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Women and children displaced by attacks of the Sudanese government Rapid Support Forces outside caves in rebel-controlled territory in Jebel Marra, Darfur, March 2, 2014.  © 2015 Adriane Ohanesian


On January 13, 2017, US President Barack Obama issued a presidential executive order that suspended the United States’ comprehensive economic sanctions on Sudan in response to “sustained progress” on several fronts.

However, the order did not identify clear benchmarks for progress or explicitly require improvements to the human rights situation before making the suspension permanent. This is a remarkable oversight considering that human rights concerns were among the factors driving the imposition of sanctions for the last 20 years.

While there may be good reasons to suspend comprehensive economic sanctions, the decision to do so permanently or not should be measured, and reached only after due regard to Sudan’s respect for key and fundamental human rights obligations.  The executive order states that within six months, or by July 2017, the sanctions revocation becomes permanent if Sudan continues to show progress. Yet six months is not sufficient to determine Sudan’s progress on the criteria mentioned in the order, or on improvements to deeper human rights problems.

Sudan has for decades carried out massive and systemic violations of human rights and humanitarian law. After the current government seized power in a military coup in 1989, the US pursued a policy of isolation, in part in response to Sudan’s human rights violations. In 1997, it imposed broad economic sanctions, citing massive human rights abuses committed during the 22-year civil war in the South.  A decade later it imposed additional sanctions, including targeted ones against individuals, for atrocities in Darfur.

The human rights situation has not improved. Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and aligned forces, notably the newly created Rapid Support Forces, have continued to attack civilians in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile with utter impunity.  National security agents engage in entrenched patterns of repression, targeting civil society leaders, human rights activists, and students for harassment, arbitrary detentions, and torture; restricting civil society organizations and independent media; and using lethal force to disperse protesters, killing hundreds in broad daylight.

Given Sudan’s long, violent, and extensively documented record of abuses against civilians, any assessment of “progress” needs to include an assessment of human rights improvements too. US engagement with Sudan and further normalization of relations should be contingent on meaningful and lasting human rights improvements. These benchmarks for human rights improvements are necessarily broad and informed by international norms, and include:

  1. Respect for the right to life, including ending attacks on civilians and indiscriminate bombing;
  2. Steps toward accountability for the gravest crimes;
  3. Unimpeded humanitarian access to conflict-affected areas;
  4. Releasing arbitrarily held detainees;
  5. Ending excessive force against peaceful protesters;
  6. Greater respect for freedoms of assembly, association, and expression;
  7. Allowing human rights monitoring and cooperation with international institutions;
  8. Carrying out essential reforms to the National Security Act and other key legislation. 

Human Rights Watch believes the US government should: defer evaluation of Sudan’s progress to a later date, and continue to monitor the broader set of human rights benchmarks; revise and update its Sudan sanctions policy; enforce and impose additional individual targeted sanctions against those deemed responsible for serious abuses; consider new individual sanctions in light of evidence that has surfaced in recent years; and appoint a special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan,as under the two previous administrations.

I.   Background

Civil Wars and Political Repression

Violence and political repression have marred much of the last three decades in Sudan.  After seizing power by military coup in 1989, the National Islamic Front (NIF) embarked on comprehensive purges of the judiciary, civil service, army, and security forces; banned all political parties, cultural, and social associations; and imposed a countrywide state of emergency.[1] Led by Hassan al-Turabi, the NIF espoused a strict Islamist ideology, and was known for highly repressive tactics, including torture and arbitrary detentions in secret, illegal security-run prisons knowns as “ghost houses.”[2]

Under this government, Sudan continued its extremely abusive civil war, ongoing since 1983, against Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) rebels in Southern Sudan and in the Nuba mountains region of Southern Kordofan.  Government forces and allied militia committed crimes on a massive scale during two decades of war, playing on ethnic divisions and pitting southerners against each other. More than 2 million civilians died, and more than 4 million were displaced internally and to neighboring countries.

By 2002, internationally-brokered peace talks, hosted by Kenya, led to several important agreements, including a ceasefire in the Nuba Mountains and agreement to cease attacking civilians, followed by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. The government and SPLM/A agreed to a six-year transitional period during which a national unity government would implement the peace deal. By 2011, southerners would vote in a referendum for or against independence.

Fighters of the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces in captured vehicles celebrate a victory against the rebel Justice and Equality Movement, Goz Dango, South Darfur, April 28, 2015.  © 2015 Reuters

The CPA did not address the crisis in Darfur, where starting in 2003 the Sudanese government and allied militias committed crimes against humanity and war crimes, including sexual violence, as part of its counterinsurgency campaign. The United Nations

estimates that at least 300,000 people were killed in attacks or died of conflict-induced starvation and disease, and more than 2 million people were forced to flee to refugee or internally displaced persons’ camps.[3] The government and rebel groups peace deals did not hold, and conflict between their forces continued alongside inter-communal fighting.

Meanwhile, the parties to the CPA made little progress implementing the agreement, especially pertaining to the arrangements for the border states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and Abyei, the oil-rich region straddling the north-south divide. The delays fueled tensions and sparked clashes between northern and southern forces at Abyei in 2008: SAF soldiers killed civilians and extensively looted and destroyed homes in the town.[4] 

In Southern Kordofan in June 2011, fighting resumed between SAF and former SPLM rebels from the area, now known as SPLM/A-North, and spread to Blue Nile by September. In both states, government forces used abusive tactics, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee to other parts of Sudan or to refugee camps in South Sudan and Ethiopia.[5]

Following South Sudan’s independence, Sudan’s government stripped southerners of citizenship, and conflict-related abuses and political repression continued. Sudan has responded violently to growing civil unrest, often triggered by austerity measures amid worsening economic conditions. It has further empowered the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), and bolstered the army via the creation of the Rapid Support Forces, composed of former militia from Darfur, to conduct highly abusive operations.

International Isolation

Sudan’s international reputation deteriorated after the 1989 coup. NIF’s violent repression of dissent and brutal tactics in the long-running civil war, including abduction and slavery, earned wide condemnation. So did support for Islamic jihadist movements, known terrorists such as Osama bin Laden and Carlos the Jackal, its role in the failed 1995 assassination of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, and links to the Lord’s Resistance Army.[6]  During these years, the United States, United Nations, and European Union imposed various sanctions

1993: Clinton administration isolates the hardline government by vetoing international lending, puts Sudan on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

1994: EU follows, imposes arms embargo in response to civil war abuses.[7]  

1996: UN passes a resolution condemning Sudan for refusing to extradite a suspect in the attack on Mubarak, urges countries to limit interactions and entry to Sudanese officials. [8] US closes its embassy in Khartoum.

1997: US imposes a comprehensive economic embargo in response to “support for international terrorism, efforts to destabilize neighboring governments, and the prevalence of human rights violations including slavery and the denial of religious freedom.”[9] The embargo prohibits most business and financial transactions.

1998: US-Sudan relations reach all-time low when, after Al-Qaeda attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, US bombs Sudan’s al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant that it suspects of involvement with the alleged embassy bombers and chemical weapons.[10]

2001-2005:  Bush administration continues isolation policy, intensifies civil war mediation. Some groups lobby successfully for Western oil companies to divest in Sudan.[11] 

2003-2004: Darfur conflict begins in February 2003, continues despite African Union-brokered humanitarian ceasefire deals. By September 2004, Secretary of State Colin Powell says US government believes a genocide has occurred.[12] UN appoints commission of inquiry; finds grave violations of international human rights, humanitarian law.[13]

2005: UN imposes arms embargo on Darfur and individual sanctions on several individuals believed responsible for atrocities.[14] In an unprecedented step, in March 2005 the Security Council refers the situation to the International Criminal Court. It brings charges including of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against President al-Bashir, among others.[15]

2006: US imposes additional sanctions against individuals deemed responsible for crimes in Darfur.[16]

The EU still retains its arms embargo on Sudan and incorporates the UN’s sanctions on Darfur. Its member states implement these bilaterally, but are not precluded from doing business in Sudan.[17]  The African Union, like the UN, has played a key role in responding to Sudan’s crises through mediation, monitoring, and peacekeeping, but has not imposed sanctions.  Several of its member states, primarily Sudan’s neighbors, have had troubled relations with Sudan at various times. During its international isolation, Sudan pursued economic, political, and military trade with allies including Iran, Iraq, China, former Soviet republics, India, and Malaysia.[18]  

Shift Towards Engagement

In a significant about-face in 2015, Sudan expelled several Iranian groups from Khartoum and joined Saudi Arabia’s military operations in Yemen. The United Arab Emirates has provided large loans, and Saudi Arabian businesses have around US$15 million in investments in Sudan.[19] In 2016, Sudan severed diplomatic relations with Iran.[20]   

