Gross government violations of the press and journalist rights.
November 20, 2008 -- The Government of Sudan is required to respect the right of the Press and the right of all journalists to attend Parliament sessions, in general, and those sessions scheduled to pass a new law of the press and publications to govern journalist work and their relations with the authorities. The government prevented unlawfully hundreds of journalists from attending the National Assembly session on the new law on Monday November 17th. Harsher prevention by police and security forces disassembled peacefully protesting journalists outside the parliament space, then arrested and detained 78 protestors. These acts and others inviting the abstention of three English papers and seven Arabic journals from publication constitute a flagrant violation of the Interim Constitution and the parliamentary traditions that allow journalists to cover parliamentary sessions in the press. The Sudan Human Rights Organization is deeply concerned with the repressive environment the government has been spreading over the public life throughout the last three years in the course of implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005) prior to the upcoming 2009 elections. The Organization has repeatedly condemned the government's insistent violations of journalist rights and public freedoms. We have been asking the government, to no avail, to end the unlawful security interventions that obliterate journalist columns, restructure printed news, and confiscate whole papers, in addition to arbitrary arrests, heavy fines, and possible terms of imprisonment by the notorious Press and Publications Law. As we welcome the Assembly's approval of the National Elections Commission, SHRO asks the Government to abide by all provisions enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the National Interim Constitution, especially those concerned with the freedom of the expression and the right to peaceful assembly to prepare the national elections' process prior to the actual voting in 2009.
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