South Kordofan — “According to HUDO’s observation, it is clear that the systematic campaign of the government [of Sudan] is part of a plan targeting the native Nubians. Even the timing is arranged to destroy all institutions that gather Nubians either religious or social as the beginning of implementing the Univision (single Islamic Arabian), denial of Nubian Christians’ religion rights and Nuba people’s rights to practice their culture or social activities.
This was clear when the government security found no charges to issue against the innocent Nubian church leaders and they began accusing them of Christianization and accessing funds from outside Sudan in illegal ways”, says the Human Rights and Development Organization (HUDO).
In the second part of its report HUDO describes the arbitrary arrests, the systematic targeting and the reasons it believes are behind these incidents against the Nuba people. The information provided is based on the agency’s own observations on the ground, but also on local reports and on information gathered from various sources.
Read below summarized parts of the report:
These arrests are ongoing and security forces continuously target the Nuba people wherever they are, regardless of gender or age. They have detention centers everywhere in Sudan, says HUDO.
According to the organization’s observations, Nuba Mountains detainees “are suffering very abusive humiliation and racial discrimination. They are always detained for longer periods than others except Blue Nile and Darfurian in some cases”.
Most of them are kept without charges and others are kept in government facilities that do not have the legal mandates to keep them in detention. These facilities, the organization says, belong to the Popular Defense Forces and tribal militias, for instance.
“Especially Nuba Mountains prisoners” are not allowed to receive family visits and some must wear the same damaged clothes, without being washed, for up to one year.
All of the detainees who worked in public offices before their arrests have their salaries cut off and the “punishment” was extended to their families. Those who were self-employed (such as cab drivers) had their assets confiscated by the government, the report reads.
Prisoners are tortured by the security services and forced to give false testaments incriminating themselves. In addition, large numbers of them are kept in small, poorly ventilated cells, sleep on the bare ground and no not receive proper nutrition. “Some of them died of starvation”, it was stated in the report.
Accusations and reasons behind arrests
HUDO suggested many of the detainees are accused of spying for the rebel group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).
Mentioning anything about conflict in the region during telephone conversations is enough reason for their arrest and to be accused of spying for the rebel group, it was quoted. In addition, political and military affiliation to the SPLM-N are other reasons for detention.
Some people make incriminating confessions under torture -according to HUDO this practice also functions as a mechanism of accusers to settle personal disputes.
Since the beginning of this year, Sudanese authorities began systematically targeting different Nuba language and cultural centers, including those of Nuba Christians, the report indicated.
These centers, according to the agency, are outlined below:
– Kuku institute for Nuba language and heritages located in Omdurman: closed on 16 January 2013 by government security authorities (NISS). Its manager was arrested and his laptop and mobile phone were confiscated together with the institute’s certificate of registration and other documents. The manager was released under the condition that he reports to the NISS office every morning.
– NINU center for languages and computer science -member of the UNESCO Clubs Union: closed by security authorities on 16 January 2013 without any reason. Note: the UNESCO Clubs Union has different centers working across Sudan and all carry out uniformly certified work. None of them was closed down apart from the NINU center.
– Evangelical Cultural Center library in Khartoum: closed on 18 February 2013 by the NISS. Books, media tools and documents belonging to the library were confiscated. Three people were arrested, including a priest. None of them were yet released.
– Gideon Theological College (GTC) in Omdurman: raided on 24 February 2013 by the NISS. Three Nuba Christians were arrested and released under the condition they report to the NISS office on a daily basis.
– Fellowship of Christian University Students (FCUS) office: raided by NISS on 24 February 2013. Two executive members were arrested; one was released under the condition he reports to the NISS office on a daily basis. The other remains under arrest. On the same day, NISS also raided the FCUS-guest house in another area in Khartoum and confiscated a car belonging to it.
In its report, HUDO outlined the following appeals concerning the situations described above:
– International and national organizations must exercise pressure on the mission of the Special Envoy to ensure prisoners can receive visitors and that violations are reported. “The High Commission for Human Rights (Sudan) is inefficient, and not respected by the government authorities.”
– To continue with international advocacy campaigns of detainees -proved useful in the past.
– The international community must form a committee to investigate the issue of the prisoners in South Kordofan / Nuba Mountains and ask the government to disclose their information including how many are detained.
– Ensure detainees’ human rights are respected, and allow them to have access to free and fair trial as soon as possible.