Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1987

Sudan's young parliamentary government faced a series of
problems in 1987, including civil war, a deteriorating
economy, and the necessity to maintain the fragile governing
coalition. Despite mounting problems, Sudan's democratic
system operated with openness. National issues were aired,
contested, and debated in a variety of public forums,
including the media. Individual rights of Sudan's citizens
were generally respected by the Government in areas firmly
under its control, but the record was severely blemished in
the contested areas and towns of the south and west.
Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi's majority coalition of the Umma
and the Democratic Unionist (DUP) parties was dissolved by
interparty squabbling in May and again in August, only to be
reconstituted essentially intact each time. A five-man
Council of State, selected by the ruling parties, and approved
by the Constituent Assembly, shares executive power with the
Council of Ministers. Under represented in the Assembly because
conflict precluded elections in 37 of the 68 constituencies,
Southerners are nonetheless an active part of the political
scene in the capital. The goal of holding a national
constitutional conference to redress Southern grievances and
end the civil war remained unmet at the end of 1987.
The Sudanese People's Armed Forces (SPAF) a 60,000 member army
supported by a small air force and navy, is responsible for
both external and internal security. To supplement regular
troops, the Government has armed several tribal militias in
contested areas. These forces confront the Sudanese People's
Liberation Army (SPLA) , led by John Garang, throughout the
vast territory of the three southern provinces. Martial law
is in effect in the southern part of the country controlled by
the Government, but much of the territory in the south
experiences no effective rule.
Against the background of civil strife, with a burden of about
1 million refugees from neighboring countries and another
estimated 2 million internally displaced persons, the economy
continued to deteriorate in 1987, with a further drop in
export earnings, high inflation, high unemployment, and
growing foreign debt ($11 billion). Severe pockets of hunger
arose, attributable to civil war, inadequate rainfall,
dislocations of people, and plagues of locusts and rats. With
assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the
Government introduced a politically unpopular but vital
economic reform program in October 1987, The program includes
austerity measures such as a currency devaluation, import
restrictions, and subsidy reductions which have caused general
economic hardship and spawned demonstrations and riots. The
Government is likely to face continued popular opposition to
the program as further reforms are enacted. Although it is
too early to judge the success of the reforms, the
international donor community has strongly supported the
reforms, since they are a critical element for revitalizing
the economy.
Overall, the human rights situation deteriorated in the south,
where the civil war continued unabated. The SPLA expanded
operations during the June-October rainy season, then further
extended operations north along the Ethiopian border in
December. Fighting was occasionally fierce. As evidenced by
dislocations, massacres, and attacks on civilian targets,
innocent people were caught in the crossfire and turmoil of
war. In particular, government-armed militias were involved
in several massacres. Humanitarian food relief efforts for
the south were frustrated by both sides. The SPLA attacked
food relief convoys, and the Government was reluctant to move
relief supplies due to security concerns and fears that the
supplies would go to the insurgents.
Sudan's overarching legal debate centered on whether to
maintain Shari'a law--a Koranic legal system which provides
for harsh corporal punishments--as a national legal system
applicable to all persons regardless of religious persuasion.
The Shari'a law issue has been the major obstacle to peace in
Sudan's civil war. In 1983 former President Gaafar Nimeiri
imposed a stiff version of Shari'a law known as the "September
laws." Nearly all Sudanese agree that the "September laws"
should be replaced. The Government, dominated by northern
Muslims has insisted that the "September laws" are a
misapplication of Shari'a law and should be replaced with a
Shari'a code faithful to the Koran. A very large majority of
southerners, who are nearly all either Christians or animists,
strongly oppose any form of Shari'a law. At the end of 1987,
the Government was considering an alternative code to replace
the "September laws" with stiffer evidentiary requirements.
The new code would also reportedly reduce, though not
eliminate, corporal punishments. Fifteen out of 168 elements
of Shari'a law were eliminated in December. They involved
minor offenses. The repeal of some additional elements of
Shari'a law are expected in early 1988.
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
Freedom from:
     a. Political Killing
There have been few reported cases of political killing. One
reported case concerned a Southerner, Nuka Ngor Baak, Director
of the Forestry Department in Bahr el Ghazal Province, who was
abducted from his home on May 14, 1987, allegedly by men in
military uniform. His body was later found nearby.
Northerners claim that the SPLA engages in political killings,
although lack of access to the SPLA-control led areas prevents
     b. Disappearanceppearance
As as result of movements of people because of war and
intertribal conflict, many people have lost touch with friends
and families. However, these problems appear to be mostly due
to inadequate communications rather than to arbitrary or
deliberate actions by security forces. There have been no
reports of disappearance as a result of deliberate government
In July in the southern town of Mundri, the SPLA abducted four
foreigners (three Americans, one British), who were connected
with missionary organizations. They were released in August,
unharmed but in poor health. Three Catholic priests similarly
held in captivity for 3 months were released on October 13. A
fourth priest remains captive. The SPLA apparently holds
several government soldiers and pilots as prisoners of war.
     c. Torture or Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishmenture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment
While still officially in effect, "hadd" punishments of the
Islamic "September laws", including amputations and hanging,
have not been applied since April 1985 when Nimeiri was
overthrown. Flogging does occur, but less frequently and less
severely than prior to the 1986 change of government.
According to the chairman of the Sudan Human Rights
Organization, there are over 400 convicted prisoners in Kober
and Omdurman prisons awaiting confirmation of amputation
sentences by the high courts. All such sentences are
currently in abeyance. In a well-publicized case, two
convicted armed robbers were sentenced to cross amputation
(hand and foot) in May 1987. Amnesty International sponsored
a letter-writing campaign appealing to Prime Minister Sadiq,
asking for clemency. The Prime Minister appointed a commission
to look into the case. The review had not been completed at
the end of 1987.
Outside the combat zones, reports of torture are rare, but
police treatment of persons under arrest is sometimes brutal.
Amnesty International has received reports of ill-treatment of
prisoners, including the use of leg irons on prisoners
awaiting amputations. In general, prison conditions are poor,
but local treatment of prisoners varies considerably, from
shackling prisoners to allowing them to go home at night.
There have been reports of torture and execution of prisoners
by military forces on both sides in the southern conflict.
     d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, Exile or Forced Laborrary Arrest, Detention, Exile, or Forced Labor
Sudan's code of criminal procedure, modeled after British law,
requires a warrant by a magistrate for arrest. Arrests made
at the scene of a crime must be followed by a statement of
charges within a specific period of time. The accused must be
informed of the charges against him and permitted legal
counsel. Only certain capital offenses do not permit bail.
However, Sudan's legal system includes measures under the
state of emergency which gives the Government wide powers of
arrest and preventive detention, which technically could be
invoked at any time.
On September 3, the Government ordered the release of 38
political detainees. They were members of the former regime
who had been detained without charge or trial under the 1985
state of emergency regulations. Among the prominent persons
released were Rashid el Tahir and Bedr el Din Suleiman, both
of whom had held senior posts under Nimeiri.
In southern and western areas, military authorities are
empowered to detain people without charge if suspected of
cooperation or sympathy with the rebellion. There are no
reliable reports of how many persons are so detained. In
September, however, members of the Sudanese National Party,
the dominant party in the Nuba Mountains, reportedly were
arrested following SPLA attacks on government forces in the
area .
In April Sudanese police arrested the Chairman and Secretary
of the Sudan Railway Workers Union in Darfur on unspecified
grounds. According to a Union memorandum, the two were still
in detention in late 1987, with no indication when they would
be brought to trial.
There were no known cases of involuntary exile or forced
labor. However, slavery arose as a major political issue in
1987. Observers allege that no Sudanese government has ever
been strong enough to completely eradicate the centuries-old
practice of slavery and that traces of it still exist in parts
of western Sudan.
Ushari Ahmad Mahmoud and Suleiman Ali Baldo of the University
of Khartoum maintain that 3,000 Dinka tribespeople are held in
slavery by the Rizeiqat Arabs. They interviewed escaped
slaves and witnesses to the enslavement of others. Following
denials that slavery exists in the Sudan by the Prime Minister
and the Foreign Ministry, the southern-run English language
newspapers, Sudan Times and Heritage, began carrying
interviews with, and pictures of, escaped slaves. The
National Islamic Front (NIF) party, the largest opposition
party in the Parliament, also attacked the Government on the
slavery issue, questioning its denials and calling for
independent investigations. At his press conference in
September, the Prime Minister characterized reports of slavery
as defamatory, politically motivated, and slanderous.
The Sudan Human Rights Association decided in September to
investigate charges of slavery, with the assistance of the
Sudan Bar Association. A law faculty member of the University
of Khartoum was sent to Al Daein to investigate, but his
report had not been released as of the end of 1987.
A Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference document, sent in August
to the Prime Minister, referred to the existence of a slave
market in Abyei, Southern Kordofan.
     e. Denial of Fair Public Trial of Fair Public Trial
In 1986 Parliament abolished the executive power to form
special State Security Courts, thus ensuring that trials of
political prisoners would take place henceforth in the regular
criminal courts.
The judicial process involves a police or magistrate
investigation, a field report, an arrest warrant, the arrest,
and a trial before a panel of three judges. The appointment
of judges is made by a committee within the judiciary,
generally considered independent of political forces. Trials
are public except in rare cases where the accused requests a
closed trial. Defendants have the right to present evidence,
speak on their own behalf, and to obtain legal representation.
There are legal aid services for the poor, but their resources
are limited. The Attorney General's office tries to apportion
4egal aid to those facing serious charges and to those most in
need. A case may be appealed through the full series of courts
from the magistrate level to the High Court of Appeals.
In rural areas, it is customary tribal law which is usually
observed and enforced, even though most cases in the provinces
are heard by judges from Khartoum who may be generally
unfamiliar with specific tribal laws. Rural disputes most
often concern land, water, or women.
On April 11, the Appeals Court, after reviewing the case of
ex-Vice President Omar el Tayeb, reduced his life sentence to
less than 13 years. Tayeb had been convicted for bribery,
treason, and violations of immigration and civil aviation
laws. Tayeb is rumored to be in poor health and was
transferred from a provincial prison to a hospital ward in the
capital .
     f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home or Correspondencerary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or
Outside the combat zones, there were few complaints of
governmental interference with the privacy of ordinary
Sudanese citizens. Displaced Southerners and non-Sudanese
refugees in the Khartoum area, however, have been rounded up
and either detained or fined for not having their documents
with them.
In March and April 1987, Khartoum authorities carried out a
campaign known locally as "kasha" or forced expulsion of
refugees back to camps. Many refugees had their legal
documents and possessions confiscated or destroyed, and were
physically abused, sometimes raped, and, in a few cases,
killed. After a domestic and international outcry, the
campaign was dropped. The Prime Minister publicly denied that
"kasha" was practiced. Other members of the Government,
including the Commissioner of Khartoum, expressed the view
that refugees were responsible for many of Sudan's economic
ills. There is also a widely held perception among
Northerners that the large number of displaced Southerners in
Khartoum is a potential security threat. Furthermore,
representatives of pro-Islamic political groups hold the view
that refugees, most of whom are non-Muslim, dilute the
"religious purity" of Khartoum and other northern regions.
According to government critics, a second "kasha" campaign
started in late 1987, when the Khartoum police randomly began
to destroy shelters of displaced Southerners in the Khartoum
area in an effort to force them to leave. While there is no
known centrally directed policy, the Government has taken no
preventive actions and, according to critics, tacitly condones
the practice.
     g. Violation of Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflictstions of Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts
The most serious violations of humanitarian law in 1987
involved charges of massacres and slavery and are directly
related to the 4-year-old civil war between the Government and
the SPLA. The SPLA draws much of its support from the Dinka
tribe, some of whom traditionally inhabit the Bahr el Ghazal
region. To their north live Arabic-speaking Muslim tribes
such as the Rizeiqat and Missiriyyah. In 1986 the Government
began a policy of arming militias from the latter tribes for
the stated purpose of protecting them against the SPLA. The
addition of these improved weapons exacerbated age-old tribal
conflicts over water holes and grazing areas. Critics charge
that, instead of using their weapons to fight the SPLA, the
militias have used them to raid Dinka areas, steal cattle and
other possessions, and take some Dinka children into slavery.
Government officials, conversely, explain that traditional
relations between the tribes had been good until SPLA attacks
on the Muslim tribes north of the traditional dividing line,
the Bahr el Arab River, began. Such an attack, they say,
occurred last March near Al Daein in Southern Darfur. In
response, the Rizeiqat massacred a group of Dinka civilians
who had been rounded up by the local police and taken to the
Al Daein train station.
At the end of 1987, there had been no fully objective and
impartial investigation of the Al Daein massacre. The
Governor of Darfur's initial investigation involved three
senior government officials, two of whom reportedly are from
the Rizeiqat tribe. They spent a single day in Al Daein and
returned, reporting that there had been 228 casualties. In a
press conference, the Prime Minister, reporting the team's
conclusions, said that only 182 Dinka had been killed in the
incident and that the Rizeiqat had not been responsible. In
their report on the Al Daein massacre. University of Khartoum
lecturers Ushari Ahmad Mahmoud and Suleyman Ali Baldo maintain
that more than 1,000 Dinka were killed by Rizeiqat Arabs.
Because of the controversy over the Al Daein massacre, the
Prime Minister on September 15 issued a decree setting up a
national committee to look into the Governor of Darfur's
report on the Al Daein events. The committee is charged with
defining the responsibilities of regional officials, assessing
losses on both sides, and proposing means for preventing a
recurrence of such incidents. The committee's report has not
been circulated publicly, and the committee has not made any
Another massacre occurred in Wau, the capital of Bahr el
Ghazal in September. Wau is inhabited primarily by Dinka and
Fertit tribesmen, the latter of whom also formed a governmentarmed
militia. According to many reports, starting in May
there were repeated incidents in which the army and the Fertit
militia killed persons from the Dinka tribe. One incident
occurred August 11-12, following the firing of a missile by
SPLA forces at a military aircraft. The army rounded up a
number of civilians from the town, who, as reported by most
accounts, were killed by Fertit militiamen. A member of
Parliament from Bahr el Ghazal, Joseph Modistu, said in
Parliament that travelers from Wau had told him 2,000 were
killed by the army. Other sources have put the number between
100 and 250.
The second incident in Wau was sparked when, in an argument, a
government soldier shot an old woman and a Dinka policeman. A
major battle resulted, with the army and the Fertit militia on
one side and mostly Dinka police and game wardens on the other.
Accounts also vary as to the number of persons killed, but
most claim that over 100 persons died. On September 14, Abdul
Rahman Ali Taha, the majority party's leader in Parliament,
agreed to a select parliamentary committee to investigate
massacre reports from Wau, but the committee had not been set
up by the end of 1987.
Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
     a. Freedom of Speech and Pressof Speech and Press
The print media are free and freewheeling. Each political
party has its own newspaper. In addition, other newspapers
present a full range of opinions from the Islamic right to the
Communist left. There are three English-language newspapers,
including one daily, which tend to be pro-south and
antigovernment . These newspapers reported extensively on
human rights abuses in Sudan including the massacres in the
There are signs, however, that the Government is considering
placing limits on press freedom. Since the election campaign
of 1986, which was characterized by widespread and unrestrained
freedom of expression by Sudan's numerous political parties
and newspapers, the Government has expressed concern with
abuses of freedom of speech and press. The Prime Minister and
other government officials made a number of statements in 1987
critical of the press for allegedly publishing inciteful
material, rumors, lies, and comments on sensitive national
security matters. The Prime Minister told Parliament in June
that he would introduce tough press controls. After his
authority to ban newspapers was removed in October, he
submitted new press legislation to the Assembly, but the terms
of the new proposal had not been made public at the end of the
Radio and television are state owned and operated in Sudan,
and tend to support government policies.
In October Ushari Ahmed Mahmoud, co7author of the report on
the Al Daein massacre and the slavery issue, was arrested for
calling the Prime Minister a liar, after the Prime Minister
had strongly castigated Ushari "s report on slavery. Ushari
was rearrested on December 26 under Sudan's sedition law for
allegedly writing a leaflet denouncing the Government and
supporting the SPLA. He was released on bail December 30 and
awaits trial.
     b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Associationof Peaceful Assembly and Association
The Government limits assembly and association on security
grounds. Khartoum and other provincial cities were the scenes
of numerous public demonstrations in 1987, often by students
in protest against economic-related conditions. There have
been, however, occasions when violence erupted and security
forces fired on demonstrators and property was destroyed.
This happened in September during demonstrations in Blue Nile
Province and in Northern Kordofan Province and again in
October, during demonstrations in Khartoum against a
government agreement with the IMF.
In 1987 police and military reinforcements, reacting to
student demonstrations protesting lack of school supplies and
teachers, sometimes opened fire. Fourteen students were
killed in one demonstration at a secondary school in Northern
The Government cracked down on student unrest at the University
of Juba, the only national university in the south, following
student protests against the chancellor's appropriation of
student facilities for other purposes. Protesters were
arrested, released by a judge, then rearrested by order of the
governor. The incident escalated, leading to the closing of
the university for a year. The Southern Sudan Political
Association, one of the southern political parties, protested
and called for the Vice Chancellor's removal. The Prime
Minister spoke in support of the Vice Chancellor and the
closure of the university, claiming it was affected by the
violence characteristic of life in the south.
Averring opposition to demonstrations that transfer the
decisionmaking power from the Constituent Assembly to the
street, the Government prohibited public marches on October
18. It also cited the civil war, an increase in violent
crime, and the large number of refugees in the country as
reasons for the prohibition. The order, which will remain in
effect until the civil war is ended, exempted two categories
of marches: those expressing the will of the whole nation and
those of a ceremonial nature.
The Sudanese labor movement played an active role in the
overthrow of Nimeiri in 1985 and the formation of the
Transitional Military Government leading to restoration of
democracy in 1986. The 1985 transitional Constitution,
amended in March 1987, provides for the right of workers to
organize and bargain collectively. The primary labor
organizations are the Sudanese Workers Trade Union Federation
(SWTUF) and the Sudanese Employees and Clerks Federation
(SFETU) . The SWTUF represents blue-collar workers and has
been a stable organization since 1985. Its white-collar
counterpart, the SFETU, however, is undergoing major changes.
In December 1987, the Government passed an ordinance which
split the SFETU into three separate federations: employees,
professionals, and teachers. There is also a trade union
alliance, which is an informal lobbying group comprised mostly
of white-collar workers and professionals.
Strikes are legal, except in the judiciary, armed forces, and
police. The law stipulates, however, that the process of
negotiations and arbitration must run its course before a
union may strike. Strikes in September 1987 by such unions as
the farm workers and veterinarians were considered "illegal"
by the Government because the unions had not first submitted
their grievances to arbitration.
     c. Freedom of Religionof Religion
Sudan is a multireligious country. Both Islam and
Christianity are formally recognized as religions of Sudan,
but adherents to other religious beliefs are not legally
restricted. The people of five northern provinces and the
capital are predominantly Muslim, while those from the three
southern provinces are animist and Christian. Religious
differences have been a source of friction among the various
groups, and the civil war has strong religious overtones.
