31 December 2012

Sudanese Authorities Close Another Independent Center

Khartoum — Sudanese authorities closed down on Monday another civil society group, Al Khatim Adlan Center, which performs research and advocacy in issues of democracy and multiculturalism in the country.

Last Monday 24 December, Sudan's ministry of information banned the activities of the Sudanese Studies Center for one year, citing activities aiming to overthrow the regime and financial support from outside the country.

The Registrar General of the national and foreign organizations has issued a decision ordering to close the Center, said Albaqir Alafif the director of Al Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment and Human Development (KACE), on Monday.

Albaqir further added that the inventory of the center's assets was performed by the government employees and KACE responsible before they were forced to hand over the keys of the cultural and intellectual group which was established in 2007.

Aiming to promote peace, democracy and diversity, the KACE organized workshops on Darfur and South Kordofan crises, elections, and South Sudan and Abyei referendums. In 2012 the Center worked on different projects, such as violence against women and youth.

Many of its different activities are funded by foreign embassies in Khartoum, and international foundations. KACE is also working on a project about the reform of school curriculum funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and another one related to the civil society participation in public affairs supported by the Open Society Institute.

Sudanese authorities did not explain why they decided to close the Center. However, the move was expected as government officials had accused these civil society groups of being linked to the opposition and working to topple the regime.

The security services believes that civil society groups can represent a danger for the regime after the participation of independent youth groups in a series of protests that took place in the country following the government's decision to remove subsidies on essential commodities in June 2012.

On the other hand, Sudanese security on Monday arrested the executive director of Sudanese Studies Center Abdallah Abu Al-Reesh, following a gathering of Sudanese activists outside the National Human Rights Commission in Khartoum to deliver a memo against its closure.

Abdallah's family said security agents came in the early morning of Monday and conducted him to unknown destination. His family members said they are concerned for his health as they refused to allow him to bring his medications.

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