Sudan has persistently lobbied the US to roll back sanctions, which after renewed diplomatic talks in 2016 resulted in President Obama’s decision to reverse the two-decade policy of comprehensive economic sanctions in January 2017.[21] According to a US Treasury statement, the decision was “the result of sustained progress by the Government of Sudan on several fronts,” including “a marked reduction in offensive military activity, a pledge to maintain a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas in Sudan, steps toward improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism and addressing regional conflicts.”[22]

At the same time, Sudan also embarked on new engagements with the EU, which launched a regional program for migration management in sub-Saharan Africa in 2014 via bilateral partnerships with African states and regional projects under the Khartoum Process.[23] In 2016, the EU announced €100 million (approximately $106 million) to Sudan in a “special support measure.”[24]

EU officials now refer publicly to Sudan as a “partner” nation and have highlighted debt relief as a key incentive to offer in exchange for further cooperation.[25] While additional funding has yet to be disbursed, civil society has criticized the EU project for de-prioritizing human rights in favor of meeting migration targets.[26] In recent months, it appears to have emboldened the government’s most abusive actors.[27]

II.      Missing Human Rights Benchmarks

Then-President Obama’s January 13, 2017 order states that permanent revocation of the economic sanctions is conditional on Sudan continuing to display “positive action” on several fronts, but the order lacks any benchmarks or guidance for how the State Department and other agencies should assess Sudan’s progress. Critically, it lacks reference to the need for human rights improvements. The following list of eight benchmarks suggest key areas for improvements and some steps Sudanese authorities could take in each, but is by no means exhaustive.

1. Respect for the Right to Life by Ending Attacks on Civilians and Indiscriminate Bombing

Sudan should cease all unlawful attacks on civilians, and permit independent monitoring and reporting by relevant agencies, including international human rights organizations and independent media.

Sudanese forces have a long record of committing serious violations of the laws of war -- war crimes -- and crimes against humanity during the civil war in southern Sudan, and in conflicts in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile. Government forces and allied militias have been responsible for killings, rape and sexual violence, and looting and destruction on a massive scale during ground operations. They have also bombed and shelled indiscriminately in civilian areas, especially in rebel-held territories, and targeted clinics and markets in bombing campaigns.

During government offensives in Darfur in 2014-2015, the Rapid Support Forces led massive attacks on hundreds of villages, burning and destroying homes, and committing serious abuses, including rape and killings that may be crimes against humanity.[28] Government forces also launched a major offensive with ground and air forces on Jebel Mara in 2016, destroying hundreds of villages and displacing up to 195,000 people.[29] Amnesty International reported on allegations of chemical weapons use during the offensive.[30]

In Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, attacks since 2011 have killed and maimed hundreds of civilians, damaged dozens of schools and clinics, and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. In 2016 alone, the government dropped hundreds of bombs that killed at least 45 people in the Nuba mountains, including six children in Heiban on May 1.[31]

In June 2016, the government declared a unilateral ceasefire in Southern Kordofan, which it extended to the end of June 2017 and to all the conflicts. There has been a reduction in clashes and attacks on civilians. But in December 2016, local monitors reported new clashes and government bombing in Nuba Mountains, and in early 2017 media reported government and militia attacks on civilians in the Jebel Mara region of Darfur.[32]  

2. Steps toward Accountability for the Gravest Crimes

Sudan should take steps to cooperate with the ICC, including through the surrender of suspects, and make efforts to genuinely investigate and prosecute those responsible for human rights abuses in conflict and non-conflict settings.

To date, the government has failed to implement key recommendations from the Human Rights Council’s 2007 Group of Experts’ report on Darfur, and its Universal Periodic Reviews (UPRs).[33] Its efforts to prosecute crimes in Darfur and elsewhere have fallen short.[34]  Since 2011, the government has made no tangible progress in providing accountability for crimes committed in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, including the killing of peaceful protesters, ill-treatment and torture of detainees, and other serious abuses.

Sudan continues to refuse any form of cooperation with the only meaningful route at present to criminal accountability for grave crimes committed in Darfur, the International Criminal Court, which has brought charges against al-Bashir and six other individuals for atrocities in Darfur.[35] Suspects are charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur, and remain fugitives from the court.

 3. Allow Sustained, Unimpeded Humanitarian Access to All Conflict-Affected Areas

Sudan should grant sustained and unimpeded access to all conflict locations in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile and allow independent impartial humanitarian organizations to operate without arbitrary restrictions and onerous bureaucratic requirements. 

The Sudanese government has used a wide range of strategies to delay, limit, and deny access by humanitarian agencies to civilians in need of assistance during the civil war in the south, as well as in Darfur. These include flight bans; denials or massive delays in the processing of travel permits; limitations on the numbers of staff and expulsions of aid officials; and unnecessarily bureaucratic or arbitrary procedures for importing and transporting relief materials. In past decades, these policies have indirectly contributed to the deaths of tens of thousands of people from famine and diseases.[36]

In Darfur, access has been particularly difficult, especially to conflict-affected areas. In 2009, after the ICC announced charges against President al-Bashir, Sudan expelled 10 international aid groups working there and increased restrictions; authorities have since expelled or forced the departure of other humanitarian aid groups and staff and vowed to nationalize aid delivery.

In Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, Sudan’s government has obstructed access for organizations providing essential humanitarian assistance, including food and medical supplies. Many women and girls in the states have had extremely limited, if any, access to reproductive health care. Sudan has denied humanitarian organizations permission to access rebel-held areas from within Sudan. Both the government and the rebel SPLM-N have failed to agree on modalities for delivering impartial aid.[37]   

In December 2016, the government adopted new  regulations to ease movement by aid groups to non-conflict areas, but continues to restrict movement in conflict zones where humanitarian access counts the most.[38] It has allowed one aid organization to operate in government-controlled parts of Jebel Mara in Darfur, and allowed more UN officials in Kadugli and Damazin, but has not improved access to other key government and rebel areas where they have denied international humanitarian groups access.

4. Release Arbitrarily Held Detainees, and End Torture and Ill-Treatment

The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) regularly detains activists, students, lawyers, doctors, community leaders, human rights defenders, and perceived government critics. It often holds detainees for long periods, without access to a lawyer or family visits.[39]   

Many NISS detention centers are in unmarked homes or offices, reminiscent of the “ghost houses” from the 1990s known for torture and ill-treatment. Detainees are beaten, abused,
and some tortured; some female activists have reported being sexually harassed in detention.[40] To date, no NISS officers have been held accountable for abusing detainees.

Sudanese authorities should release arbitrarily held detainees, including those held for their human rights work or perceived opposition to the government. They should issue clear instructions to national security officials to end all forms of ill-treatment and torture, and investigate any allegations that detainees were abused.  They should also allow independent monitors access to detainees in official and secret detention facilities so that improvements may be observed.

5. End Excessive Force against Peaceful Protesters

Sudanese forces continue to use excessive force—beatings, tear-gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition—to disperse peaceful protests over a range of social grievances. This has resulted in hundreds of deaths and injuries in recent years. In September 2013 alone, more than 170 protesters were killed, mostly by bullets to the head or torso by men believed to be security forces.[41] In 2005, government forces killed 21 protesters in Port Sudan.

Sudan should introduce measures to ensure an end to the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters. Authorities should order security forces to use force only in accordance with UN guidelines and hold to account those responsible for abuse and killings of protesters through impartial investigations and prosecutions in line with international standards.

Sudanese men at the funeral of Salah Sanhouri, 26, who was killed during protests by security forces on September 27, 2013, pray over his body. Protests over subsidy cuts on fuel and food have been taking place across Sudan since September 2013. © 2013 AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

6. Respect for Freedoms of Association and Expression

Authorities restrict civil society by targeting activists who criticize the government or support international justice, and by leveling bogus charges of espionage and crimes against the state against them.[42] These practices should end immediately (as above). 

Sudan also controls civil society through bureaucratic restrictions and oversight, including interference by national security officers in organizations’ work. It has repeatedly blocked individuals’ participation in various international events, including Sudan’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2016 at the UN Human Rights Council.[43]  

Authorities have long restricted media via censorship, confiscations, and harassing, threatening, and detaining journalists. A key test of commitment to improving on these issues will be whether Sudan stops undue interference and harassment of civil society activists and groups, and NISS censorship of media and interference in editorial choices.

