The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to January 20, 2001.  Please see www.state.gov for material released since President George W. Bush took office on that date.  This site is not updated so external links may no longer function.  Contact us with any questions about finding information.

NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Department Seal

flag
bar


TITLE:  SUDAN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                     SUDAN


Following the military coup that overthrew Sudan's 
democratically elected government in 1989, Lt. General Omar 
Hassan al-Bashir and other military leaders who staged the coup 
formed the National Salvation Revolution Command Council 
(RCC).  The RCC suspended the 1985 transitional Constitution, 
abrogated press freedoms, and dissolved all political parties 
and trade unions.  Chaired by Bashir, the RCC nominally ruled 
Sudan until it dissolved itself in October, appointing Bashir 
President of the Republic and transferring to him most of its 
powers.  Even prior to the RCC's dissolution, real power rested 
with the Head of State, Bashir, a few other military officers, 
and above all the National Islamic Front (NIF), headed by 
Hassan al-Turabi.  Though officially banned like the other 
parties, the (NIF) effectively controlled the Government.  NIF 
members and supporters held most key positions in the 
Government, security forces, judiciary, academia, and media.  
With the abolition of the RCC, the NIF further tightened its 
grip on the state.

The regime controls most of Sudan, outside of parts of the 
south and the Nuba mountains controlled by factions of the 
Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA): SPLA Mainstream, led 
by John Garang, and SPLA United, led by Riak Machar.  The civil 
war continued throughout 1993, marked by bitter fighting 
between the SPLA factions that caused widespread suffering 
among the southern population.

To supplement the Sudan People's Armed Forces (SPAF) and the 
militia, the Popular Defense Forces (PDF), in 1993 the regime 
created the Popular Police, which, like the militia, is infused 
with Islamic ideology.  The mission of the Popular Police 
includes encouraging proper social behavior.  Martial law and 
the state of emergency remained in place in 1993, permitting 
arbitrary actions such as indefinite detention of opponents.

Civil war, corruption, economic mismanagement, high inflation, 
and over 3.5 million internally displaced persons have 
devastated Sudan's primarily agricultural economy.  Starvation 
and malnutrition are rife.  The war has left parts of Sudan 
depopulated and without effective government.  Reforms aimed at 
privatizing inefficient state-run firms and stimulating private 
investment have failed to revive a moribund economy saddled 
with massive military expenditures.

The human rights situation remained dismal in 1993, with no 
sign of improvement.  The Government and the SPLA factions all 
committed serious human rights abuses.  SPAF and PDF abuses 
included massacres, kidnaping and enslavement, forced 
conscription, and rape.  Government forces forcibly displaced 
many civilians from the Nuba mountains, conducted forced 
conscription, and kidnapped or enslaved civilians.  In the 
areas they controlled, government forces routinely harassed, 
imprisoned--often incommunicado for lengthy periods--and 
tortured hundreds of opponents.  The SPLA factions also engaged 
in widespread killings and other abuses.  In the spring, 
SPLA/Mainstream forces tried to murder an international relief 
worker and a journalist operating in the south.  The Government 
maintained myriad secret police forces, both official and 
unofficial.  They routinely acted as if they were a law unto 
themselves, harassing, imprisoning, and torturing without 
restraint opponents and suspected opponents of the regime.

Government and SPLA hindrance of international relief efforts 
remained a problem throughout the year, frequently interrupting 
relief flows and often causing widespread suffering.  The 
Government continued to repress freedoms of speech, press, 
assembly, association, and political choice.  Discrimination 
and violence against women continued.  The same lack of 
freedoms prevailed in SPLA-controlled areas.  In the context of 
the Government's Arabization and Islamization drive, 
discrimination against non-Muslims continued and included 
forced Islamization.  In government-controlled areas of the 
south and the Nuba mountains, some Islamic nongovernmental 
organization (NGO) personnel, acting with the tacit approval of 
local authorities, withheld food and key services from the 
needy unless they converted to Islam.  Fear of Arabization and 
Islamization, including the imposition of Shari'a (Islamic 
law), was a key cause of opposition to a united Sudan in the 
south, where most of the largely black African population are 
Christians or animists.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Official and unofficial government forces committed an 
undetermined number of political killings of persons suspected 
of being members or collaborators of the insurgent SPLA.  
Moreover, according to reliable eyewitnesses, in February and 
March security forces shot to death about 30 persons on the 
beach at Suakin.  There is no evidence that the victims 
received any trial; nor did the authorities give prior public 
notice of the executions, as required under Sudanese law.  
Asked about the executions, the authorities denied that they 
took place.  Reportedly, SPLA forces in the Nuba mountains 
summarily executed local villagers who refused to provide them 
with food or clothing.  SPLA factions were suspected of 
conducting both political killings and extrajudicial killings 
(in addition to outright massacres during combat operations) 
but conclusive proof was lacking.

There are credible reports that in 1993 government security 
forces beat and tortured to death detainees.  According to one 
such report, retired Brigadier Camillo Odong N. Loyuk was 
chained by his wrists and testicles to the bars of his cell 
window and beaten until he died.

     b.  Disappearance

Scores of persons arrested by government security forces in 
Juba, following SPLA attacks on the city in the summer of 1992, 
remain unaccounted for and are feared dead, including two 
employees of the USAID office in Juba, Dominic Morris and 
Chaplain Lake, and Michael Mutto of the U.N.'s Juba office.  
Thirty-four guards from Juba prison disappeared without a trace 
after the security forces took them away for interrogation.

Disappearances of persons suspected of supporting the SPLA 
continued to occur routinely throughout the war zones in 1993.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Torture, previously uncommon in Sudan outside of the war zones, 
has become routine at the hands of official and unofficial 
security forces.  Throughout 1993, beatings of suspected 
opponents upon their arrest was commonplace.  For example, when 
government security forces arrested dozens of students for 
demonstrating against the regime in the Khartoum area in 
October, they were brutally beaten.  According to reliable 
accounts, while in custody some students were forced to stand 
for hours, their hands manacled to the ceiling of a tiny cell.

Throughout the year the security forces continued to hold 
opponents--including trade unionists, politicians, and 
students--incommunicado, often for months, in safe houses known 
locally as ghost houses.  Many prisoners were beaten upon 
arrival at the ghost houses before their interrogation began.  
Torture and mistreatment of ghost house inmates often continued 
throughout their incarceration.  In a letter passed to his 
relatives, Brigadier General Mohammad Ahmed al Rizk al Faki, 
held in Suakin Prison, related that he had been subjected to 
psychological and physical torture, including beatings, 
electric shock, rape, and partial castration.  According to 
former inmates, mistreatment included whipping and clubbing; 
shackling and suspension by the wrists; the application of 
electric shocks; burning with hot irons; submersion in hot and 
cold water; prolonged blindfolding; denial of food, water, 
sleep, and access to toilet facilities; confinement in 
overcrowded and unsanitary quarters; deprivation of medical 
care; and psychological torture, such as mock executions, and, 
in the case of some female prisoners, sexual abuse.  The 
Government has not prosecuted any security personnel for such 
abuses, although they are widely known.  These abuses could not 
occur without the knowledge of the highest authorities.  There 
were recurrent reports that SPAF, PDF, and SPLA forces in the 
field periodically committed rape.  According to one credible 
report, in March soldiers raped displaced women in Meiram when 
the military train to Wau reached the town.

Conditions in official prisons are harsh.  Almost all the 
prisons were built before independence in 1956, are poorly 
maintained, and many lack such basic facilities as toilets and 
showers.  Health care is rudimentary and food inadequate.  
Minors are regularly detained with adults.

Sudan's 1991 Criminal Act, based on the Shari'a, prescribes for 
some offenses specific "hudood" punishments, including 
amputation, stoning, and lashing.  The courts handed down 
several amputation sentences during the year, but none was 
known to have been carried out by year's end.  The Government, 
however, routinely meted out lashings in the north, most often 
to persons convicted of consuming alcohol, following trials 
that did not meet internationally accepted standards of 
fairness.  Angelican Bishop Elbersh was lashed publicly in 1993 
for alleged adultery.  On New Year's Eve 1993, the Government 
arrested and lashed several young Muslim women whom it accused 
of wearing immodest dress or consuming alcohol.  In one 
instance of flogging in November, Kamal Mekki Medani was 
flogged despite medical evidence that he suffered from 
hypertension and diabetes and might not be able to withstand 
the punishment.


     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The 1991 Criminal Code does not address periods of detention 
and security arrest.  Other laws allow the Government to detain 
persons without charge and without reference to the judiciary.  
The state of emergency introduced following the 1989 coup 
authorizes the Government to arrest persons without warrant and 
detain them indefinitely without charge or trial.  Under the 
National Security Act, the Government may detain a suspect for 
interrogation for up to 72 hours.  This is renewable for up to 
a month with "justification," which is not defined.

The President has the power to authorize "precautionary 
detention" for up to 3 months "to preserve the general 
security."  In practice, he delegates this authority to 
subordinate officials.  A person thus detained is supposed to 
be notified "in suitable time", interpreted as within these 3 
months, of the reasons for detention.  The President may extend 
the detention for 3 more months if a magistrate approves the 
extension.  In practice, these legal provisions are often 
ignored as the authorities often detain opponents in ghost 
houses indefinitely.  On occasions when extensions are formally 
requested, they are rarely, if ever, denied.

Sudanese law allows for bail except in the case of accused 
murderers and political opponents of the regime.

In theory, indigent defendants receive legal counsel from the 
Government in the case of crimes punishable by death or life 
imprisonment.  However, courts do not always inform defendants 
of this right.  Moreover, in some cases counsel is only allowed 
to advise the defendant and may not address the court.  Thus, 
despite some theoretical protections, Sudanese arrested by the 
Government, especially by the security authorities, are likely 
to suffer arbitrary treatment, including, in many cases, 
incommunicado detention.

