The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Sudan

By Vexen Crabtree 2019


#equality #freedom #human_rights #islam #politics #sudan #tolerance

Republic of the Sudan

[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
Land Area2 376 000km21
Population35.0m (2011)2
Life Expectancy63.73yrs (2017)3
GNI$3 846 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesSD, SDN, 7365
Internet Domain.sd6
CurrencyDinar (SDD)7

Sudan is amongst the very worst places in the world at ensuring any human rights and freedoms, and it has severe cultural issues when it comes to tolerance and equality. Sudan does worse than average in its nominal commitment to Human Rights9. And finally, it falls into the bottom 20 in commentary from Human Rights Watch10, opposing gender inequality11, eliminating modern slavery12, its Global Peace Index rating13, supporting press freedom14, fighting corruption15 and in LGBT equality16. "Sudan´s human rights record continued to be defined by government repression and violations of basic civil and political rights [and] disregard for obligations on civilian protection under international humanitarian law"17. There is no freedom of religion17,18, and religious persecution, based on Islam, occurs at the worst possible rate18; converting from Islam attracts the death penalty.

1. Politics and Freedom

#burundi #corruption #eritrea #france #human_development #human_rights #indonesia #mass_media #peace #politics #slavery #Sudan

In Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, Sudan´s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and other government-aligned forces attacked civilians. Sudan failed to provide accountability for serious crimes committed during the conflicts, or other serious human rights violations.

The national security agency detained student activists, human rights defenders, members of opposition parties and journalists. [...] In December 2016, a British journalist and his Sudanese-American colleague were detained first in Darfur then transferred to Khartoum for almost two months without charge and said they were subjected to beatings, electric shocks, and mock execution. The two entered Darfur to investigate Amnesty International´s allegations of chemical weapons use by the government. [...]

Government security forces used excessive force to break up protests across thecountry [in 2017].

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)17

Oppression and harassment of critics is a long-term feature of the Sudanese government; in 2012 Julian McDougall19 noted that the government set up a fake Facebook group "calling for a protest against the Sudanese government, naming a time and place, and simply arrested all those who attended"20.

Corruption (2012-2016)15
Pos.Higher is better
Avg Score15
2New Zealand90.6
172S. Sudan13.8
175N. Korea08.8
World Avg43.05
Global Peace Index (2012)13
Pos.Lower is better13
2New Zealand1.24
150Central African Rep.2.87
151N. Korea2.93
153Congo, DR3.07
World Avg2.02
Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)10
Pos.Higher is better
117N. Korea-10
World Avg-1.9

Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)9
Pos.Higher is better
3Costa Rica23
126Sri Lanka13
World Avg15.1

Press Freedom (2013)14
Pos.Lower is better14
World Avg3249

The press is not free; authorities prosecute journalists for reports that they don't like, and confiscate newspapers17.

Slavery (2018)12
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims12
156Congo, DR1.37
World Avg0.65

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory21. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends22. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life23. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves24.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery25. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity26. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.27. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi12, Eritrea12, Indonesia28) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery29.

2. Gender Equality

#gender #misogyny #politics #Sudan #women

Gender Inequality (2015)11
Pos.Lower is better11
141Congo, (Brazzaville)0.59
143Papua New Guinea0.59
World Avg0.36

Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

Year Women Can Vote30
Pos.Lower is better
1New Zealand1893
144Equatorial Guinea1963
148Papua New Guinea1964
World Avg1930

Sudan is an unequal country, with male rights dominating those of women.


3. LGBT Equality and Tolerance

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #Sudan #tolerance

LGBT Equality (2017)16
Pos.Higher is better
191Solomon Islands-44
194Saudi Arabia-72
World Avg12.6

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence31. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws32. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries31. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.

4. Sudan Overall National and Social Development

#human_development #Sudan

Social & Moral
Development Index
Pos.Higher is better
187Marshall Islands35.4
190Equatorial Guinea33.5
191Central African Rep.33.3
World Avg53.8

The Social and Moral Development Index concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, public health, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism, and on some technological issues. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life.

5. Freedom of Belief and Religion

#christianity #islam #judaism #south_sudan #sudan

There is no freedom of religion17,18, and religious persecution, based on Islam, occurs at the worst possible rate18; converting from Islam attracts the death penalty34 and blasphemy and "defamation of Islam" are serious crimes34. Marriage and other laws strongly favour Muslims at the expense of others34. No new Christian churches are permitted and officials and security forces are demolishing existing ones17.

As the battles between Christians and Muslims continued to go in the favour of the Muslims, South Sudan broke away from the government in 2011 to form a new country. This has been used to justify a new wave of anti-Christian prejudice and intolerance in Sudan. In 2013, the minister of guidance and endowments stated that there was no longer need for any new churches as Christians can get away to the South17.

