Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) says that the internet shutdown, which it ordered on Monday June 10 will continue. Spokesman Lt Gen Shamseldin Kabbashi set no specific date for the internet to be restored.
Khalid Omar, secretary-general of the Sudanese Congress Party and a leading member of the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) said that “by blocking the internet, the junta aims to curtail the most important communication link between the AFC and the Sudanese people. In that way the TMC can fill the vacuum in (social) media with rumours and misinformation, in order to question and manipulate the unity of the people.”
Omar stressed that “the AFC reflects the voice of the Sudanese people united against the military coup and represents the voice of the Sudanese revolution, which cannot be affected by cutting-off the internet”.
Amnesty International the internet blackout an irresponsible decision that will cause heavy losses at various levels. It demanded that the internet be restored immediately.
Ahmed Zubair, researcher at the Amnesty International East African Office in Nairobi, told Radio Dabanga that the purpose of cutting the internet was to cover up the June 3rd crimes and prevent activists and dissidents from publishing their views.
He pointed out that cutting internet services is causing the country huge losses, estimated at $7 million a day. Banks and economic, educational, and media institutions rely for their work on the internet and cannot work without it.
Zubair said that the UN Security Council, the African Union, and many human rights organisations have called for the restoration of the internet in Sudan.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday that the Sudanese authorities should immediately restore access to the internet as it is vital for emergency communications, including information from health care providers, and to access other basic information in times of crisis.
“If the Transitional Military Council genuinely intends to restore peace and maintain good will with civilian opposition leaders, it should reverse this dangerous shutdown, which puts even more lives at risk,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, acting emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. “These shutdowns blatantly repress the rights of the people the military council claims it wants to have a dialogue with.”
The international NGO Access Now, that defends and extends the digital rights of users at risk around the world, sees a direct link between internet shutdowns and human rights violations in Sudan. It called upon the Sudanese Transitional Military Council and the telecom service providers in Sudan to turn and keep the internet on.
In a statement earlier this week Access Now said: “From what we can observe it is clear that mobile internet shutdowns have exacerbated the human rights violations being committed in Sudan. It is common for families that are unable to find their loved ones to post their pictures in an attempt to crowd-source their whereabouts. Because of the mobile internet shutdown, many people may be unable to find out whether their friends and families are alive.”