28 February 2020
Two Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) in Darfur, Western Sudan are currently in need of urgent protection as a result of threats to their lives for doing their work as human rights activists.
The direct threats against the men were made on 23 January 2020 by Ali Mohammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, commonly known as Ali Kushayb, who was a senior Janjaweed commander supporting the Sudanese government in committing atrocities and human rights violations against the people of Darfur, and for which he is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity and other grave violations. Ali Kushayb is now the Head of Security in Raheed Al-Bardi in Nyala, South Darfur.
On Wednesday 22nd of January 2020, the two Human Rights Defenders – Mr. Mohammed Osman and Mr. Ali Mohammed organized a peaceful demonstration demanding for good services in their region, and called for the removal of some government officials from office on grounds that they are always involved in acts of corruption and abusing justice processes in the territory of Raheed Al-Bardi, Nyala – South Darfur. As they were peacefully demonstrating, Ali Kushayb arrived at the scene with his security forces and asked the human rights defenders to leave immediately. He also pointed his gun at them and threatened to kill them.
On Thursday 23rd of January 2020 at 3pm Ali Kushayb, in his capacity as the Head of Security in Raheed Al-Bardi and Commander in the Central Reserve Police in the locality, called for a community meeting which was also attended by members of all the Heads of the Security Committees, namely:
- Mohammed Adam, Chief Executive Officer,
- Eulim Aldiyn, Director of Police Chief in the locality
- Yousef Ali Edam, Director of Secondary Education and primary school,
- Ahmed Al-Sayer, the Political Secretary of the National Congress in the locality, Director of the Electricity Office and Head of the Teachers’ Union
- Yousef Ahmed Abu Shanab, Director of Education in the Administrative Unit of the Teachers Syndicate in the locality of alrahad Al-Bardi.
While addressing the gathering, Ali Kushayb said he wanted to remind the people that he is the one with power and no one should question his power. He added that no one has a right to speak about corruption and that killing is not a problem because he had previously killed more than these two Human Rights Defenders. He told the gathering that he can even kill them in front of Abdallah Homdok, the current Prime Minister and nothing would be done to him. In a video recording of the meeting, which was in the same day he met with the fathers of the two HRDs and informed them that he will kill these youth and expel them from their families completely.
On Friday 24th of January 2020 at around 01:00 a.m. at night, five armed men led by Abrara Mohamed Issa, Ismail Abdul Rahaman and Mohamed Musa one of Ali Kushayb’s trusted commanders came by car together with two other men who were putting on masks and attacked the houses of the HRDs. Fortunately, the two men had not slept at their houses because they were already scared for their lives.
Therefore, we the Darfur Network for Monitoring and Documentation (DNMD):
- Call upon the Transitional Sovereignty Council and Government of South Darfur state to take all measures to protect the two HRDs and our fellow human rights defenders in Darfur, West Sudan.
- For the Government of Sudan to denounce the actions by Ali Kushayb and hold responsible those who attacked the homes of the human rights defenders;
- We also appeal to organizations working in the field of human rights including DefendDefenders, Amnesty International, FIDH, Front line, Human Rights Watch, African Center for Justice and Peace Studies to join us in the call for urgent action and urge all to desist from inciting violence against human rights defenders;
- We are urgently appealing for support for the human rights defenders in order for them to be provided with all necessary assistance to facilitate their temporary relocation to places where they can be safe;
- We call for a conducive environment and continuing expansion of the space for human rights defenders to operate in safety and dignity.