Because of the regime's secrecy and arbitrary detention 
practices, it was impossible to know the exact number of 
political detainees and prisoners held at the end of 1993.  
Throughout the year, the Government picked up hundreds of 
suspected opponents throughout the country.  Some were leading 
figures, such as Democratic Unionist Party leader Sid'Ahmed Al 
Hussein, whose arrest was widely noted.  Others were less 
prominent persons whose arrests were known only to their family 
and friends.  While many of those arrested were held for a few 
days or weeks, others were kept for months.  Reasonable 
estimates of the number of political detainees and prisoners in 
Sudan by year's end ranged between several score and several 
hundred.

Moreover, the authorities often required suspected opponents to 
report in the morning to the security offices, made them wait 
until the evening, then forced them to return the next day.  
This de facto arrest lasted for days, weeks, or in some cases 
months, during which time the victims could not earn a 
livelihood.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Government has made the judiciary largely subservient to 
it.  In a 1989 decree, the RCC assumed all power over Sudan's 
Constitution and laws and gave control of the judiciary to the 
Ministry of Justice.  The October 1993 decree dissolving the 
RCC gave the power to issue constitutional decrees to the 
appointed, NIF-controlled transitional National Assembly.  The 
Chief Justice, formerly elected by sitting judges, is now 
appointed.  Since 1989 the authorities have replaced hundreds 
of judges considered ideologically unacceptable.  Many of the 
new judges have ties to the NIF.  They favor strict application 
of the Shari'a; many have little or no legal training.

Sudan's judicial system includes the regular courts, both 
criminal and civil, the special security courts, military 
courts meant mainly for military personnel, and tribal courts 
which are important in rural areas, where disputes often 
involve land and water rights and family matters.  The 1991 
Criminal Act governs criminal cases.  Civil cases are still 
handled largely according to the 1983 Civil Transactions Act.  
In keeping with Shari'a law, a woman's testimony in court is 
worth one-half that of a man's.  Military trials do not meet 
international standards; proceedings are secret and brief.  The 
1991 trial of 53 officers accused of coup plotting lasted only 
a few minutes.  None of the officers had legal representation.

The 1989 Special Courts Act created three-person special 
security courts to deal with a wide range of offenses including 
violations of constitutional decrees, emergency regulations, 
and some sections of the Penal Code, as well as drug and 
currency offenses.  Special courts, which have a mix of 
military and civilian judges, handle most security-related 
cases.  Attorneys may advise defendants as "friends of the 
court" but normally may not address the court.  Sentences are 
usually severe and implemented at once.  Death sentences, 
however, are referred to the Chief Justice and the Head of 
State.  Defendants may file appeal briefs with the Chief 
Justice.  These courts handle most security-related cases.

The Government officially exempts the three southern states, 
whose population is mostly non-Muslim, from parts of the 1991 
Criminal Act.  However, the Act permits the possible future 
application of Shari'a in the south, if the local legislative 
assemblies, envisioned in the regime's projected political 
system, so decide.  Moreover, in 1993 the Government 
transferred most non-Muslim judges from the south to the north, 
replacing them with Muslim judges.  There were no reports, 
however, of hudood punishments, other than lashings, carried 
out by the courts in government-controlled areas of the south.  
Fear of the imposition of Shari'a remained a key issue in the 
rebellion.

Parts of the south fell outside effective judicial procedures 
and other governmental functions.  According to credible 
reports, SPAF and PDF units summarily tried and punished those 
accused of crimes, especially so-called offenses against civil 
order.  In SPLA areas, there was some reliance on traditional 
justice by village elders, but the SPLA ultimately ruled by 
summary methods, including beatings, torture, and arbitrary 
execution.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

The Government routinely interferes with its citizens' 
privacy.  Throughout 1993 searches without warrants, often at 
night, continued, particularly against persons suspected of 
political crimes.  The Government maintained a wide network of 
informants who conducted pervasive surveillance, constrained 
only by resource and manpower limitations.  Informers were 
common in schools, universities, and workplaces.  Former Prime 
Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, former Communist Party Head Mohammed 
Ibrahim Nugud, and other key opposition figures were under 
nearly constant surveillance.  In addition, the Government 
continued its practice of dismissing government employees 
suspected of antiregime views--particularly members of the 
military, over a hundred of whom were dismissed during the 
year.  Security personnel often opened and read mail, including 
mail delivered by courier service.

They also examined registered mail before it was sent.  
Telephones were often tapped.  Government-instituted 
neighborhood "popular committees," ostensibly a mechanism for 
political mobilization, served as a mechanism for monitoring 
households.  These committees caused many Sudanese to be wary 
of their neighbors who, for whatever reason, could report them 
for "suspicious" activities.  Security officers, for instance, 
investigated Sudanese for "excessive" contact with foreigners.  
The committees also furnished or withheld documents essential 
for obtaining exit visas from Sudan.  In high schools, students 
were sometimes pressured to join proregime youth groups.  Some 
who refused were badly beaten.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

The civil war was marked by bitter fighting between the rival 
SPLA factions and a major government summer and fall offensive 
aimed at sealing off Sudan's border with Uganda.  Government 
forces, pro-government tribal militias, the PDF, and the SPLA 
factions commonly used excessive force and constantly violated 
humanitarian norms by attacking civilian targets.  Neither side 
tried to investigate or punish those responsible.  Sudan's Air 
Force bombed indiscriminately, often using the crude tactic of 
dumping bombs from transport planes on targets, including 
civilian villages, in SPLA areas.  In late December, the Air 
Force bombed villages in the vicinity of Mundri in Western 
Equatoria and Chukundum in Eastern Equatoria.  In addition, 
there were reliable reports that SPLA forces in the Nuba 
mountains frequently killed local villagers who would not give 
them food and other assistance.

All sides in the conflict were guilty of massacring civilians.  
SPAF and PDF troops accompanying the February-March military 
train from Babanusa to Wau fanned out in front of the train, 
killing or capturing civilians they found in their path, 
stealing cattle, and burning houses, fields, and granaries.  
Hundreds were killed.  More starved to death after losing their 
crops, food supplies, and cattle.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Government severely curtailed freedom of speech following 
the 1989 coup.  In 1993 a climate of intimidation and 
surveillance, fostered in part by the Government's informer 
network, continued to inhibit open, public discussion of 
political issues.  Radio, television, all of the print media, 
and the Sudanese News Agency (SUNA) remained under the 
Government's control and reflected its policies.  The media 
rarely mentioned, and always negatively, opposition figures.

All the print media were government-owned and controlled.  The 
press--the Arabic-language dailies Modern Sudan, Victory, and 
National Salvation; the English-language daily New Horizon; and 
various weeklies and monthlies--strongly advocated government 
policies.  They almost never criticized the Government, and on 
the few occasions they did, the criticism was benign.

The Government appointed the chief editors of the print media, 
alleviating the need for formal daily censorship.  Sudan 
television news had a permanent military censor to ensure that 
the news reflected government views.  For most of 1993, the 
Minister of Information was an army brigadier.  In early 1993, 
the Government closed the local offices of the daily As-Asharq 
al-Awsat and detained its chief correspondent, Mohammed Abdel 
Sayyid, in a ghost house.  The Government accused him of 
espionage, treason, and illegal possession of government 
documents.  In the face of a mounting campaign of international 
pressure, the Government released him after a month and a 
half.  It never brought his case to trial.

The Government adopted in mid-1993 a new Press Code that called 
for privatizing existing state-owned print media and allowing 
the creation of new, private newspapers.  By the end of the 
year, however, no existing newspapers had been privatized, and 
no new private newspapers were created.  Many local journalists 
were skeptical about the new Code and complained that it did 
not take their views into consideration.  They further noted 
that it restricted coverage of many issues, from military 
affairs to subjects that could raise religious or racial 
tensions or exacerbate social differences.

The regime complained of an anti-Sudan bias among the 
international, especially Western, media.  In the second half 
of 1993, the Government permitted a number of foreign 
journalists to enter Sudan and allowed them a degree of 
freedom, letting them meet with a wide spectrum of leaders, 
including some from the opposition, and allowing them to visit 
war zones.  The Government, however, monitored the journalists' 
movements closely and on at least one occasion confiscated part 
of a television crew's film.

The Government routinely confiscated issues of foreign 
publications entering Sudan that had material it judged hostile 
to the regime.  Many respected journalists who worked in the 
local media before 1989 have quit the profession, and many have 
left Sudan.

Academic freedom does not exist in Sudan.  The climate of 
intolerance fostered by the regime--fed, for instance, by the 
dismissal after the coup of many academics considered 
antiregime--and its practice of brutally repressing suspected 
opponents had a chilling effect on academic debate.  The 
Government used political and ideological criteria in 
appointing new faculty.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

These freedoms were severely restricted.  The declaration of 
the state of emergency and martial law on June 30, 1989, 
effectively eliminated the right to protest.  Only government- 
sponsored gatherings were permitted.  The security forces broke 
up demonstrations sponsored by nongovernment organizations.  In 
October and November, police used tear gas and baton charges to 
disperse students and others who were protesting in the 
Khartoum area.  When riots broke out in Gedaref in February and 
El Obeid and Er Rahad in October, security forces fired on the 
crowds, killing several persons in each locality.  Apart from a 
few indigenous NGO's involved in relief work and the Sudan 
Industries Association, all other private associations were 
either government- or NIF-controlled.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Under Sudanese law, Muslims may proselytize freely, but 
non-Muslims may not proselytize Muslims.  The 1991 Criminal Act 
makes apostasy by Muslims punishable by death, although there 
are no known cases in which this sentence has been applied.  
Some Muslim converts to Christianity were, however, harassed in 
1993 by local authorities.  Two villagers from a small 
community of Arab Christians at Abdullahi, near Umm Rawaba, 
were arrested in August, imprisoned for several days, and 
threatened with death if they did not convert back to Islam.

