[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Sunday urged Sudan [press release] to end its crackdown against political and cultural groups. In December Sudanese authorities shut down four organizations in Khartoum that promoted cultural diversity, democracy and human rights. The government shut down these groups based on alleged national security concerns. In the press release, HRW's Africa director Daniel Bekele [official profile] declared that the crackdown is detrimental to human rights and does not advance any legitimate governmental purpose:
Sudan should reverse its draconian steps against civil society groups, and international actors should publicly condemn such measures. The government-led campaign against Sudanese civil society organizations seems designed to stifle diversity, human rights, and dialogue on issues of critical importance, rather than to serve any legitimate purpose.HRW also accused Sudan's government of intimidating protesters and stifling freedom of the press.
Sudan's human rights record has been the subject of international scrutiny recently. In October the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] called on Sudanese authorities to investigate an attack on one of its convoys [JURIST report]. In August the OHCHR called on Sudan [JURIST report] to investigate violent and excessive force by the government against protesters. In July Amnesty International [advocacy website] and HRW also urged Sudan [JURIST report] to end violence and abuse against protesters. In June the UN expressed concern [JURIST report] about deteriorating conditions in Sudan due to continued violent conflict in the country. Earlier that month UN Independent Expert on Human Rights in Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin stated the country still must take further steps [JURIST report] towards implementing its human rights obligations.