Human Rights Watch has today released an alarming and disturbing report on the illegal arrests and ill-treatment of detainees in Sudan. Among the victims are some very young women and children. Sudan’s coup forces have unlawfully detained hundreds of protesters since December 2021.

Khartoum 28 April: Sudan’s security forces have unlawfully detained hundreds of protesters since December 2021 and forcibly disappeared scores as part of its broader clampdown on opposition to the October 25 military coup, Human Rights Watch said today.

Read The Report

Security forces have beaten and otherwise ill-treated detained protesters, including stripping child detainees naked and threatening sexual violence against women.

“The ruthless and brutal targeting of protesters is an attempt to instill fear, and has largely evaded international scrutiny,” said Mohamed Osman, Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“For months, security forces have abused and illegally detained hundreds of people, including children, who express their opposition to military rule.”

In early March, the United Nations’ Joint Human Rights Office in Sudan reported that more than 1,000 people were arrested between October 25 and March 3, including 148 children.

Various sections of the security forces, including anti-riot police, Central Reserve Police (CRP), and military units from the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), along with unidentified plainclothes agents, also have carried out arrests.

Security forces’ alleged violence against protesters included sexual abuse and rape threats.

The UN special representative of the secretary general in Sudan reported that as of March 22, 16 women had reported being raped during protests in Khartoum.

Security forces have also ill-treated children including allegedly stripping them naked and partially shaving their heads. Families interviewed said they had been intimidated into dropping possible complaints against the security forces.

The security forces generally detain protesters in police facilities or undisclosed locations before transferring them to prison but without bringing them before a court or a prosecutor, Human Rights Watch found.

Image: Geraint Rowland

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