In early 2017, officials in Khartoum announced they would demolish at least 27 churches within Khartoum [and] in May, police and other security demolished a church in Soba area of Khartoum following a dispute over land ownership.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)17

When it comes to religious freedom and persecution, sociologists Grim & Finke place Sudan into the worst category, along with just 13 other countries. Severe restrictions on religious freedom and freedom of belief stem simultaneously from top-down pressure from government and institutionalized religion, and from bottom-up grassroots movements that often go even further than the government in harassing those who do not believe the right things (2011)18. The International Humanist and Ethical Union produced a report in 2012 entitled "Freedom of Thought" (2012)34, in which they document bias and prejudice at the national level that is based on religion, belief and/or lack of belief. Their entry for Sudan states:

The interim constitution and other laws and policies provide for some freedom of religion or belief. However, there are Islamic prohibitions against apostasy, blasphemy, and interfaith marriages. The Interim National Constitution enshrines Islamic law as a source of legislation in the country, and the official laws and policies of the government and the ruling National Congress Party favour Islam.

Although there is no legal penalty for converting from another religion to Islam, converting from Islam to another religion or belief is punishable by imprisonment or death. Persons convicted of conversion are given the opportunity to recant their conversion before execution. A Muslim man may marry a Christian or Jewish women, but a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim unless he converts to Islam. The penalty for blasphemy and "defamation" of Islam is up to six months in prison, whipping, and/or a fine.

"Freedom of Thought" by IHEU (2012)34

Current edition: 2019 Jan 01
Parent page: Sudan (Republic of the Sudan)

All #tags used on this page - click for more:

#burundi #christianity #corruption #equality #eritrea #france #freedom #gender #homosexuality #human_development #human_rights #indonesia #intolerance #islam #judaism #mass_media #misogyny #peace #politics #sexuality #slavery #south_sudan #Sudan #tolerance #women

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References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

Casely-Hayford, Gus
(2012) The Lost Kingdoms of Africa. Published by Bantram Press. A hardback book.

Crabtree, Vexen
(2019) "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" (2019). Accessed 2019 Jan 13.

Donnelly, Jack
(2013) Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. 3rd edition. Published by Cornell University Press.

Grim & Finke. Dr Grim is senior researcher in religion and world affairs at the Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C, USA. Finke is Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at the Pennsylvania State University.
(2011) The Price of Freedom Denied. Subtitled: "Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century". Amazon Kindle digital edition. Published by Cambridge University Press, UK. An e-book.

Human Rights Watch
(2018) World Report 2018. Covering the events of 2017.

IHEU. International Humanist and Ethical Union.
(2012) Freedom of Thought. A copy can be found on of Thought 2012.pdf, accessed 2013 Oct 28.

Klein, Naomi
(2004) No Logo. Originally published 2000, HarperCollins, London, UK. A paperback book.

McCall, Andrew
(1979) The Medieval Underworld. 2004 edition. Published by Sutton Publishing. A paperback book.

McDougall, Julian
(2012) Media Studies: The Basics. Published by Routledge, New York, USA. A paperback book.

Thomson, Oliver
(1993) A History of Sin. Published by Canongate Press. A hardback book.

United Nations
(2011) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. This edition had the theme of Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All. Available on UN Development Program: About the Human Development Index.
(2017) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. Data for 2015. Available on

Walk Free Foundation
(2018) Global Slavery Index. Published on


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  2. UN (2011) .^
  3. UN (2017). Table 1.^
  4. UN (2017). Gross National Income, per person. Table 1.^
  5. International Standards Organisation (ISO) standard ISO3166-1, on, accessed 2013 May 01.^
  6. Top level domains (TLDs) are managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) on^
  7. According to ISO4217.^
  8. According to ITU-T.^
  9. Max possible=24. Total amount of treaties ratified. Nominal Commitment to Human Rights report published by UCL School of Public Policy, London, UK, at accessed 2011 Apr 30.^^
  10. Human Rights Watch (2018). Negative and positive comments have been added to create a score for each country covered in the report.^^
  11. UN (2017). Table 5. Lower is better.^^
  12. Walk Free Foundation (2018) .^^
  13. ^^
  14. Reporters Without Borders Report "2013 World Press Freedom Index: Dashed hopes after spring" at accessed 2013 Feb.^^
  15. Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (2017). Accessed 2017 Dec 30. The scores given are the TI average for the years 2012-2016.^^
  16. Sources:^^
  17. Human Rights Watch (2018). p513-518.^^^
  18. Grim & Finke (2011). Chapter 5 "A Closer Look China, India, and Iran" digital location 3560.^^
  19. McDougall (2012) .^
  20. McDougall (2012). p94.^
  21. Thomson (1993). p28.^
  22. McCall (1979). p180.^
  23. Thomson (1993). p166.^
  24. Casely-Hayford (2012). p253.^
  25. Thomson (1993). p31.^
  26. Thomson (1993). p199.^
  27. Thomson (1993). p28-29.^
  28. Klein (2004) .^
  29. Walk Free Foundation (2018). p2.^
  30. "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life: 2.9. Women Stand for Election & Vote" by Vexen Crabtree (2019)^
  31. Donnelly (2013). Chapter 16 "Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p278.^
  32. Donnelly (2013). Chapter 16 "Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p289. According to a 1992 ruling of the Human Rights Committee, which declared that 'it is undisputed that adult consensual sexual activity in private is covered by the concept of privacy' when discussing Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. See Human Rights Committee, Communication 488/1992, paragraph 8.2.^
  33. "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" by Vexen Crabtree (2019)^
  34. IHEU (2012) .^

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