The Government is concerned that the war not be seen by the
outside world solely as a Muslim-Christian conflict and often
describes it as Ethiopian-sponsored Communist aggression. The
Government sometimes portrays it differently to Sudanese,
however. In one document, the Government described five
northern regions as "Dar el Islam," or the land of Islam, and
the southern regions "Dar el Harb," which means both war zone
and enemy territory and, in Islamic law, non-Muslim country.
Government officials have also made statements accusing some
Christian churches and church personnel of cooperation with
the rebels.
The Christian Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) is involved in
efforts to end the war and backed a trip in September by
representatives of southern political parties to Addis Ababa,
Kampala, and Nairobi, to meet with leaders of the SPLA to
discuss peace. The prosouthern press reported that the
Government was angry at the SCC for supporting the trip and
thus indirectly the SPLA.
In August the Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference submitted to
the Prime Minister a long list of discriminatory actions
against Christians which the Conference believed were threats
to peace. These included: the continuance of Islamic laws;
the refusal by various government bodies in several parts of
the country to allow Christian organizations to use,
construct, improve, or buy land for buildings for religious
purposes; the harassment of southerners, especially the Dinka;
and the looting and burning of the Catholic church of Al Daein
and the killing of the priest's assistant in March 1987.
In August there were reports that militiamen from Arab tribes
in Southern Kordofan, belonging to a group known as the
General Union of the Arabs, burned down a number of churches
in El Karkariya and El Katmur, and killed Pastor Mathew el Nur
and family after setting his house ablaze.
With the exception of the Communist Party, political parties
in Sudan tend to be based on either a religious sect or tribal
group. Non-Muslims sometimes reach high- levels in the military
and the civil service. There are 3 Christians in the 20-member
Cabinet, and 1 on the 5-man Council of State. The current
coalition partners of the Government, the Umma Party and the
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) , are based in the Ansar and
Khatmiyya Islamic orders, respectively. The opposition
National Islamic Front (NIF) is composed of fundamentalist
Muslims. The transitional Constitution now in effect retains
Islamic law and custom as the main sources of legislation, and
most Southerners oppose it as inherently discriminatory
against them. A perennial major issue of debate in the
Constituent Assembly remains proposed amendments to the
Constitution which redefine but retain Islamic law as its
basis. The NIF advocates retaining strict Islamic law, while
the Umma and DUP may accept some recognition of Christianity
and other religions as sources of legislation in addition to
Islam. Southern deputies and the SPLA advocate return to a
secular constitution.
Christian law graduates are required to take a proficiency
examination in Islamic Shari'a law in order to practice law in
     d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreignof Movement Within the Country, Foreign
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation
Freedom of movement within the country is impeded by the civil
war and the inadequate transportation infrastructure, as well
as by government restrictions. Sudan continues to require
exit visas for anyone leaviRg the country, a requirement that
can be used to restrict individuals from foreign travel.
Unmarried women cannot travel alone but must be accompanied by
a family member or other sponsor.
Foreigners must register with the police upon entering the
country, obtain permission to move from one location to
another, and register again upon arriving at the new location.
Sudan's foreign refugee population, which consists largely of
Ethiopians, Ugandans, and Chadians, is estimated to fluctuate
between 800,000 and 1 million. The Government seeks to settle
refugees in the countryside, where they can receive assistance
from foreign private and multilateral relief agencies.
However, large numbers also come to the cities, especially the
capital area, in search of jobs, shelter, and food.
Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Gonvernment
In Sudan's multiparty parliamentary system, the principal
institutions are the 301-member Constituent Assembly, the
20-person Council of Ministers, and the 5-member Council of
State. Government is based on a transitional Constitution.
