UK-Sudan Solidarity: WLUML Staff Join Women In Black to Protest UK Complicity in Atrocities

3rd September 2015

Staff from WLUML's International Coordination Office in London joined with the Women In Black to hold a vigil drawing attention to the UK government’s complicity in human rights abuses in Sudan, and abuses against women in particular.

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With its recent investment of £2.2m on a training programme called Defence Engagement Sudan, the British government is complicit in the Sudanese forces’ grave human rights abuses including mass rape, ethnic cleansing, and the indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilians.

Women and girls suffer the systematic use of mass rape as a weapon of war.  In October 2014, Sudanese army forces raped 221 women and girls (including very young girls) in Tabit (North Darfur). Authorities detained and tortured residents for speaking about what took place.

For 4 years, the Sudanese government has bombed civilians in the Nuba Mountains. Human Rights Watch has evidence of the use of banned cluster bombs on civilian populations.

Government security forces are violently suppressing dissent, applying harassment and forced disappearances on activists, journalists, and pro-democracy campaigners.  There has been a marked increase in the repression of women’s activism in recent years. This has been felt by many WLUML networkers in Sudan, not least by Salmmah Women's Resource Centre, who were closed by the government without warning in 2014.

A Sudanese human rights lawyer, Ali Agab Nour, is currently making a legal challenge against the UK government, claiming that the decision-making process leading to the provision of military support was unlawful and in breach of the government’s overseas security and justice assistance policy. 

Women’s rights activists from Sudan joined the vigil, and shared information from their experiences to shape the messaging of the vigil and the demands of the petition to the UK government. 

The vigil called on the British government to:

  • Cease all military assistance, training, and funding to Sudan immediately
  • Direct aid funds towards humanitarian assistance
  • Put pressure on the Sudanese government to support existing peace-building initiatives of Sudanese civil society
  • Support Sudanese women’s peace and community organisations and put pressure on the Sudanese government to cease the harassment and intimidation of Sudanese women activists.
  • Ensure women are meaningfully included in all peace negotiations, in line with the Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security.  

Over 200 leaflets were distributed, and many people signed onto the petition.  Members of the public were engaged in discussions about the situation in Sudan, and made commitments to spread the word.

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How can you express solidarity?

  1. Download the leaflet, print it, sign it, and post it to David Cameron!
  2. If you live in the UK, write to your local MP about the issue, asking them to raise it in parliament
  3. Tweet @David_Cameron and @GOVUK asking why they think it is acceptable to assist a regime committing war crimes.  Use this shortened link: