Republic of the Sudan
[Country Profile Page]
|Social and Moral Index||173rd best|
|Land Area||2 376 000km21|
|Life Expectancy||63.73yrs (2017)3|
|GNI||$3 846 (2017)4|
|ISO3166-1 Codes||SD, SDN, 7365|
Sudan is amongst the worst places in the world at ensuring human rights and freedom, and it has severe cultural issues when it comes to tolerance and equality. Sudan does worse than average in terms of its nominal commitment to Human Rights9 and in speed of uptake of HR treaties10. And finally, it sits amongst the bottom 20 in commentary in Human Rights Watch reports11 (amongst the lowest in Africa), opposing gender inequality12, supporting press freedom13 (one of the worst in Africa) and in LGBT equality14 (amongst the lowest in Africa). "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"15. There is no freedom of religion15,16, and religious persecution, based on Islam, occurs at the worst possible rate16; converting from Islam attracts the death penalty.
|Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)17,18|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
|189||Sao Tome & Principe||147.8|
The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Denmark, Sweden and Norway17. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are Tuvalu, The Solomon Islands and Palestine17.
The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice and LGBT equality. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe17, whereas the worst are Micronesia, Melanesia and Australasia17.
“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].”
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.
|Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)11|
|Pos.||Higher is better|
Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.
|Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)9|
|Pos.||Higher is better|
There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.
|HR Treaties Lag (2019)10|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.
|Press Freedom (2013)13|
|Pos.||Lower is better13|
The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted".
It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".
The press is not free; authorities prosecute journalists for reports that they don't like, and confiscate newspapers15.
|Pos.||Lower is better|
The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory22. 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' friends23. 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 life24. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves25.
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 slavery26. 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 dignity27. 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.28. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi21, Eritrea21, Indonesia29) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery30.
Sudan is an unequal country, with male rights dominating those of women.
|Gender Inequality (2015)12|
|Pos.||Lower is better12|
|143||Papua New Guinea||0.59|
The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. 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 Vote|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
|148||Papua New Guinea||1964|
Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.
|LGBT Equality (2017)14|
|Pos.||Higher is better|
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.
There is no freedom of religion15,16, and religious persecution, based on Islam, occurs at the worst possible rate16; converting from Islam attracts the death penalty33 and blasphemy and "defamation of Islam" are serious crimes33. Marriage and other laws strongly favour Muslims at the expense of others33. No new Christian churches are permitted and officials and security forces are demolishing existing ones15.
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 South15.
“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.”
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)16. The International Humanist and Ethical Union produced a report in 2012 entitled "Freedom of Thought" (2012)33, 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.”