The Sudanese authorities must end the continued discrimination of Darfuri students at universities, said Amnesty International today as more than 1,000 Darfuri students of Bakht al-Rida University in White Nile State, descended on the capital Khartoum to demand the release of 10 of their colleagues accused of killing two police officers.
The students are now blockaded on the southern edge of the capital Khartoum after they were stopped by National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) agents from delivering a statement listing their demands to the government. They also want 14 other colleagues who were expelled from the university readmitted.
“These students only want to present a petition to their leaders, but instead of helping and protecting them, the NISS have chosen to block them, in callous disregard of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
“Instead of stopping them, the authorities should protect them and ensure that their grievances are heard.”
The two policemen were killed on 9 May as they violently broke up clashes between ruling party and opposition students over disputed guild elections. Seventy students were arrested that day, all of them Darfuri. Investigations into the policemen’s deaths are still underway.
In January, Amnesty International issued a report in which it documented attacks on Darfuri university students going back three years.