The Foreign Missionary Societies Act of 1962 subjects public 
Christian religious activity to close government supervision.  
It forbids the construction of churches without government 
permits; none has been issued for over 10 years.  Missionary 
groups need licenses to proselytize; the licenses specify where 
they may operate and restrict their activities outside these 
areas.  Foreign missionaries need special permission, which is 
difficult to obtain and easy to lose, to work in Sudan  The 
Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference (SCBC), the Sudan Council of 
Churches (SCC), an umbrella group that includes all of Sudan's 
Christian churches, and the Copts all faced restrictions 
stemming from the Act, which local officials often interpreted 
capriciously.  Christians have generally experienced few 
problems building churches in government-controlled areas of 
southern Sudan.  In the predominately Muslim areas of northern 
Sudan, however, Christians have not received a government 
permit to build a church, and no new churches have been built, 
since the early 1970's.

Non-Muslims complained throughout 1993 of pervasive, 
multifaceted pressure in favor of Islam and against other 
religions.  The authorities regard Islam not just as a faith, 
but also as the basis of Sudan's Arab culture.  Thus, almost 
every subject matter in the schools is infused with Islam and 
the Koran, to which Muslims and non-Muslims alike are exposed.  
In the popular defense forces, all trainees, including 
non-Muslims, received indoctrination in the Islamic faith.

There were reliable reports in some war zones, particularly the 
Nuba mountains, that government forces closed churches and 
restricted the movements of Christian clergy.  In 
government-held parts of the south and the Nuba Mountains, some 
Islamic NGO personnel withheld food and key services from the 
needy unless they converted to Islam.  The local authorities 
appeared to condone, at least tacitly, these practices.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Government restrictions hampered freedom of movement.  All 
Sudanese needed to obtain exit visas before leaving the 
country.  Numerous individual Sudanese and some categories of 
persons (such as policemen and other security personnel) were 
often denied exit visas.  The authorities kept lists of 
political figures and other Sudanese not permitted to travel 
abroad.  In one case, the authorities refused leading southern 
Sudanese opposition politician Eliaba Surur permission to 
attend the U.S. Institute for Peace Conference on Sudan because 
of his dissident activities in Khartoum.  Security officials 
sometimes made arbitrary decisions on the issuance or 
cancellation of exit visas.  In addition, as tensions with 
Egypt rose in the first half of 1993, Sudanese authorities 
denied most requests for travel to Egypt.


An evening curfew, imposed when the new regime seized power in 
1989, was lifted in November.

Some former political detainees were forbidden to travel 
outside of Khartoum.  Other Sudanese were able to move about 
the country, but those who failed to produce an identity card 
at one of the numerous checkpoints risked being arrested and 
even beaten.  This was especially true of southerners in the 
north.

Nondiplomatic foreigners needed permits, which were hard to 
obtain and often refused, well in advance for all in-country 
travel outside of Khartoum.  (Diplomats could travel freely to 
many locations.)  Foreigners had to register with the police on 
entering the country, seek permission to move from one location 
to another, and register again at each new location within 3 
days of arrival.  Foreign NGO staff sometimes faced 
difficulties in obtaining entry visas or work or travel permits 
once they were in country.

Tens of thousands of persons, largely southerners and 
westerners displaced by famine and civil war, continued to live 
in squatter slums in the Khartoum area.  In a reprise, on a 
smaller scale, of the massive destructions of squatter 
settlements in 1992, in 1993 the Government razed hundreds of 
these squatter dwellings.  Thousands were made homeless; some 
were forced to relocate to primitive resettlement sites outside 
the city, where conditions were harsh and distances from 
employment opportunities great.  Many of these people had been 
in Khartoum for years; some even had title to the land.  The 
Government promised to give those who had titles new plots of 
land elsewhere.  NGO's attempting to provide food or health 
care in the resettlement camps often had problems securing 
access from the Government.

Sudan was generally hospitable to refugees.  At the end of the 
year, the refugee population (largely composed of Ethiopians 
and Eritreans) was about 630,000, about half of whom received 
assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for 
Refugees (UNHCR).  There were no reports of forcible 
repatriation of refugees in 1993.  UNHCR resettlement of 
refugees to third countries proceeded smoothly.

Refugees could not become resident aliens or citizens of Sudan, 
regardless of their length of stay.  However, a large number of 
refugees were tolerated and found employment, although 
typically in menial occupations, in the cities, especially in 
the capital area.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

The people of Sudan had neither the right nor the ability to 
change their government peacefully.  In 1992 the RCC instituted 
an appointed "Transitional National Assembly" (TNA).  The main 
activity of this rubber-stamp body, however, was to ratify 
legislation proposed by the executive.  The RCC dissolved 
itself in October, making its chairman President of the 
Republic and transferring to him most of its powers.  The 
courts had no authority to review acts of the RCC or the Head 
of State.

