At least seven women human rights defenders and a journalist were apprehended by authorities at a vigil organised by the Sudan Mothers Initiative (SMI) in Ed Damazin’s Blue Nile Region on August 30th. The event, held to commemorate the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances, took an alarming turn as arrests were made.
SMI activist Mona Bella told Radio Dabanga she was summoned to security offices on Wednesday morning, held for the duration of the vigil, and then released, whilst authorities demanded an end to the gathering. She highlighted the arrest of Nahla El-Badri, as well as five other activists, and photographer Musab Rizkallah from the vigil’s location.
Bella states that their organisation stands for the “mothers of martyrs”, missing persons, and prisoners, as well as staunchly opposing the ongoing war, adding that they rejected “the use of sons and daughters as tools of war in Sudan”.
The SMI denounced civilian targeting, home occupation, and bombing. The group also condemned the ongoing damage to infrastructure and service facilities.
The movement urged for dialogue and Sudanese unity, appealing for negotiation to safeguard the nation’s interests.
An advisor to families of missing persons in Sudan, Othman El-Basri, told Radio Dabanga that an estimated 446 missing persons have been reported since the outbreak of war on April 15. Amira Othman, head of the No Oppression of Women Initiative, confirmed that among the missing were 36 women.
El-Basri pointed out a frightening increase in human rights violations and enforced disappearances, and that the lack of internet and electricity in large sectors of the country have distorted the true figures of missing persons.
In a statement by the United Nations, it points out that enforced disappearances have frequently been used as a “strategy to spread terror within society”.
“Enforced disappearance has become a global problem and is not restricted to a specific region of the world. Once largely the product of military dictatorships, enforced disappearances can nowadays be perpetrated in complex situations of internal conflict, especially as a means of political repression of opponents.”, the UN statement read.
Read the full statement here: International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, 30 August
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