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  • Clara Giaminardi

Countering & preventing hate speech at national and regional levels in Sudan

Updated: May 13, 2022

With the breakdown of the democratic transition in Sudan following the military coup in October 2021, there has been a rise in new cases of violence including attacks against civilians in Darfur, along side brutal crackdowns against pro-democracy protesters committed by security forces.

In March 2022, in collaboration with partners, Rights for Peace held meetings in South Kordofan, North Darfur and Khartoum, where civil society and policy shapers addressed hate speech, structural discrimination and necessary reforms. Recommendations and next steps were identified.

Discussions around identity, hate speech and structural discrimination analysed the types of systemic discrimination that lead to hate speech and violent conflict. These were:

  • ‘Structural’ or systematically practiced discrimination based on skin colour, religion and ethnic background.

  • Social injustice, including the unfair distribution of resources, services, opportunities and access to land.

  • State policies aimed at division and discrimination (divide and rule approach).

Negative connotations tied to skin colour or ethnic background are seen as routine, impacting citizens’ understanding of Sudanese identity.

Experiences of employment discrimination, speak of categoric exclusion on the basis of ethnic or political affiliation with in the civil service or mining industry. While these discriminatory practices are not written into Sudanese law, they are exercised across civil service, mining and other significant employers.

In Darfur the effect of uneven resource distribution, particularly land ownership, is a trigger of violence between different groups. Participants highlighted the effects of misinformation. For instance, false narratives recently escalated around a theft case, and stirred up a call to violence; the situation was then solved through dialogue, indicating the potential for a greater role for community leaders in countering violence.

Common recommendations aimed at policy makers include:

  • Ensure fair distribution of development, opportunities and resources across different regions.

  • Implement dialogue and reconciliation processes between communities affected by conflict and violence, whilst also creating greater accountability and pursuing justice for the victims of conflict.

  • Dissolve, disarm, and rehabilitate militias, and disarm the Sudanese population at large.

  • Ensure greater human rights awareness and education opportunities for marginalised populations.

  • Diversify the composition of national bodies to reflect the diverse composition of Sudan.

  • Remove unfair practices and discrimination exercised within civil service.

  • Establish democratic institutions and processes to preserve and protect human rights for all Sudanese.

  • Establish democratic institutions and processes to preserve and protect human rights for all Sudanese.

At the same time, participants explored next steps and actions that can be taken by civil society to counter expressions of discrimination:

  • Investment in documenting human rights abuses, with a focus on the identity context of those affected;

  • Promotion of advocacy and knowledge sharing around identity, hate speech and discrimination to engage wider and wider audiences;

  • Promotion of educational and awareness tools, both in schools and through civil society organisations;

  • Supporting and advocating for legal reforms;

  • Monitoring debates and supporting awareness in the media around discrimination and hate speech, both for traditional media outlets and online spaces.

This project is partly funded by KAICIID International Dialogue Centre. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the donor.


UN News: Sudan urged to stop unnecessary use of force against protestors

(18/01/2022) -

UN News: Sudan protests: Security forces in spotlight over sexual violence allegations (21/12/2021) -

Reuters: Seven dead in crackdown on anti-coup rallies in Sudan (18/01/2022) -

Guardian: Protests in Sudan after alleged gang-rape of young woman by security forces (16/03/2022) -

Al Jazeera: Thousands rally in Sudan against military coup (21/02/2022) -

Human Rights Watch: Security Forces Kill Protesters in Eastern Sudan (21/12/2021) -

Human Rights Watch: New Wave of Attacks in Darfur (15/12/2021) -

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