Claiming that sectarian bickering was harmful to Sudan, in 1989 
the regime abolished all political parties.  In 1990 the RCC, 
rejecting both multiparty and one-party systems, adopted a 
Libyan-style political structure based on ascending levels of 
nonpartisan assemblies, some of whose members are elected in 
nonpartisan elections, and the others government-appointed.  
The Government is currently implementing the system, which the 
NIF is thoroughly manipulating and controlling, at the 
provincial and state levels.  The lack of basic freedoms of 
assembly, speech, and press, the absence of political parties, 
the rigging of the participatory process, and the significant 
proportion of appointed members make the system essentially 
undemocratic.

Government rhetoric gave high priority to ending the civil 
war.  Yet, by the end of the year, despite Nigerian mediation 
and peace talks with both SPLA factions in Abuja, Nigeria, and 
with SPLA/United in Nairobi, Kenya, there had been no progress 
toward peace.  For much of the spring the Government and the 
SPLA observed a cease-fire, which collapsed in the summer as 
the Government launched a major offensive.  The rival SPLA 
factions continued to fight intermittently throughout the 
year.  At year's end several efforts at mediation between the 
SPLA factions and the SPLA and the Government were under way, 
conducted by neighboring states, church groups, and former U.S. 
President Carter.  However, the commitment of the various 
warring parties to peace was unclear, and prospects for 
successful negotiations seemed dim.


Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

The Government tried to stamp out any domestic criticism on 
human rights issues, frequently and vehemently denying any 
human rights abuses.  Almost all of the relatively few local, 
independent human rights monitors have been arrested and 
detained at one point or another since the 1989 coup.  In 1991 
the Government created the Sudan Human Rights Organization 
(SHRO)--not to be confused with the previous SHRO, which the 
regime dissolved after the 1989 coup--to defend its human 
rights record.  This organization has yet to criticize the 
Government.  In an attempt to demonstrate the regime's concern 
for human rights, the TNA adopted in 1993 the "Sudan Document 
of Human Rights" and created a Human Rights Committee.  The 
latter, however, has been no more critical of government human 
rights abuses than has the SHRO.

The Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference (SCBC) and the Sudan 
Council of Churches (SCC) continued to seek to monitor and 
publicize human rights abuses, especially those involving 
religious discrimination.

The Government was highly defensive about foreign criticism of 
its human rights record.  It vehemently attacked Amnesty 
International for criticizing Sudan's human rights record.  In 
September the Government allowed Gaspar Biro, the U.N.'s 
Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan, to visit the 
country.  Although Biro was able to travel to some sensitive 
areas, including the Nuba mountains, the Government tried to 
restrict his access to dissidents.  It arrested several persons 
for meeting or trying to meet with him--including several 
spouses of political prisoners.  The police clubbed and 
arrested the women as they assembled peacefully in front of the 
U.N. offices in Khartoum where Biro was working.  The 
Government subsequently accused Biro and the U.N. Human Rights 
Commission of being biased against Sudan.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

     Women

Sudanese laws and traditions favor men over women, and women 
traditionally have been relegated to segregated roles.  Islamic 
laws of inheritance award additional property to men, while 
assigning them the duty of caring for their extended families.  
Under traditional Shari'a law, a woman inherits half as much of 
the estate as a man with the same degree of kinship.  
Discrimination against women in professional positions 
continued to increase in 1993.

Though there are no women in the highest ranks of government, 
women in lesser positions play a modest role in day-to-day 
government operations.  The TNA included some women members.  
The NIF did not, however, encourage women's involvement in 
politics, viewing this as contradicting their traditional 
role.  Education was open to both sexes, and many women 
obtained university training.  Women, however, traditionally 
receive less education and have fewer opportunities than men.  
Small numbers of women were found in the professions, the 
police, and the military.  They also formed sexually segregated 
units within the PDF.

Since 1991, government directives require that women working in 
government offices and female students and teachers conform to 
Islamic dress codes.  This is defined as nondecorative, 
"modest" clothing covering the entire body except for the face, 
hands, and feet.  The Government enforces the new regulations, 
particularly in the schools and other public institutions.  On 
New Year's Eve several Muslim women were arrested and lashed 
for wearing clothing that did not conform with the Government's 
version of modest dress.

Violence against women appears to be common although accurate 
statistics do not exist.  Wife beating reportedly is common.  
The Government did not address the issue of domestic violence 
against women; nor was it discussed publicly.  The police do 
not normally intervene in domestic disputes, and there were no 
reports of court cases involving violence against women in 
1993.  For a variety of cultural reasons, many women are 
reluctant to file formal complaints against such abuse.  Women 
refugees were particularly vulnerable to harassment and sexual 
abuse.

Among some southern tribes, rape is common.  No blame attached 
to the practice, although the man involved must pay the woman's 
family if she becomes pregnant.  Among some ethnic groups, 
wives are taken on a trial basis lasting up 4 years.  The 
husband may dissolve the marriage during this period by 
returning the wife to her family, although he must pay a price 
for each child born during this time.  Such wives reportedly 
are able to contract further marriages and are not stigmatized 
by having been returned.

     Children

The Government demonstrated no significant concern for the 
rights and welfare of children.  A considerable number of 
children suffered serious abuses, including occasional 
enslavement, in the war zones.

Female genital mutilation (circumcision) remains common in 
Sudan.  Reports indicated that the practice, though illegal, is 
widespread, especially in the north.  Some reports suggest that 
over 90 percent of northern Sudanese females have been so 
mutilated, with consequences that sometimes has included severe 
urinary problems, infections, and even death.

The so-called Pharaonic mutilation (infibulation), the severest 
of the three types, is the most common and is usually performed 
on girls between the ages of 4 and 7 years.  Because few 
physicians will perform the operation, it is most often done by 
paramedical personnel in improvised, unsanitary conditions, 
with severe pain and trauma to the child.  Southern women 
displaced to the north reportedly are increasingly imposing 
circumcision upon their daughters, even if they themselves have 
not been subjected to it.

The Government's Administration for the Rehabilitation of 
Street Children runs several camps near Khartoum and other 
cities for children who are found living in the streets.  The 
management of several of these camps is entrusted to an Islamic 
NGO.  Children in the camps may not leave without permission, 
and undergo a militarized regimen that includes strict 
discipline and physical and military exercises.  Health care 
and schooling in the camps is reportedly poor.  All the inmates 
must study the Koran, although there is reason to believe that 
a number of them are not Muslims.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Sudan's population of 24.9 million (1993 census) is a 
multiethnic mix of over 500 Arab and African tribes, with 
scores of languages and dialects.  There are primarily two 
cultures in Sudan:  the Arab, Muslim culture in the north and 
central areas and the non-Muslim, black African culture in the 
south.  The west has a smaller population of Muslim black 
Africans.  Northern Muslims, who form a majority of about 16 
million, have traditionally dominated the Government.  Most 
southern ethnic groups want independence, or, at a minimum, the 
right to self-determination.

The NIF-dominated regime pursued religious, ethnic, and 
ideological discrimination in almost every aspect of society.  
The Muslim Arab majority in the north practiced widespread 
discrimination against the several million displaced non-Arabs 
from the south.  Residents in Arabic-speaking areas who do not 
themselves speak Arabic are discriminated against in education, 
jobs, and other opportunities.

The Arabization of instruction in higher education 
discriminates against non-Arabs.  To compete for study at a 
university, students completing high school must pass 
examinations in four subjects:  English, mathematics, Arabic, 
and religious studies.  The examinations for all the subjects 
except English are given in Arabic, disadvantaging those whose 
native tongue is not Arabic.  As the entire university 
curriculum is now in Arabic, this disadvantage continues 
throughout higher education.  Widespread popular attitudes in 
northern areas stereotype darker-skinned non-Arabs as inferior 
and lazy.

     Religious Minorities

In government-controlled areas of the south, there was evidence 
of a policy of Islamization, as non-Muslim civil servants were 
often replaced by NIF supporters.  In the north, some 
non-Muslims lost their jobs in the civil service, the 
judiciary, and other professions.  Copts noted that whereas a 
decade or two ago they were well-represented in key professions 
like banking, in recent years the Government has hired no Copts 
for such jobs.  In 1993 few non-Muslim university graduates 
found government jobs at all.  Frequent dismissals in the 
police and army purged professionals to make room for NIF 
supporters.  Businesses owned and operated by non-Muslims 
experienced overt discrimination, such as denial of trading 
licenses, or petty harassment.

The Khartoum State government decreed in 1993 that women could 
not enter official buildings unless their dress met Islamic 
standards of modesty.  All Sudanese public school girls, 
regardless of faith, must wear Islamic-style uniforms and 
scarves.  In 1993 the State of Khartoum also put pressure on 
local private Christian schools in an attempt to make their 
female students wear scarves.


Although Sudanese law recognizes Sudan as a multireligious 
country, official tolerance of non-Muslims remained low in 
1993.  Muslims are in the majority in Sudan and predominate in 
the north, but they are in the minority in the mostly Christian 
or animist south.  There are also 1 to 2 million or more 
displaced southerners, mostly Christians or animists, and about 
half a million Christian Copts in the north.  The Government 
holds that Islam, the dominant faith, must inspire the state's 
laws, institutions, and policies.  The Government, however, 
states that other religions should be respected and freedom of 
worship guaranteed.  Seeking to demonstrate a commitment to 
freedom of religion, the Government invited the Pope to visit 
Sudan, which he did for a day in February.  Yet, despite 
official statements about tolerance, many non-Muslims faced 
various restrictions on their freedom to practice their 
religion.

