Sudan has been plagued by violence and civil war since its independence in 1956. In addition to causing massive displacements of people, the decades’ long civil war that led to the independence of South Sudan is estimated to have killed more than 2.5 million people from both the north and south. Furthermore, widespread human rights violations persist. The inaction by the Sudanese authorities responsible for the administration of justice has created a climate of almost total impunity for perpetrators of human rights abuses. As a result, lawyers in Sudan face an overwhelmingly hostile legal environment and do not have access to impartial institutions from which meaningful legal redress can be sought. The country’s lawyers, as well as other human rights defenders, face harassment, arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention and torture by military and security forces.
Our program seeks to combat impunity for human rights violations committed by the government. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) is working with independent bar associations in Sudan to develop the capacity of local lawyers to engage in public advocacy and file formal communications (i.e. complaints of human rights violations) with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. ABA ROLI combines intensive training workshops with long-term technical support to materially increase the capacity of local lawyers.