Sudan: Families of the Missing - Sweet Hope Vs Bitter Uncertainty

8 September 2019
analysis

Ninety days have lapsed since Ismail went missing after the bloody crackdown upon the sit-in gathering at Sudan's army HQs on June 3rd.

Ever since Ismail's mother has been shedding bitter tears in grief over his undeclared absence; but yet still, she has never lost hope that one day Ismail may come back home alive and well.

Ismail was among many Sudanese sit-in protestors who were declared missing after the bloody dispersal of the sit-in gathering at Sudan's army HQs. His grieved family, just like all other families with members that had gone missing upon the crackdown, has saved no effort looking for him at every possible location. However, Ismail's family still holds on to a faint hope that he may be detained somewhere at one of the numerous camouflaged detention centres crafted by the defunct Bashir's regime.

Condemning the bloody crackdown on the sit-in area that lead to many fatalities and casualties, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) warned that enforced and involuntary disappearance of sit-in protestors constitutes a grave crime against humanity under international human laws.

Ismail's family is not alone in its suffering, as there are over 60 Sudanese families sharing the same grief ever since their beloved ones went missing upon the bloody crackdown on sit-in protestors by military forces on the 3rd of June 2019.

Since the sit-in massacre day, around 40 missing individuals have been located or found at different hospitals and morgues as declared by the Sudanese Professionals' Association on August, 8th.

Five days after the sit-in massacre, a group of protestors launched an initiative entitled "Mafgood", i.e. "Missing", to help grieved families locate and find their family members who went missing following the bloody dispersal of the sit-in by military forces.

So far more than 128 bodies of sit-in protestors have been found, while many missing reports have been received, as stated by Wael Mobarak Khidir, the media spokesperson of the initiative. The initiative has also launched a Face-book page that has more than thirty thousand followers.

Khidir stated that the initiative website members do share information about missing individuals; and recently a 6-member coordination committee and a field committee have been established to follow up with hospitals and morgues.

He states that the initiative group communicates directly with the families of missing individuals to gather information and details about their missing ones such as physical features and missing dates. Families are also being informed first hand of located bodies at any morgue for identification purpose.

"Mafgood" initiative has posted on its Face-book page photographs of a number of missing individuals with brief personal details such as the name and missing date. The initiative webpage subscribers have also posted video clips depicting certain missing individuals at the sit-in area during the bloody dispersal incidence. The initiative webpage also contains a list of all missing individuals since the start of December Revolution.

Khidir told Sudanow that they keep updating their missing list on continuous basis, and further added that although the webpage is mainly devoted to those individuals who were declared missing during the revolution, they are nonetheless handling requests to help find individuals who went missing for other various reasons.

He promised to allocate the webpage in future for victims of forced disappearance in general.

He also stated that the "Mafgood" initiative has helped in arranging and providing medical care to returnees in coordination with the psychiatrists association and the Sudan's legitimate Doctors Union. The initiative also works in close coordination with the Police force, hospitals, morgues and other law enforcement agencies.

At a recent press conference, "Mafgood" initiative spokespersons put the number of missing individuals at 22 persons of whom 10 went missing during the sit-in crackdown.

On the media level, Khidir explained that their media team had distributed the first and second leaflets to a great number of news agencies and had arranged many TV and press interviews on the issue. Missing lists together with photos of missing individuals have also been handed over to a number of specialized institutions that handle cases of forced disappearance and victims of violence.

A uniform hashtag has also been launched on all social media channels to keep track of missing individuals' news.

Khidir further informed Sudanow that the initiative's coordinating committee had met with His Excellency the British ambassador to Sudan Mr. Irfan Siddiq at the British embassy in Khartoum where he pledged the British embassy's cooperation in the missing individuals' issue.

The coordinating committee, in coordination with the Democratic Lawyers Association, has filed a legal memorandum to the Attorney General demanding the disclosure of detention locations of missing individuals and immediate release of detainees.

Another memorandum has been raised to the national human rights commission demanding the adoption of tangible serious measures to locate and find missing individuals including the formation of ad-hoc committees to this end.

During the same press conference of "Mafgood" initiative, Sovereign Council member HE Mohammed Hassan Al-Taaishi confirmed that the transitional government would play a vital role in investigating the circumstances of forced disappearances and pledged a final conclusion to the "forced disappearance" file during the transitional government term.

It is noteworthy that the Professionals Association Group organized and launched a number of street demonstrations on 30th August 2019 to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance, demanding acceleration of investigation and trial procedures for all individuals involved in the murder and forced disappearance of protestors.

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