By Jahna Paige, Development Intern at DWAG
In commemoration of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we would like to bring to your attention the unimaginable act of torture perpetrated against Darfuri by the Islamic fundamentalist regime in Khartoum. Standing in solidarity and speaking up for these innocent people who have been targeted because of who they are or for standing up for themselves and defending the rights of others.
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5)
“In their minds, often an ‘African’ Sudanese is a second class citizen. He has no rights. And when he has no rights, his torture becomes lawful”.
Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) systematically employs horrendous methods of torture including, but not limited to, beatings and whippings, sexual harassment and violence (rape, injections into male genitals), and electrical shocks. Many victims, including human rights defenders and university students have died while in detention and those who have been lucky to be released suffer from chronic trauma, and in some instances lose their memory.
Stories from the Ghost House
“They came to get me at night when the power was off in the area, and made sure not to be identified by my family. I was taken to the infamous security offices in north Nyala, which is known as one of the worst Ghost Houses in Darfur. The torture was severe and took many different ways such as beating, flogging, stress positions, electric shocks, etc. However, the worst method was when they ordered me to walk barefoot on broken glass and when I resisted I was electrified and fell on it. I still carry the scars from that horrific experience.”
-Ibrahim Abbaker, age 29, an Electric Engineer from Nyala, Darfur
“I was subjected to horrendous methods of torture including sexual torture as one of more than 30 different methods introduced by the Islamist regime. While my colleagues and I were suffering the worst types of torture, the head of the regime announced in a televised speech that, ‘the talk about torture and Ghost Houses is just a nonsense and not true.’ I along with 170 detainees, was being tortured at that moment. The guards mocked us saying, ‘The President gave us free reign because you no longer exist’, as he announced to the world”
-Dr. Mohamed Elgadi
“When they tortured us, they used to play loud music, which we thought was strange since the house was in the middle of nowhere. When I asked about it after my release, someone told me the reason they did it was to make us relive our torture every time we heard music playing”.
While it has been 19 years since the UN first declared June 26 as International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the fact that countless individuals are still being subjected to torture everywhere and every single day is appalling. Sadly, not every country has ratified the Convention against Torture, including Sudan (only a signatory). In attempt to renew focus on torture, two new documents have been adopted: General Comment of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and a resolution on torture. Darfur Women Action Group believes that any form of torture or other cruel treatment is not acceptable.
This week, on this important occasion please take a moment to acknowledge, speak up, and stand in solidarity with those who have suffered considerable amounts of torture and violence. Crimes against humanity occur on a daily basis: help us put an end to these atrocities
We at DWAG will continue to fight to bring to attention the Sudanese regime’s brutality against its own civilians and demand that the international community must hold accountable those who continue to commit this horrific act of horror and bring justice to the victims.