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Tribute to Osman Hummaida, Sudanese Human Rights Defender

(New York) – Human Rights Watch mourns the loss of Osman Hummaida, a prominent Sudanese human rights activist, who died on April 17, 2014, in Johannesburg, South Africa.  

Born in 1960, Hummaida worked tirelessly promoting human rights and justice in Sudan for more than 25 years. He was among the most influential Sudanese activists on the international arena.

“Osman Hummaida was a trusted mentor and friend, a tireless networker, and a passionate advocate for human rights and justice in Sudan,” said Jehanne Henry, Senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.  “He was an inspiration to generations of young activists in the face of repression and abuse, as well as to the international human rights community.”

His work came at great personal cost. In November 2008, Sudanese authorities detained Hummaida and two other prominent human rights defenders. They tortured him in connection with his work promoting justice and accountability, and accused him of helping the International Criminal Court investigate crimes in Darfur. Far from being defeated, Hummaida continued to work for justice in Sudan from exile.

Previously, in 1990, Hummaida was among hundreds of Sudanese activists imprisoned for their opposition to the policies of the then-ruling National Salvation Front. He spent a year-and-a-half in detention, including in Sudan’s notorious ghost houses.  

Hummaida made invaluable contributions to Sudanese efforts to promote rights and justice throughout his life. He was founder in 1993 of the Sudanese Organization Against Torture (SOAT) and its executive director from 1993 to 2006. He was also a founder in 2009 of the Africa Center for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), an authoritative resource on human rights in Sudan, and its first executive director. 

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