Sudan’s ongoing internet shutdown is a gross violation of human rights and should be lifted immediately, along with stopping ongoing violent attacks against protesters.
Disruptions to access escalated over the past week and the country is now almost entirely cut off from the internet after forces violently attacked and dispersed protesters.
The authorities should immediately restore access to the internet. It is vital for emergency communications, including information from health care providers, and to access other basic information in times of crisis.
“If the Transitional Military Council genuinely intends to restore peace and maintain goodwill with civilian opposition leaders, it should reverse this dangerous shutdown, which puts even more lives at risk,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, acting emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. “These shutdowns blatantly repress the rights of the people the military council claims it wants to have a dialogue with.”
The UN Human Rights Council has unequivocally condemned measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online, in violation of international human rights law, and said that all countries should refrain from and cease such measures. Sit-ins and calls for peaceful civil disobedience do not justify the Transitional Military Council wholesale denial of internet access, Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch has previously called for independent monitoring of the situation in Sudan, including an investigation from the Human Rights Council and an African Union independent inquiry.
Activists began reporting mobile internet disruptions on June 3, 2019, when government forces carried out a bloody, large-scale attack on the sit-in in Khartoum, killing more than 100 people and injuring hundreds more.
The attack followed weeks of growing tensions as negotiations stalled between the military council and opposition groups over the formation of a civilian-led transitional government, following the ouster of former president Omar al-Bashir on April 11. Read more