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Human Rights

Survivors are entitled to the full & equal enjoyment of all of their human rights & to be free from all forms of discrimination

Cluster Bombs

Human Rights Violations in South Kordofan



Sudan government drops cluster bombs on civilian areas of Southern Kordofan’s Nuba Mountains on a daily basis, forcing people to live in caves and fox holes. 


The evidence that Sudan’s army has used cluster bombs in Southern Kordofan shows the government’s total disregard for its own people and civilian life.

Cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.


Cluster munitions pose an immediate threat to civilians by scattering submunitions or bomblets over a wide area. They continue to pose a threat after a conflict ends by leaving remnants, including submunitions that fail to explode upon impact and become de facto landmines.

Sudan’s air force has repeatedly, indiscriminately bombed civilian areas, often killing or maiming civilians, destroying homes and crops, and damaging schools, clinics, and other civilian property, in the four years since the beginning of the conflict


Human Rights Watch researchers visited Southern Kordofan found evidence of six cluster bombs, including remnants of the weapons such as dud explosive submunitions, dropped by government aircraft on villages in Delami and Um Durein counties.


We witnessed dropped bombs in the village of Tongoli, in Delami county, and four others on the village of Rajeefi, in Um Durein county. The attacks destroyed homes and other civilian property where they dropped in populated areas.


Human Rights Watch also confirmed that Sudan has continued to bomb civilian areas indiscriminately throughout the region. Government Antonov aircraft had bombed Tongoli, killing seven people and injuring four, and that no rebel forces were in the area.


Researchers also documented more than 15 bombings, some of them apparently purposefully directed onto civilian targets, which have killed or injured civilians and humanitarian workers since early 2014.


A structure in a medical compound in the Nuba mountains damaged by a bomb dropped on their location.​

 Sexual Violence

The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) has been fighting the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) in Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile states, a conflict in which it has carried out persistent indiscriminate bombings and abuses against civilians.


Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile states border South Sudan, which gained independence in July 2011. Communities in both states were aligned with the southern rebels during Sudan’s 22-year civil war. The SPLA-N has no air force.


The cluster bombs Human Rights Watch found in April appear to be Soviet-made RBK-500 cluster bombs, containing AO-2.5 RT fragmentation submunitions, the same kind found in the region in 2012.


(11 April 2018) The African Centre of Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) documented human rights violations associated with attacks on civilians including sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention and killing of civilians that occurred in South Kordofan from January to March 2018.


The Military Intelligence has continued to target civilians with arbitrary arrest and detention on the basis of their perceived political affiliation with the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement-North. ACJPS also documented the rape, at gunpoint, of a 20-year-old by an officer of the Sudan Armed Forces and the killing of three civilians by two soldiers of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement-North.


Human rights violations against civilians in conflict settings continue to occur as victims face barriers to justice and accountability due to lack of effective mechanisms and legal immunities afforded to government authorities, fostering a climate of endemic impunity. 


Victims and/or survivors of sexual violence face even tougher barriers and often do not report incidents due to insecurity, stigma, the fear of reprisal and other obstacles. Among the obstacles are laws and policies that fail to ensure a safe environment for reporting sexual and gender-based violence incidents and a consistent failure to prosecute these crimes.

On 3 March 2018, Ms. Daisy (not her real name), a 20-year-old woman, was raped at gunpoint by two soldiers in uniform from the Sudan Armed Forces as she was out fetching firewood.

From March 2014 to October 2017, Ms. Stacy (not her real name), 39 year old, married woman was sexually abused and exploited by Mr. Khalid Gaffer, a security guard at the Aldalang University, after he threatened to report her to the Military Intelligence that she was communicating with her husband who is a member of the  SPLM-N.

Arbitrary Arrest and Detention

Arbitrary arrest and detention

On 15 January 2018, the Military Intelligence under the command of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) stationed at the Barnwa checkpoint in South Kordofan arrested Mr. Saeed Mohamed Saeed, a 28-year-old from the Nuba tribe, as he was traveling back from Lagawa town.


He was detained incommunicado at an unknown location and released on 18 February 2018.  Reasons for his arrest remain unknown.


On 23 February 2018, the Military Intelligence stationed at the Abuhabil bridge checkpoint arrested Mr. Shaib Ismail, a 24-year-old, and detained him at the SAF headquarter base in Aldalang, in South Kordofan.


On 6 March 2018, the Military Intelligence of Al Abbasiya Tagali in South Kordofan arrested Mr. Mohamed Awad, 38-year-old, and detained him at the military intelligence base in Al Abbasiya Tagali. It is suspected that he was detained on the basis of perceived political affiliation with the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N)


On 6 March 2018, the Military Intelligence of Um Rawaba in North Kordofan arrested Mr. Mansour Altoum from the Um Rawaba Market and detained him at the military intelligence base in Al Abbasiya Tagali. It is suspected that he was detained on the basis of perceived political affiliation with the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).​

Shooting Civilians

On 5 March 2018, two SPLM-N soldiers shot and killed three civilians in Kulundo area, a locality within the SPLM-N controlled area in Eastern Al Abbasiya Tagali. The names of the deceased are:


        Omer Yusuf, 63-year-old


        Adam Aleimam Jubana, 36-year-old


        Mohamed Abdulrahim Kabashi, 56-year-old.


We condemn the continued attacks against civilians and calls on the Government of Sudan to:

  • Officially and publicly condemn arbitrary attacks, unlawful killings, and sexual violence and make clear that these acts are absolutely prohibited and will be prosecuted.


  • Investigate the reported sexual violence with the aim of identifying and prosecuting perpetrators, including waiving of immunities to ensure effective prosecution.


  • Stop the persecution of communities in South Kordofan and persons suspected of affiliation with the SPLM-N and guarantee the right to freedom of association and other fundamental freedoms.


  • Charge or release the detainees in the absence of valid legal charges consistent with international standards; guarantee their physical safety including granting them immediate and unequivocal access to their lawyers, family members, and medical services.


  • To protect civilians especially the vulnerable groups and strengthen structures to ensure availability of effective complaint, protection and reparation measures to respond to attacks on civilians including sexual and gender-based violence.


  • To put in place an effective criminal justice mechanism to respond to all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.


Increased Maternal Mortality

When a bomb is thrown on homes, most pregnant women have no prenatal care or must rely on local birth attendants without formal training, or trained midwives with no, or insufficient, equipment.


The government targets and attacks these vulnerable women and split open their stomach killing both expectant women and their unborn babies.


When women and girls face complications during early labor, they sometimes only reach care after many hours of travel by motorcycle, carried between two men, or transported on beds.


The lack of access to emergency care, skilled health providers during delivery, and emergency obstetric care are risk factors for maternal deaths during an aerial bombardment.


The UN Security Council issued a resolution in May 2012 threatening punitive measures if the parties did not allow aid to flow freely to Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile, but has taken no further action.


The scrutiny from the UN Security Council on Sudan in 2011 and 2012 has given way to silence and non-action.

The UN and donors should urgently press the parties to allow them to provide desperately needed emergency assistance to civilians, including women and girls, in this long-neglected crisis.

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