GENEVA (8 July 2019) – UN human rights experts* have denounced measures taken by the authorities to shut down the Internet in Sudan, saying it stifles free expression and association.
“In the past few weeks, we have continued to receive reports on Internet blocking of social media platforms by the Transitional Military Council,” the experts said.
“The Internet shut down is in clear violation of international human rights law and cannot be justified under any circumstances.** We urge the authorities to immediately restore Internet services. The Human Rights Council has unequivocally condemned measures that intentionally prevent or disrupt access to information online, and recommended all States to cease and refrain from such measures.”
Noting that peaceful demonstrations to demand democratic transition continue to take place in the country, the experts highlighted that the Internet shutdown adversely impacted peoples’ human rights.
“The internet shutdown forms part of a larger effort to stifle the free expression and association of the Sudanese population, and to curtail the ongoing protests,” the experts said. “Internet services have been shut down several times since the beginning of the year, the last time on 10 June only days after security forces violently dispersed a sit-in and killed and injured more than a hundred protesters.”
“Access to information and communication services is crucial at times of protests. Restricting or blocking access to Internet services not only adversely affects the enjoyment of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and participation, but it also has severe effects on protesters demands’ regarding economic and social rights,” the experts added.
Reportedly, Sudanese internet provider Zain-SDN was found to have the most extensive blocking scheme, covering all key social platforms, followed by MTN, Sudatel and Kanartel.
The UN human rights experts stand ready to provide any assistance to the authorities in this context.
(*)UN experts: Mr. Aristide Nononsi, Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Sudan; Mr. Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association; Mr. David Kaye,Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression