ALN urges al-Bashir government to respect the rights of citizens and media freedom
by Stevens Mokgalapa MP – ALN President
Date: 30 January 2019
The Africa Liberal Network respects the credibility of the reports from Sudan and as such are deeply worried about the economic circumstances perpetuated by al-Bashir’s government. Citizen’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, regardless of their political affiliations are the cornerstone of every responsible government and are a commitment of Sudan to its people, according to their own International treaty.
Protests in Sudan began on December 19 after the government tripled the price of bread. That ire has now spilt onto the streets, with protesters chanting their main slogan: “freedom, peace, justice!”
The protests, called for by professional and opposition groups, are part of a wave of unrest over a failing economy that has transformed into demands for the resignation of the autocratic al-Bashir who has run the country for nearly 30 years but brought little improvement to his people. The Sudanese Professionals Association also pushed for protests in various states and camps for internally displaced people, “to show our people’s rejection of the dictator”, the group said in a statement.
al-Bashir visited Kadugli a day after protest movements called for demonstrations in the three states, following weeks of anti-government rallies in other parts of Sudan.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Monday 28 January extended ceasefires in two conflict-hit states, official media reported, where protest leaders have pushed for anti-government rallies. The president extended the ceasefires for South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the official SUNA news agency reported, while no announcement was made for Darfur. This information has also been verified by our member party in Sudan, confirming the violence and arrest of political activists and opposition leaders.
Officials say 30 people have died in protest-related violence since the demonstrations began, while rights groups say more than 40 people have been killed.
al-Bashir has been charged by the Hague-based International Criminal Court for alleged genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Sudanese state security has in the meantime arrested 6 journalists covering protest marches calling on President Omar al-Bashir to resign.
The arrest by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) came after al-Bashir’s meeting with Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, where al-Bashir blamed the media for allegedly exaggerating the size of the protest marches.
al-Bashir beleaguered government has also revoked the credentials of at least 6 journalists working for international news outlets since the protests began.
The government crackdown has been harsh over the past month, with rights advocates reporting the use of excessive force by police and Amnesty International accusing security forces of firing tear gas and live ammunition in and around hospitals. At least 40 people have been killed in the clashes, according to rights groups, but the government has acknowledged only 24 deaths.
We urge al-Bashir’s government to respect the rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly, to release all journalists, political opposition leaders, activists, and any other protestors arbitrarily detained. We also call on the international community, in particular the UN Security Council to intervene and ensure an independent and transparent investigation into the deaths of all protesters.
As the Africa Liberal Network we support our local member party Sudan Liberal Party and commends its efforts towards fighting for individual rights, democracy & liberal values.
Stevens Mokgalapa MP
President, Africa Liberal Network