     People with Disabilities

The Government has not enacted any special legislation or taken 
other steps to mandate accessibility to public buildings for 
the disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Although Sudan had a strong labor union movement during the 
Government of Sadiq al-Mahdi, the RCC abolished the precoup 
labor unions and forbade strikes.  Stiff punishments, including 
the death penalty, were prescribed for violations of labor 
decrees.  Government officials condemned--usually 
falsely--union activists as "Communists."  Many labor leaders 
were dismissed from their jobs or detained, although most of 
those arrested were later freed.  In 1993, however, the 
Government detained scores of union activists suspected of 
antiregime activities.  In May the International Labor 
Organization (ILO) Committee on Freedom of Association deplored 
the Government's detention of four trade unionists and its lack 
of response to allegations of torture against three of them.

In September 1989, the regime established preliminary, 
government-controlled steering committees to manage union 
affairs, pending the drafting of new laws on union 
organization.  The Sudan Workers Trade Unions Federation 
(SWTUF), the leading blue-collar labor organization, with about 
800,000 members, was restored with its leadership unchanged and 
its assets returned, but under tight government steering 
committee control.  Besides SWTUF, there was a Professional and 
Employees' Trade Union Federation.

The Government established further steering committees in 
1990.  A new labor law went into effect in 1992, and union 
elections at the local level took place that year, after a 
delay to permit the steering committees to arrange the 
outcomes.  The elections resulted in government-approved slates 
of candidates voted into office by prearranged acclamation.

The Government continued to forbid strikes, and there were none 
in 1993.  Unions remained free to form federations and 
affiliate with international bodies, such as the African 
Workers' Union and the Arab Workers' Union.

The U.S. Government in 1991 suspended Sudan's eligibility for 
trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences 
because of its violations of worker rights.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

An RCC constitutional decree of June 30, 1989, suspended the 
right to organize and bargain collectively.  These rights were 
restored to organizing committees in September of the same 
year.  However, government control of the steering committees 
and the continued absence of labor legislation allowing union 
meetings, filing of grievances, and other union activity 
greatly reduced the value of these rights.  Although local 
union officials raised some grievances with employers, few 
carried them to the Government.  No collective bargaining takes 
place in practice.  Wages are set by a government-appointed and 
-controlled wage council which includes representatives from 
the Ministries of Labor and Finance, the private sector, and 
the trade unions.

The Government announced in 1993 the creation of two export 
processing zones on the Red Sea coast.  At year's end, however, 
it was unclear whether or not Sudanese labor laws would apply 
fully in these zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Sudanese law prohibits forced or compulsory labor.  
Nonetheless, slavery has persisted in Sudan.  The taking of 
slaves, particularly in war zones, and their export to parts of 
central and northern Sudan were recurrent practices in 1993.  
The captives were forced to do agricultural and domestic work, 
and some women were made to serve as concubines.  Although in 
some cases local authorities took action to stop instances of 
slavery, in others the authorities chose to look the other 
way.  There were a number of unverified reports that some 
captives were being exported to Libya.  The International Labor 
Organization (ILO), in its 1993 World Labor Report, noted that 
traditional slavery survived in modern-day Sudan and "even 
seemed to be on the increase" in the context of the ongoing 
civil war.  Also in 1993, the ILO's Committee of Experts on the 
Application of Conventions and Recommendations expressed regret 
that the Government of Sudan had failed to provide its report 
responding to allegations of slavery.  The annual ILO 
conference in June therefore cited Sudan for the third time in 
a "special paragraph," its severest form of criticism.

The SPLA often continued to force southern men to work as 
laborers or porters or forcibly conscripted them into SPLA 
ranks.  In disputed territories, this practice was implemented 
through raids, while in areas firmly under SPLA control it was 
done through the SPLA-appointed village leaders.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The legal minimum age for workers is 16, but the law is loosely 
enforced by inspectors from the Ministry of Labor in the 
official or wage economy.  In addition, gross poverty in Sudan 
has produced widespread child labor in the informal, 
unregulated economy.  In rural areas, children traditionally 
assist their families with agricultural work from a very young 
age.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The legislated minimum wage is enforced by the Ministry of 
Labor, which maintains field offices in most major Sudanese 
urban centers.  Employers generally respect the minimum wage.  
Workers who are denied the minimum wage may file a grievance 
with the local Ministry of Labor field office, which is then 
supposed to investigate and take appropriate action if there 
has been a violation of the law.  In late 1993, the Government 
increased the minimum wage to approximately $15 (4,900 Sudanese 
pounds) per month.  Given Sudan's soaring inflation, however, 
living standards for the average Sudanese worker continued to 
deteriorate.  Conservative estimates by nongovernmental 
institutions estimate that in a major urban center, a Sudanese 
family of 4 required by the end of 1993 at least $36 (12,000 
pounds) per month to meet its most basic needs.

The workweek is limited by law to 6 days and 48 hours, with a 
day of rest on Friday.  Although Sudanese laws prescribe health 
and safety standards, working conditions were generally poor 
and enforcement by the Ministry of Labor minimal.


[end of document]

flag
bar

Department Seal

Return to 1993 Human Rights Practices report home page.
Return to DOSFAN home page.
This is an official U.S. Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.