7. Allow Human Rights Monitoring, Cooperate with International Bodies and Institutions

A key test will be whether the government facilitates the African Union/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur -- UNAMID’s -- operations, in particular by granting human rights monitors’ access to conflict-affected areas, and responding positively to requests from other international organizations for access to Sudan.

Sudan has routinely denied UNAMID access to conflict-affected areas so they can effectuate their mandate to protect civilians and monitor human rights. It has denied visas to incoming staff, and closed the human rights section’s liaison office in Khartoum; al-Bashir has ordered the mission to adopt an exit strategy.

Authorities have also expelled other UN officials, including in 2016 the top UN humanitarian.[44]  The government also denied or delayed entry to UN special rapporteurs and diplomatic missions and denied entry to international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch. It has refused access for UNAMID or the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to follow up and on allegations by Amnesty International that chemical weapons were used in Darfur.

8. Legislative Reforms

Sudan should take steps to reform its most repressive laws. The National Security Act of 2010 allows national security agents to detain individuals for more than four-and-a-half months without judicial review, well beyond the international standard, which requires detainees be brought promptly before a judicial authority. Even in conflict or a state of emergency, ‘prompt’ should be no more than a matter of days.  A patchwork of immunities in various laws shields security forces from prosecution for human rights violations and all such immunities should be repealed. Immunity for the Rapid Support Forces is particularly problematic in light of their documented record of abuse, including sexual violence.[45]

Public order laws—which proscribe private matters such as clothing choice or keeping company with someone from the opposite sex, and carry penalties of fines and flogging— discriminate against females, particularly those from marginalized and non-Muslim communities, and should be reformed.[46] Penalties of lashing, stoning, and other forms of cruel and unusual punishment that international law prohibits should be repealed. 

Other laws restricting civil society and media freedoms should also be revised in line with international standards. Any new constitution should include full protections for human rights including explicitly women’s rights, and Sudan should ratify key international human rights treaties, including the Convention against Torture, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances.


[1] Human Rights Watch, In the Name of God: Repression Continues in Northern Sudan, vol.6, no.9, November 1994,

[2] Human Rights Watch, Behind the Red Line: Political Repression in Sudan, May 1996,

[3] “Darfur deaths ‘could be 300,000,’” BBC, April 23, 2008,

[4] Human Rights Watch, Sudan- Abandoning Abyei: Destruction and Displacement, May 2008, July 2008,

[5] Human Rights Watch, Under Siege: Indiscriminate Bombing and Abuse in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States, December 2012, 

[6] Human Rights Watch, “Foreign Corporate Complicity, Foreign Government Support,” in Sudan, Oil, and Human Rights (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2003), p. 510.

[7] “EU arms embargo on Sudan,” Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, November 23, 2012,

[8] United Nations Security Council, Resolution 1070 (1996), S/RES/1070 (1996),

[9] United States Executive Order 13067—Blocking Sudanese Government Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Sudan, November 1997,

[10] Sudan called for a UN investigation into the bombing, which the US blocked. Robert O. Collins, A History of Modern Sudan, p. 239; Human Rights Watch, Sudan, Oil, and Human Rights, p. 637-8.

[11] Human Rights Watch, Sudan, Oil, and Human Rights, p. 633

[12] “Powell declares genocide in Sudan,” BBC News, September 9, 2004,

[13] International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General, September 18, 2004,

[14] United Nations Security Council, Resolution 1556 (2004),  S/RES/1556 (2004),; United Nations Security Council, Resolution 1591 (2005), S/RES/1591 (2005),

[15] “Security Council Refers Situation in Darfur, Sudan, to Prosecutor of International Criminal Court,” United Nations Security Council press release, March 31, 2005, SC/8351,

[16] United States Executive Order 13400, Blocking Property of Persons in Connection with the Conflict in Sudan’s Darfur Region, April 26, 2006,

[17] Guidance: Embargoes and sanctions on Sudan, UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and Foreign & Commonwealth Office, The UK has aligned more closely with the US and Norway in the “Troika” group, while Germany and Italy have engaged more with Sudanese government, and France with the opposition, whose leaders often stay there.

[18] Lydia Polgreen, “China, in New Role, Presses Sudan on Darfur,” New York Times, February 23, 2008, (accessed April 21, 2017), (describing Chinese investment).

