SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: February 12, 2019

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):University of Bahri | University of Khartoum | University of Nileen

Region & Country:Northern Africa | Sudan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 12, 2019, security forces reportedly arrested 14 professors at a peaceful protest at the University of Khartoum (UofK).

Since December 19, 2018, protesters in Khartoum and throughout Sudan have been demonstrating over food shortages and demanding the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir. Scholars, students, and various professional groups have played a leading role in the protests. Rights groups report at least 45 people have been killed during the protests.

On February 12, professors from several universities organized a sit-in demonstration in front of UofK’s campus as part of the protest movement. Prior to its start, security forces reportedly arrested 14 professors on their way to the sit-in, including eight from UofK, five from the University of Nileen, and one from the University of Bahri.

As of this report, there is no public information of the professors’ release and whether they face any charges.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arrest of professors in connection with the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Sudan is a party. State authorities have an obligation to refrain from the use of arbitrary arrests to restrict the exercise of such rights. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such actions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.