12 February 2017

Sudan: Security Agents Raid Doctors' Meeting in Sudanese Capital

Khartoum North — Agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) have attempted to stop a meeting of the Sudanese Doctors' Central Committee in Khartoum North on Thursday.

In a statement on Friday, the Doctors' Committee condemned the raid on their office in Bahri Hospital by a number of NISS agents, accompanied by the deputy director of the hospital on Thursday. The electric power supply to the office was disconnected as well.

The doctors were having a meeting with medical specialists working in Khartoum, and managed to continue their discussion "in spite of the obstacles".

The specialists explained in the meeting their rejection of the Khartoum Centre for Training, established by the state Ministry of Health. According to them, the Centre 's activities do not meet the rules and regulations of the Sudan Council of Medical Specialities, and underestimates the importance of medical training.

The Doctors' Committee stated that the continuing harassment by the security apparatus is meant to hinder the medics' increased actions to demand their rights.

The doctors as well denounced the daily summoning of three of its members, Mohamed Yasin, Mohamed Imam, and Ayoub Hassanein. by the NISS in Khartoum since November last year.

Working conditions

Doctors and medical professionals in various parts of Sudan embarked on an open-ended strike on 6 October 2016. They demanded protection while working, a pay rise, and better working conditions. A week later the medical staff of 136 state hospitals had joined the action.

The doctors temporarily called off the strike on 13 October, after a meeting with Second Vice-President Hasabo Abdelrahman and the federal Minister of Health Bahar Abu Garda in which the latter agreed to meet all the doctors' demands.

Early November, the Doctors' Committee announced the resumption of their strike for two days, and not much later three days a week, as "the authorities did not keep their commitments". The NISS, that had been harassing striking medics before, began detaining them.

In mid-November 14 doctors were being held incommunicado by the NISS. At least 49 other doctors across Sudan were summoned by the NISS and ordered to report daily to security offices. Several medics were threatened with dismissal or actually sacked from their jobs at state owned hospitals.

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