Geneva – The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor detailed the numerous crises that Sudan is going through in a new report published on Tuesday, highlighting the difficult living and humanitarian conditions Sudanese citizens are going through. The report comes amid the recent devastating floods and the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.
The report, entitled "Sudan: Endless Plights", is based on citizens’ testimonies that show the number of crises in different sectors in the country. Such crises caused poverty, marginalization, and other crises that exacerbated since the beginning of 2019 and left millions of Sudanese living in tragic humanitarian conditions at all levels.
Sudan ranks among the worst countries in the world when it comes to nutrition, education, health care, and the provision of basic services. The main reason behind these crises are conflicts, epidemics, natural disasters, human rights violations, and depriving citizens of their fundamental rights.
The tragic economic reality is characterized by high rates of inflation, exacerbating poverty that reached 65% and the spread of diseases and conflicts due to the increasing humanitarian needs. According to the Sudanese Central Bureau of Statistics, last September inflation rates reached 212% and the average price of the local food basket increased by 200% compared to 2019. In addition to this, the Sudanese pound value lowered to about 0.018 per US dollar, causing a sharp decline in the purchase power of families, who spend 65% of their income on food.
The report highlighted the modest efforts the Sudanese government makes to deal with the devastating impacts of floods that struck the country at the beginning of September 2020. The flooding crisis was classified as one of the most powerful natural disasters the country has ever experienced in years. Heavy rains caused the flooding of the Nile River, provoking humanitarian crises that affected 16 Sudanese states, killed more than 150 people, destroyed more than 82,500 homes, and 179 facilities, and unevenly affected the lives of more than 875,000 Sudanese, in addition to the material and economic losses in vital sectors in the country.
The report presented several testimonies of Sudanese citizens who were affected by the floods. Sudanese citizen, Taj al-Din Abdullah, one of those who were directly affected by the flood, said: “Since the floods started, my house was completely flooded, which severely damaged the house’s foundations and made the house a ramshackle. Despite the magnitude of the destruction, the government agencies did nothing to heal our suffering.”
Other testimonies collected by the research team of the Euro-Med revealed the weakness of the health system in Sudan which is reflected in the shortage of medicines, equipment, and medical personnel, and the authorities’ failure to provide the health sector with the necessary items.
The report indicated that the outbreak of COVID-19 uncovered the government's weak response to the crisis, and the unsuccessful decisions taken by the authorities to fight the virus, which included closing hospitals in the face of patients, and causing the death of many people infected with the virus for not receiving the necessary health care.
Sudanese citizen Adnan Bashir said in his testimony to Euro-Med Monitor: “My sister died after all hospitals refused to receive her. When we first went to one hospital, the doctors suspected that my sister was infected with the Coronavirus. They were afraid of getting infected and refused to treat her. They sent our names to all hospitals in the region telling them that we were infected with the Coronavirus so that they don’t receive us. Despite our repeated attempts to find a place for my sister at governmental hospitals, we were prevented from entering any hospital despite her difficult health condition. Eventually, she died”.
The report also addressed the crises of bread, flour, fuel, high prices, lack of educational facilities, and exports, and stressed the need for an effective governmental role to overcome these crises and provide a decent standard of living for a population exhausted by multiple crises in all walks of life.
Tariq Al-Lewa, a legal advisor to the Euro-Med Monitor, affirmed that “The Sudanese authorities are responsible for providing a decent life for their citizens by focusing their efforts and harnessing their resources to improve the lives of the Sudanese people and supporting the economic and services sectors in the country.” “Sudan must respect its domestic and international obligations towards its citizens in this context,” he added.
The report recommended the Sudanese authorities to:
• Give the health and education sectors the top priority in any economic programs or policies implemented by the government.
• Combat corruption in public institutions and maintain integrity and accountability.
• Rationalize spending and steer it to the productive health and education sectors.
• Establish effective support networks and foster social security networks through securing the basic needs of impoverished families.
• End monopoly and establish close monitoring of prices to avoid exploitation in the black market, especially people planning to get flour and basic commodities, as they are necessary materials for all Sudanese, which are indispensable in daily life.