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Jul-07-2014 15:32printcomments

Sudan: Closure of Salmmah Women's Resource Centre

Since 1997, the organisation has worked to promote women's rights and gender equality.

Ms Fahima Hashim
Salmmah Women's Resource Centre's director, human rights defender Ms Fahima Hashim.

(LONDON) - HE Mr. Abdelrahman Dhirar Ambassador
Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Sudan to the United Nations in Geneva
Avenue Blanc 51-53 (3rd Floor)
1202 Geneva
Fax: +41 22 716 19 70

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights activist and freelance journalist.

I am informed by Frontline defenders that on 24 June 2014, the Ministry of Justice cancelled the registration license of human rights organisation the Salmmah Women's Resource Centre, and initiated the immediate liquidation of the organisation, leading to its closure on the same day.

It is reported that the decision is in response to the work of the organisation's director, human rights defender Ms Fahima Hashim.

The Salmmah Women's Resource Centre is registered as a non-profit company with the Ministry of Justice. Founded in 1997, the organisation works with women and young people to promote women's rights and gender equality through research, training, advocacy and publications.

Fahima Hashim works in women's rights and sexuality, as well as violence against women. The human rights defender coordinated the One Billion Rising in Sudan on 14 February 2013, in which 700 women participated.

On 24 June 2014, a five-person dissolution committee from the registrar of companies at the Ministry of Justice arrived at the offices of the Salmmah Women's Resource Centre to oversee the dissolution process, accompanied by men wearing civilian clothes who refused to disclose their identity.

The group ordered staff of the organisation to leave their offices, seized company documents and assets, and closed the organisation. Three individuals remained to guard the premises, and it is reported that the implementation of the dissolution did not follow the due process.

Earlier that day, Fahima Hashim had received a letter, signed and stamped by the Ministry ordering the cancellation of the Salmmah Women's Resource Centre's license and the immediate liquidation of the organisation.

The letter referred to the appointment of the five-person committee to supervise the process. The decision to close down the organisation was reportedly made without providing any reasons. The closure comes soon after Fahima Hashim's appearance as a speaker at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, held in London from 10 to 13 June 2014.

I wish to express my concern at the decision to dissolve the Salmmah Women's Resource Centre and the confiscation of its property, which is believed to be solely related to the legitimate and peaceful human rights activities of Fahima Hashim and the organisation. Furthermore, I am concerned by the continuous crackdown on the civil society and human rights defenders by the Sudanese authorities.

I urge the authorities in Sudan to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally reverse the decision to close down the Salmah Women's Resource Centre, as it is solely motivated by Fahima Hashim and the organisation's legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;
  2. Return the documents and assets confiscated during the dissolution, as they are manifestly not linked to any criminal activity;
  3. Cease targeting human rights defenders in Sudan, and guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Sincerely, William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Activist and Freelance Journalist Twitter: @Wnicholasgomes

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