The Sudanese government denied one thousand students from Darfur to cross the gate of the country capital on July 18. Heavy police forces and security agents stopped 15 buses coming from Aldweim in White Nile State at the gate of Jabal Awlyaa south of Khartoum. The Sudanese government’s action is discriminating against the students of Darfur and violates their right of freedom of movement.
On July 18th, 2017, more than 1200 students resigned from Bakht al-Rida University in White Nile State. The students’ resignation came in protest against the racial discrimination of the university administration against the Darfuri students. The Darfur Students Association in their resignation statement demanded the university administration to end its conduct of instigating racial harassment against Darfur students in Aldweim city, where the university campus located. The students also demanded that 14 expelled students to be readmitted and the release of other 10 students arrested in framed accusation of killing two policemen during students protest back in May.
A 2006 presidential decree based on the Doha Peace Agreement provides for a fee waiver for Darfuri students on all level of education. This fee waiver had been the main point of dispute between the Darfur students and the adminstration in Bakht al-Rida University in May 2017. The university refused to grant the Darfuri students full fee waiver, in addition to other students’ demands relating campus accommodations of the students. Most of the Darfur students are coming from IDPs camps or families deeply affected by the ongoing war in the region since 2003. Some students lived most of their lives and finished their undergraduate education inside the camps. The families of the students’ depend on the humanitarian aid from the United Nation for the last 15 years, as the security in the region is still fragile. The students who came to study in the universities in the northern states of Sudan do not have access to family support, therefore they completely rely on the fee waivers to continue their education.
The demands of the Darfur students in Bakht al-Rida University, and other university to have free education and government support is granted in the peace agreement of 2006; which is included in the Sudanese constitution. But the denial of the granted fee waiver has been part of a larger scoop of discrimination and harassment of Darfur students. According to Amnesty International more than 13 students were killed in the last 3 years inside campuses by police or security agents, hundreds were tortured in very discriminated manner inside police and security detentions. In the case of Bakht al-Rida University, the student started a protest in demand of their fee waiver and other academic improvements on May 2017. Heavy police forces raided the campus where 70 students were detained, 9 of them still in prison. Other 14 students were expelled and 19 are under investigation by the university which accused them of burning some offices in the university. Following these protests the university administration instigated false accusations against the students, pointing to them as violent and members of armed groups. They also warned that the students will cause chaos in the city of Aldweim, as the Darfur Students Association reported. In result the people in the city of Aldweim, where the campus is located started to discriminate against the students in the markets and other places.
The situation developments:
Due to the rising racially discriminating treatment, and the refusal of the administration to change its positon from the Darfur students’ demands, 1200 of them resigned and decided to leave the university campus and take their case to Khartoum the Sudanese capital. Some of the students who resigned just wanted to go back to their homes in Darfur. In Aldweim the Sudanese government security refused to allow buses to carry the students out of campus and the city. All public transportations were stopped by the security, and threatened of detention if they were to carry the Darfur students. The 1200 students marched on foot for 15 km carrying their bags out of the city of Aldweim. Some activists from Khartoum managed to find buses to carry the students to the capital. At 9 pm the students arrived at Jabal Awlyaa gate south of Khartoum, but the security and police refused to allow the students to enter the city.
The students had spent the night on the open in the sideway, and on July 19th the security refused to allow food to enter to the students and arrested 4 political leaders who tried to visit them. Ibraim Alsheikh, Amani Malik, Mwahib Magzoub, Abobakr Yousif are leaders in the Sudanese Congress Party their whereabouts remain unknown since their arrest on July 19th. Until the 20th of July the students remained on the gates south of Khartoum and the police and security continue to deny them to enter the city.
Rights for Peace Foundation call on the Sudanese government to immediately end the racial discrimination against the Darfur students who are being stopped outside Khartoum. The government should comply with its obligations in protection of the rights of freedom of movement and freedom of association, and end forms of racial discrimination. Sudan had ratified the covenant on Economic, social and cultural rights and the covenant of ending all form of racial discrimination, and therefore the government has obligation to protect the rights granted in these covenants. The Sudanese government also should immediately release the 4 detainees from the Sudanese Congress Party. We call on the international human rights organizations and mechanisms to immediately take action to end the violations of fundamental human rights of Darfur students , who have been victims of direct racial discrimination by the Sudanese government.