[19] “Engagement Beyond the Centre: An Inquiry Report on the Future of UK-Sudan Relations,” All Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan and South Sudan, February 2017, p.15

[21] United States Executive Order 13761, Recognizing Positive Actions by the Government of Sudan

and Providing for the Revocation of Certain Sudan-Related Sanctions, January 18, 2017,

[22] “Treasury to Issue General License to Authorize Transactions with Sudan,” US Treasury Department Office of Public Affairs news release, January 13, 2017,

[23] The Khartoum Process, or the EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative, was launched in November 2014 as a forum for political dialog and cooperation between EU member states and several countries from the East and Horn region, including Sudan. See

[24] European Union action document for the special support measure for Sudan,

[25] Joint Commission-EEAS non-paper on enhancing cooperation on migration, mobility and readmission in Sudan, ARES (2016) 1325584, March 16, 2016,

[26] All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan and South Sudan, “Engagement Beyond the Centre: An Inquiry Report on the Future of UK-Sudan Relations,” February 21, 2017, p. 31-32.

[27] The head of the Rapid Support Forces, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, or “Hemeti,” has made public statements suggesting his forces’ operations, including border control and interdictions of migrants near the Libyan border, were done at the behest of the EU. Sudanese authorities have also continued to deport Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees. At the same time, agreements with Italy and Jordan led to the deportation of hundreds of Darfuris to Sudan in 2016. In March 2017, France said it would deport 27 Sudanese [failed] asylum-seekers back to Sudan.

[28] Human Rights Watch, Men With No Mercy: Rapid Support Forces Attacks against Civilians in Darfur, Sudan , September 2015,

[29] Jehanne Henry, “Inaction on Darfur, Again,” Human Rights Watch dispatch, February 17, 2016,; Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Sudan established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005), January 9, 2017,

[30] Amnesty International, Scorched Earth, Poisoned Air: Sudanese Forces Ravage Jebel Mara, September 2017,

[31] Human Rights Watch, World Report chapter 2016, Sudan chapter,

[32] Shangil Tobaya, “Attacks cause new displacement from Darfur’s Jebel Marra,” Dabanga, Febrauary 9, 2017,; “Sudan Insider: More Violence in Darfur, More Ceasefires Breached,” Nuba Reports, January 31, 2017,
; “Sudan Insider: SAF and SPLA-N Trade Ceasefire Breach Accusations,” February 28, 2016,

[33] Human Rights Watch, Ten Steps for Darfur: Indicators for Evaluating Progress in the HRC Group of Experts Process, September 24, 2007,; “Sudanese Government Should Investigate and Prosecute Those Responsible for Human Rights Violations,” Human Rights Watch news release, September 21, 2016,

[34] Human Rights Watch, Lack of Conviction: Special Criminal Court on the Events in Darfur, June 2006,; “No Justice for Protester Killings,” Human Rights Watch news release, September 22, 2016,

[35] International Criminal Court investigation in Darfur, Sudan, One of those cases was closed when the judges did not confirm the charges against him and another has been dropped due to the death of the suspect. 

[36] Human Rights Watch, Darfur: Humanitarian Aid Under Siege, May 2006,; Human Rights Watch, Famine in Sudan, 1998: The Human Rights Causes, (New York: Human Rights Watch: February 1999).

[37] Human Rights Watch, Humanitarian Aid under Siege; Human Rights Watch, Sudan-No Control, No Choice: Obstructions to Reproductive Healthcare in Rebel-held Southern Kordofan, forthcoming.

[38] Ministry of Welfare and Social Security Humanitarian Aid Commission, amended directives, December 15, 2016, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[39] “Sudan: Urgent Concern for Rights Defender on Hunger Strike Over Unlawful Detention,” Human Rights Watch news release, February 14, 2017,

[40] Human Rights Watch, Good Girls Don’t Protest: Repression and Abuse of Women Human Rights Defenders, Activists, and Protesters in Sudan, May 2016,

[41] Human Rights Watch, We Stood, They Opened Fire: Killings and Arrests by Sudan’s Security Forces during the September Protests, April 2014,

[42] “Tracks-affiliated rights defenders sentenced,” African Center for Justice and Peace Studies statement, March 8, 2017,

[43] ”Sudan blocks civil society participation in UN-led human rights review,” joint NGO statement, March 31, 2016,

[44] “Humanitarian official effectively expelled from Sudan, says UN,” Guardian, May 23, 2016,

[45] Human Rights Watch, Men With No Mercy

[46] See the discussion of public order laws in Human Rights Watch, Good Girls Don’t Protest

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