News / Africa

NGO Accuses Sudan of Silencing Independent Voices

TEXT SIZE - +
James Butty
An official of a Sudanese independent civil society organization has said his group will use legal means, including protest, to force the government to halt attacks on non-governmental organizations, or NGOs.  

Khartoum shut down four rights groups last month and revoked the registration of the Al-Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment and Human Development, or KACE. 

A ruling party official reportedly said that NGOs are free to operate, as long as they do not follow a “political agenda.”  

Al-Baqir Mukhtar, director of KACE, said his group filed a legal petition Wednesday with the Sudan Human Rights Commission because all independent civil society groups in Sudan feel they are under attack.  

Mukhtar said the government shut down his organization without prior notice.

“On the 31st of December, at about mid-day, a delegation of people from the Humanitarian Affairs [Aid] Commission, known also as HAC, without any prior notice, wanted to see me, and when I received them, they immediately showed me a letter.  The letter simply said that the head of the national NGO within the commission decided to cancel your registration as an organization and to strike you off the register of organizations that are allowed to work in Sudan,” he said.

Mukhtar said the officials also asked him to surrender the keys to his office along with all equipment without giving any reason for their action.  He said his office is now being guarded by security personnel from the national intelligence agency.

Butty interview with Mukhtar
Butty interview with Mukhtari
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Mukhtar said he is not allowed to enter his office unless accompanied by officials from the Humanitarian Affairs Aid Commission.  He said the government’s action is part of a plan to silence independent voices.

“They don’t want anybody who will find a venue and the forum to tell truth to power.  The civil society is the only body that is doing this job because the media is totally under the control of the government,” Mukhtar said.

Mukhtar said another reason for crackdown is the government’s view that such civil society groups are a voice of the West.

He denied claims by the government that independent NGOs have a “political agenda.”

“We don’t follow any political agenda.  If you speak about democracy, if you speak about peace, is that political agenda?  We are civil society.  We speak about cultural reforms; we speak about educational reform; we speak about peace through non-violence.  If they consider this political, then they are wrong,” Mukhtar said.

Mukhtar said the government allegation that KACE has been receiving foreign donations without permission was made without clarity.

“The government said that, but the government does not give any guideline as to how you get this approval.  Is it before we apply for the funds, or is it after we applied and get the approval from the donor?” Mukhtar said.

He said civil society groups filed a lawsuit in 2006 against the government’s demand for approval before receiving any foreign donations, and that the suit has yet to be decided.

Mukhtar said top Sudanese lawyers have offered their services to KACE to challenge the government’s decision to revoke the group’s registration as an NGO.

“All the top lawyers of Sudan came to our support, and they already prepared the petition and they handed it this [Wednesday] morning to the commissioner.  So, we are going to follow the legal path until the constitutional court and, at the same time, we are going to campaign against this by a series of protests, memos and sit-ins until this decision is changed,” Mukhtar said.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid