SUDAN: Sudan Shuts Women's Rights Centre Without Explanation

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Middle East Online
Eastern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights

Sudanese authorities shut a 17-year-old centre for women's rights without explanation on Tuesday, the centre's director said, despite the government's talk of national dialogue and freedoms.

"They immediately entered and they said: 'Please ask your staff to stop the work'," Fahima Hashim, of Salmmah Women's Resource Centre, said.

"We have just left the office. We closed everything."

The official notice of closure came from Sudan's registrar of companies but Hashim said she believes the order really stems from Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service.

She said she does not know why. "We haven't done anything new."

President Omar al-Bashir appealed in January for a national dialogue and a political and economic "renaissance" aimed at resolving the multiple rebellions wracking the deeply indebted nation.

Bashir's government raised the prospect of greater political freedoms but the closure of the women's centre is the latest in a series of actions that have raised questions about its commitment to reform.

Britain, Norway and the United States said this month that "the government's restriction and increased repression" limits the space for successful dialogue.

Genuine consultation must include civil society and others, Western governments say.

"I don't think there's any national dialogue anyway," Hashim said.