Five Things To Know About The Crisis In Sudan And How To Help
It's been thirty years in the making.
June 13, 2019 at 5:19 pm
The crisis in Sudan has been gripping the news cycle for over a week. Sifting through the countless articles and videos about the conflict can be overwhelming for even the wokest among us. We decided to do it for you so you can stay informed and hopefully, inform other people.
Here's what you need to know about what's happening in Sudan:
1. The conflict is over Sudan’s post-revolution government.
In April, the Sudanese ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir, who ruled for 30 years. After al-Bashir was arrested, a military assumed power to oversee Sudan’s transition into a democracy, according to CNN. The military’s rule was supposed to last a maximum of two years but the Sudanese are anxious. A group of pro-democracy protestors established a camp and erected barricades in the capital city of Khartoum to push for a civilian-run government. On June 3, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and police officers attacked the camp, resulting in at least 60 deaths and 300 injuries. The death toll rose to 100 after 40 bodies were pulled from the Nile River. The original agreement between the military and civilians was a three-year transitional period but military council leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan wants to hold elections within nine months. He also said he felt “regret” over the violence and said the dead were “martyrs.” Attorney General Maulana Al-Walid Sayed Ahmed Mahmoud announced a committee was formed to investigate the incident.
2. There has been an alarming number of rapes.
In addition to the attack, local doctors claim there have been dozens of rapes since the conflict began, as Blavity previously reported. There were 70 rapes reported according to doctors based in Khartoum. They claim the assaults were committed by members of the RSF. Additionally, two medics were raped at the scene of the attack, reports Jacobin.
Both men and women have been victimized. Doctors at Royal Care hospital treated eight people while two more were treated at another facility. Many of the victims have avoided seeking treatment because they fear retaliation and lack access to quality healthcare.
3. The military government cut internet access to curb protests.
The government began limiting internet and communications access on June 5 by shuttering phone service providers MTN and Mobitel. Eventually, every other mobile phone company was affected. By Monday, Sudan’s internet access was shut down completely. As the Washington Post pointed out, cutting the nation’s internet is expensive since the vast majority of Sudanese don’t have access to the internet. However, the people with access overlaps with those who are protesting so cutting the internet cripples the movement.
“We…struggle with verifying information,” said Mohammed, a protester, according to Open Access Government. “This whole situation now is creating isolated locations where we don’t really know what is happening and what kind of abuses are taking place there.”
UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye believes it is a human rights violation.
“A general network shutdown is in clear violation of international law and cannot be justified by any means,” Kaye said. “Access to information is crucial for the credibility of the ongoing electoral process. Shutdowns are damaging not only for people’s access to information but also for their access to basic services.”
4. The rest of the world wants to step in.
The Sudanese crisis isn’t happening in a vacuum. Several international leaders have criticized the military council’s treatment of civilians. The African Union suspended Sudan’s membership and threatened to institute sanctions if the military doesn’t transfer power to civilians, reports Al Jazeera.
The #AU Peace and Security Council has with immediate effect suspended the participation of the Republic of #Sudan in all #AU activities until the effective establishment of a Civilian-led Transitional Authority, as the only way to allow the Sudan to exit from the current crisis pic.twitter.com/ioBlnfnxcl— African Union Peace (@AU_PSD) June 6, 2019
“Accountability is crucial to avoid further bloodshed,” the UN said in a press release. “We stress the need for a swift transition to a civilian administration.” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the government “condemns the recent attacks on protesters in Sudan." Former U.S. diplomat to Sudan David Shinn said negotiating with Sudan is impossible as long as the violence continues.
"You cannot have successful negotiations between the protest groups and the military so long as the security forces are killing fellow Sudanese,” he said. “This has to stop. Until it does, I don't see any prospect for meaningful negotiations.”
5. You can help the people of Sudan.
The conflict in Sudan is complex but it is easy for you to help the Sudanese, according to Bustle. You can contact your congressperson using ResistBot to urge them to support assistance for the Sudanese. Donating to organizations like UNICEF and Save The Children is another way to make a difference. If you’re skeptical of non-profits, you can donate to GoFundMe and social media campaigns dedicated to the crisis.
Another way to help is spreading information. There’s plenty of media coverage on this issue but it doesn’t have an impact if people are not reading and watching. Share this article and any other relevant pieces on your social media accounts. Talk to your friends and family about Sudan. Use those Twitter fingers for the greater good.