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Rights groups urge Sudan government to end abuse of protesters

Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy websites] came together on Wednesday to urge the Sudanese government [press release] to end the detention and abuse of protesters in Sudan. In a press release, the two groups estimated that Sudanese security forces have detained more than 2,000 peaceful protesters since June. The groups said that the majority of the detainees are being held by the Sudanese National Security Service (NSS), noting a 2010 AI report [text, PDF; JURIST report] documenting widespread abuses within that organization. AI and HRW called on Sudanese authorities to stop arresting peaceful protesters and to immediately end the abuse of detainees, saying "Torture and other ill-treatment are absolutely prohibited under international law." The statement urged Sudan to investigate allegations of excessive force and torture and prosecute those who are found to have participated in these activities.

Government abuses and violent conflict in Sudan have raised international concern recently. The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos on Friday expressed concern [JURIST report] about deteriorating conditions in Sudan due to continued violent conflict in the country. Amos noted a recent increase in Sudanese refugees crossing into neighboring countries because of the conflict. In June UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged Sudan authorities [JURIST report] to take measures to prevent violence against protesters in upcoming demonstrations. Earlier that month AI urged Sudanese authorities to cease violence against protesters and journalists [JURIST report]. The call came after the country's police in Khartoum used tear gas and batons against civilians who protested over austerity cuts.

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