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Minahil Toor |

Authoritarian regimes running on religious basis have always helped dictators keep their public quiet. Similar is the case of Sudan where we observe that Omar Al Bashir has committed various heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity yet holds his head.

His journey to the Presidency was mostly backed by the support of Shari’ah Law on the grounds of which his actions were well accepted by the masses.

Sudan’s human rights records remain appalling in 2016, with continuing conflict and abuse by the government forces in Darfur, Blue Nile States and Southern Kardofan.

Suppression of independent media, civil society groups as well as widespread arbitrary detention of students, activists and protestors have also been in the limelight.

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All this being done in the name of promoting Shari’ah in the constitutional structure of Sudan. In great dismay, it is questionable how denying refugee’s asylum, failing to protect women and children and inhumane behavior to maintain public order, paves way for Islamic Law to implement itself in its true essence?

Crimes against humanity

how is denying refugees asylum, failing to protect women and children and inhumane behavior to maintain public order, paves way for Islamic Law to implement itself in its true essence?

The slogans for the violation of human rights in Muslim states have been chanted numerous times at the international stage. Muslim populations have often been the subject of such brutalities, for example, Syria has suffered great losses on account of major human rights violations. Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Yemen among many other Muslim states have served as a bait for crimes against humanity.

Humanitarian interventions initiated by the Western powers have fueled the very cause they were apparently trying to curb. Peacekeeping forces assigned to such affected areas mostly worsen the existing human rights conditions instead of preserving them.

Who determines the international human right standards

The International Human Rights standards have been put in place to ascertain and determine when a violation has occurred. These standards find their base from certain western cultural, national, religions and customs.

This wave of international human rights resolution formed its legal framework under the UN auspices in 1948 and subsequently has been adopted by various human rights practicing instruments, one of which being the International Bill of Rights.

Peacekeeping forces assigned to such affected areas mostly worsen the existing human rights conditions instead of preserving them.

Going back into history we observe that seven out of eight Muslim countries, Saudi Arab being an exception, had voted in favor of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

However, positive voting didn’t necessarily ensure the endorsement of the Charter within their territory. Reservations to implement the human rights ordinance seemed to never completely vanish.

Human rights violations in Islamic countries

Human rights, clearly indicate that the basic right to live translates to everyone universally, irrespective of the color, race, caste etc. All the Islamic countries being members of the UN were obliged to sustain and promote human rights.

But in this fight between moral ethics and religion, many Islamic countries have distorted the true essence of human rights, and blurred its meaning in the name of Shari’ah, but actually only to perpetuate their own power.

Sudanese practice of Shariah and human rights violation

In Sudan, the legal relationship between Shari’ah and human rights violation took a more significant and serious course in 1989 after the coup.

There is a long list of allegations against the Sudanese government for violating the right to free movement, the right to live, the right to enjoy one’s property, the right of health care and prohibitions against slavery and torture among many others.

However, the present Sudanese government persistently argues that their actions are being misunderstood. According to them Sudan has been targeted for violating human rights because it wants to practise Islamic laws.

But a sane mind fails to accept how such a manipulated penal code that is believed to reflect the teachings of Quran can ever maintain public order?

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To better understand their pro-Islamist approach, it is important that we first take into account a few facts; the government itself is a coalition of Islamic extremists and Modernists, the majority of Sudan’s population bracket consists of Muslims and hence public support is primarily dependent on the government’s staunch stance to pursue Islamic values.

Islamization in political campaigns

Along with these, the government’s declared commitment to Islam is narrowly viewed by the opposition groups who claim that the government shows more inclination in rhetoric to Islamic values more than in practice.

All the Islamic countries being members of the UN were obliged to sustain and promote human rights.

To make matters worse, some public figures like the former Prime Minister, Sadiq El-Mahdi, who relied on Islamic values for his influence, now leads opposition movements against the government from outside.

Thereby making it hard for the government to pull back from their Islamization campaign when it’s the very buttress of their authority.

Gross violations of human rights in Sudan

In cases of serious conflicts, such as the civil war between the government and the rebel groups and the Darfur conflict, several cases of abuse, torture, killings, rape and massive population displacement has been reported.

The violations had reached the climax of an ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the Darfur area. Such an extent of human rights violations at that time earned Sudan the same comparison of the Rwandan Genocide in the press.

Moreover, Sudan is still suspected to be engrossed in the practice of enslavement. In various instances, the Sudanese government has attacked villages and carried off men, women and children as their prisoners.

In a report published in by International Eminent Persons Group, both the rebel groups in Sudan as well as the government itself were found guilty of abducting women and children for forced servitude.

The International Human Rights standards have been put in place to ascertain and determine when a violation has occurred.

Other crimes against humanity includes the violation of women rights, prisoner abuse, persecution of human rights defenders, the non-observance of LGBT rights, negligence of international human rights treaties and use of child soldiers are to name a few.

Therefore, Sudan instead of exhibiting high regard for human rights and practicing Islamic values that outline the preservation of human rights, has only manipulated the teachings of Quran to perpetuate the influence of the leaders.

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The fabrication of Islamic laws only deviates the world into believing that Islam breaches human rights rather than preaching it.

Its government has always portrayed human rights as a challenge to the dominance of state institutions and crushed those who advocated them. Many activists have fled the country due to such practices.

A bleak ray of hope is possible if the Sudanese Government makes appropriate constitutional amendments to genuinely improve the situation on the ground. If not responded, it will keep the country divided between those seeking respect for human rights and those dismantling the basic foundation of human dignity.

 

Minahil Toor is President of the International Relations Club at the Kinniard College for Women, Lahore.  The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

 

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