition into the crowds.  The government has also deployed military forces in other towns where the protests have spread.

According to reports from inside Sudan, more than 160 protestors which include women and high school students, have already lost their lives and countless more have been seriously injured. Most casualties were found to have been shot in the chest or head.  

Hundreds of people including known members of political opposition groups, students and other activists were also reportedly detained by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and are at risk of torture.  Widespread use of prolonged incommunicado detention, torture and ill-treatment by the NISS against perceived opponents of the Al-Bashir regime is well-documented by human rights organisatons.  Schools and government offices were reported to have been closed in Khartoum, and national access to the internet is either cut off or rationed after photos of the victims were uploaded by youth groups like Change Now and Girifna.  Press freedom is also under threat with the NISS’ instructions to Chief Editors from a number of Khartoum’s newspapers to only publish on the demonstrations based on official reports from the police or security authorities. Another newspaper, Al Sudani, was already suspended for defying their instruction.[1]

Women activists in the frontline

Women are increasingly on the frontline during the protests in Sudan.  Since 2009 there has been a surge in the women’s rights movement in Sudan which started when Sudanese women human rights defenders[2] went out into the streets to protest against the policies of the Al Bashir government and his political Islamist allies.  Women and youth also led the 2011 protests, inspired by the Arab revolutions, which was violently suppressed by the Sudanese authorities. At least 150 women were raped, detained and/or prosecuted. Female students from a secondary high school protesting in Omdurman, a town outside of Khartoum, have sparked one of the recent protests. A large number of these women suffered from injuries during the protest as a result of live ammunition and rubber bullets. Many also suffered from suffocation because of the tear gas used on protestors.

One of the first women killed by a live bullet that hit her chest is Sarah Abdel Baqi in Aldroshab . On September 28, the security arrested Amal Habani, a well known WHRD and journalist and one of the founders of No for Women Oppression initiative. Ni’mat Malik, a member of the Central Committee of the Sudan Communist Party and activist/writer Ranya Ma’moum were arrested and beaten. Abeir Alhaj, a WHRD from the Nuba community and a member of the Nuba Mountains Students Association was injured by a bullet during the protest in Omdurman and her injury has not been attended to due to lack of medical treatment in the general hospitals. [3]


Our Demands

We join the calls of Sudanese civil society and of the international community to demand that President Omar Al Bashir take the following urgent measures:

1. Immediately order a stop to the use of arbitrary, disproportionate and unlawful force against protesters and establish an investigation into these incidents.  International law on the use of force requires security forces to exhaust all nonviolent means before resorting to the use of force.[4]  Where the lawful use of force is unavoidable, the authorities should use restraint and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense. The principles also provide that governments shall ensure that arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punishable as a criminal offense.

2. Ensure that the basic rights of freedom of press and of information and association are guaranteed; and that no one shall be arbitrarily arrested and detained. All detainees shall be released unless they are promptly charged with recognizable crimes.


3. Ensure that women activists and protestors are not subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence.   


We also call on the international community through the United Nations and multilateral bodies and States with a presence in Sudan to exert pressure on the Al-Bashir government to use its power in ending this latest round of brutality and gross human rights violations against its citizens.


01 October 2013


[2] Arry Organization, Sudanese WHRDs At the Frontlines

[3] Source: Nuba Women Activists group

[4] The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials