The Darfur Consortium

. . .

International engagement

African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

43rd Session, Ezulwini, Swaziland


43rd Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Ezulwini, Swaziland

22 May 2023

Oral Statement Under Agenda Item 7: Freedom of Expression

Thank you to the Commission for giving us the floor.

The Sudan Organisation Against Torture welcomes the fact that according to the timetable set out in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the civil war in Southern Sudan in 2005, next year Sudan should hold its first democratic national elections for more than two decades.

In order for these elections to be free and fair, however, it is absolutely crucial that freedom of expression should be protected in order to allow an open public debate incorporating a range of political viewpoints.

Unfortunately, over the past three months the Sudanese authorities have launched a harsh crackdown on the media. As a result, the situation of freedom of expression in Sudan is worse now than it has been for several years.

Since early February, security agents have been visiting newspaper offices on a daily basis to check the contents of each edition prior to publication. They have routinely ordered the removal or amendment of articles which diverge from the official line. They have been particularly tough on articles which refer to human rights issues in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan. In some cases, newspapers – including Rai al-Shaab, al-Ayyam, al-Sudani, al-Ahdath and Ajras al-Huriyya – have been prevented from publishing.

Besides direct pre-print censorship, the latest crackdown on the Sudanese media has also involved bureaucratic obstruction and the arrests of at least seven journalists in February in connection with their reporting on personnel changes in the top ranks of the police service.

All of this is in addition to the usual problems faced by Sudanese journalists, including restrictive existing media laws, malicious prosecutions and bans on reporting on certain sensitive subjects.

The Sudan Organisation Against Torture calls upon the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to call upon the Government of Sudan:

- To immediately cease all forms of pre- and post-print censorship
- And to take all necessary steps to guarantee the independence of the media and to expedite the introduction of new media laws in line with international human rights standards and Sudan’s own Interim National Constitution.

Thank you Madam Chair.


For more information please contact:

Sudan Organisation Against Torture
Argo House
Kilburn Park Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7625 8055
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7372 2656
Email: [email protected]






African Voices
Join the Darfur Consortium


Action Professionals Association for the People

Aegis Trust Rwanda

African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies

African Center for Development

African Center for Justice and Peace Studies

Africa Internally Displaced Persons Voice (Africa IDP Voice)

African Security Dialogue and Research (ASDR)

African Women's Development and Communications Network (FEMNET)

The Ahueni Foundation

Alliances for Africa

Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies

Andalus Institute for Tolerance

Anti-Slavery International

Arab Coalition for Darfur

Arab Program for Human Rights Activists

Association Africaine de Defense des Droits de l'Homme (ASADHO)

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE)

Centre for Research Education and Development of Freedom of Expression and Associated Rights (CREDO)

Citizens for Global Solutions

Conscience International

Conseil National Pour les Libertés en Tunisie

Darfur Alert Coalition (DAC)

Darfur Centre for Human Rights and Development

Darfur Leaders Network (DLN)

Darfur Reconciliation and Development Organization (DRDO)

Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre

East Africa Law Society

Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

Femmes Africa Solidarité

La Fédération Internationale des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH)

Forum of African Affairs (FOAA)

Human Rights First

Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA)

Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa

Institute for Security Studies

Inter-African Union for Human Rights (UIDH)


International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya)

International Refugee Rights Initiative

Justice Africa

Justice and Peace Commission

Lawyers for Human Rights

Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections

Legal Resources Consortium-Nigeria

Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l'Homme

Makumira University College, Tumaini University

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)

Minority Rights Group

National Association of Seadogs

Never Again International

Open Society Justice Initiative

Pan-African Movement

Rencontre Africaine Pour la Defense des Droits de l'Homme (RADDHO)

Sierra Leone STAND Chapter

Sisters' Arabic Forum for Human Rights (SAF)

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)

Sudan Organization Against Torture (SOAT)

Syrian Organization for Human Rights

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)

Universal Human Rights Network


Women Initiative Nigeria (WIN)

©2007 Darfur Consortium. Design by Deirdre Reznik