The current Assembly was elected in 1986 to a 4-year term in a
free and fair election. Since then, a coalition government,
consisting of the two largest parties in the Constituent
Assembly, the Umma and the Democratic Unionist (DUP) Parties,
has ruled the country. There are two women in the Assembly
and one in the Cabinet. Women and men have equal voting
The goal of holding a national conference to draw up a new
constitution remains unmet, and a special ministry, created in
1986 to oversee its convening, remains without a minister.
Many Sudanese consider that convening of this conference is
necessary to bring an end to the civil war.
Regional government for many parts of Sudan is ineffective.
In some areas, most notably in the south and far west, basic
responsibilities, such as providing security, are beyond the
reach of local officials. The Government is considering
restoration of tribal administration in the provinces, a
practice begun by the British but discontinued under President
Nimeiri. While criticized by secular intellectuals and
nationalists during and after the colonial period, the system
of tribal administration is seen in retrospect to have been an
effective way to keep the peace.
Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights
The Government is sensitive to criticism of its human rights
performance at home or from abroad, most recently on the issue
of slavery. As noted, the Government sharply criticized Dr.
Ushari Ahmad Mahmoud, the author of the report on the Al Daein
massacre and slavery, and detained him briefly in October
without charge.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a public statement
September 1, denied slavery was practiced in Sudan and
threatened to take action against "the enemies who are
attempting to smear the good name of the country abroad."
Some government officials apparently believed that personnel
of Western relief agencies were the sources for reports of
human rights events from rural areas. The Government's action
(currently in abeyance) in September 1987 to expel three
relief agencies from Sudan may be related to this issue.
With government permission, Amnesty International has formed
local chapters in the cities of Wad Medani and Khartoum.
Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Language, or Social Status
Sudan's population of 21.1 million (1984) is composed
primarily of two distinct cultures--Arab and black African.
Sudanese, especially those on the periphery, resent the
Government's emphasis on central and northern Sudan, where the
population is most fully arabized. Historically, all of
Sudan's governments have featured political and economic
domination by northern Muslims (approximately 13 million).
Non-Arab and non-Muslim groups in the ethnically diverse south
and among the Nuba of the Kordofan Mountains, and partially
arabized Muslim groups, such as the Fur in the west and the
Beja in the east, have begun mobilizing to demand a greater
share of the nation's economic development and political power.
Southerners coming north looking for work or to escape the war
face social discrimination by the Muslim Arab majority. Rents
may be artificially raised to keep southerners or refugees
from residing in certain areas. Southern students, unable to
attend schools in the war zones, have had difficulty finding
places in the northern schools. In 1987 many displaced
Southerners were subjected to police harassment or imprisonment
for failure to have the proper identity documents, and some
were caught up in the "kasha" campaign.
Men and women retain traditionally segregated roles, and
Sudanese laws favor men. For example, under the Islamic law
of inheritance, women receive only half as much property as
men. The incidence of female circumcision, although illegal,
remains high and is ingrained in the culture of many groups.
Owing to tradition and social circumstances, women receive
less education than men, although legally they are entitled to
equal opportunities. They also have fewer employment
opportunities, but some women play an active role in
government, the professions, the media, and higher education.
Sudanese labor laws and practices, by and large, embrace
international standards. The workweek is limited to 6 days
and 48 hours, with a 1-day rest period on Friday. Laborers
are given an extra month's pay for each year's labor. Most
workers receive allowances for transportation and soma for
housing. However, with the recent devaluation of the Sudanese
pound, many unions are seeking better employment terms.
Presently, the prescribed monthly minimum wage is approximately
$30 for blue-collar workers, and $96 for white-collar
employees. Annual raises must be at least 5 percent of the
annual salary. Salaries in private industry are generally
higher than those in the public sector. The minimum age for
Sudanese laws prescribe health and safety standards but, in
general, factory conditions are poor. Enforcement of
environmental standards is minimal. Unemployment and
underemployment are major problems in Sudan, particularly
among youth. Graduates, even of such prestigious schools as
Khartoum University, face severe difficulties in finding any
type of employment after completing their education