Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

The Worst of the Worst 2011 - Sudan

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 1 June 2011
Cite as Freedom House, The Worst of the Worst 2011 - Sudan, 1 June 2011, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 43,200,000
Capital: Khartoum

Political Rights: 7
Civil Liberties: 7
Status: Not Free

Ten-Year Ratings Timeline for Year under Review
(Political Rights, Civil Liberties, Status)
Year Under Review2001200220032004200520062007200820092010

2010 Key Developments: Sudan's first national, multiparty elections in 24 years, held in April 2010, were marred by fraud involving the main parties in the North and the South. President Omar al-Bashir won another five-year term but faced mounting pressure from the International Criminal Court, which in July issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of genocide in the Darfur region. Fighting intensified in Darfur during the year, after one of the main rebel movements pulled out of peace talks. Meanwhile, the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) prepared to hold a referendum on independence from the North in early 2011.

Political Rights: Sudan is not an electoral democracy. The transitional government and legislature in place until May 2010 were unelected, and the presidential and legislative elections of April 2010 failed to meet international standards. There were irregularities at every stage of the polls and voting period. Most candidates were not allowed to campaign freely, and the National Elections Commission was accused of favoring the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). Much of the opposition boycotted the elections, allowing the NCP to win in the North and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement to win in the South. Sudan is considered one of the world's most corrupt states. Corruption and nepotism are also serious problems in the GoSS, whose institutions are chronically weak. However, an anticorruption commission established by the Southern authorities recovered approximately $5 million in misappropriated funds in 2010.

Civil Liberties: The news media continue to face significant obstacles. The 2009 Press and Publication Act allows a government-appointed Press Council to prevent publication or broadcast of material it deems unsuitable, temporarily shut down newspapers, and impose heavy fines on those who break the rules. However, numerous privately owned dailies and weeklies were able to provide a range of views, including those of the opposition and the GoSS. Religious freedom, though guaranteed by the 2005 interim constitution, is not upheld in many parts of the country. The Christian minority in the North continues to face discrimination and harassment. The operating environment for nongovernmental organizations remained difficult in 2010, particularly in Darfur, where aid workers faced obstruction from the government and rebel groups. The judiciary is not independent. The police and security forces routinely exceed the authority established under the new National Security Act, which gives the intelligence and security service sweeping powers to seize property, conduct surveillance, search premises, and detain suspects without judicial review. Torture is reportedly common. It is widely accepted that the government has directed and assisted the systematic killing of tens or even hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur since 2003, including through its support for militia groups that have terrorized civilians. Human rights groups have documented the widespread use of rape, the organized burning of villages, and the forced displacement of entire communities. Islamic law denies Northern women equitable rights in marriage, inheritance, and divorce. Female genital mutilation is widely practiced.

Copyright notice: © Freedom House, Inc. · All Rights Reserved

Search Refworld