Sudan and the community of human rights defenders lose a great activist – A Tribute to Osman Hummaida

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FIDH is deeply saddened by the death, on 17 April 2014, of Osman Hummaida, a friend and a prominent Sudanese human rights defender. Osman Hummaida was the founder and Executive Director of the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies, FIDH member organisation. Sudan and the community of human rights defenders have lost a great activist.

Osman Hummaida embodied dedication to the cause of justice and peace. For over 30 years, he fought selflessly against arbitrariness, violence and impunity in his own country, Sudan, and all over the world. This is a sad day for the community of human rights defenders. We lost a remarkable activist who relentlessly fought to have law prevail over violence. The heritage of Osman Hummaida compels us to continue his battle said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

Osman Hummaida showed unfailing courage. He fought relentlessly to put an end to extra-judicial killings, indiscriminate bombings, pillaging, forced displacement and other serious violations perpetrated for several years against civilians in many regions of Sudan. He never ceased to denounce impunity for the perpetrators of these abominable crimes. Because of his involvement, Osman Hummaida suffered the wrath of the regime and was subjected to arbitrary arrest, harassment and other forms of intimidation. In 2008, the authorities suspected him of transmitting information to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on crimes committed in Darfur. He was arrested, held in remand, and tortured by the intelligence services. He had to flee his country and continue his fight from his place of exile … the place of exile where he founded the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies that is now a reference organisation that documents and denounces human rights violations committed in Sudan.

Because of his fight for human rights and against impunity, Osman Hummaida was especially targeted by the Sudanese authorities. But his courage emboldened him never to lose nerve in confronting the violence of the regime. He has left an immense heritage for hundreds of activists. We will continue fighting alongside them so that Sudan, at last, embarks on the road to democracy and human rights, said Souhayr Belhassen, Honorary President of FIDH.

The courage and energy of Osman Hummaida to make the voice of the Sudanese victims heard was an example for all. Untiring activist, his interventions before the African Union, the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council contributed to the adoption of major decisions in support of human rights in Sudan, said Marceau Sivieude, FIDH Director of Operations.

Osman Hummaida fought on all battlefronts. The universal principles that he incarnated inspired him to accompany FIDH and its member organisations wherever serious violations of human rights occurred. In Zimbabwe, Chad, Kenya and more recently on Libya and Syria, he trained and supported defenders and pleaded to have their rights and freedoms guaranteed unconditionally. Osman Hummaida was a defender from the start who stood out because of his strength and convictions. We are paying tribute to a person and to his universal combat for human rights, said Mabassa Fall, FIDH Representative to the African Union.

FIDH and its 178 member organisations regret the death of Osman Hummaida and offer their sincerest condolences to his family, his wife Azza and his children, and to everyone who worked with him to bring about justice and peace in Sudan and throughout the world. FIDH is thinking especially of his friends and colleagues at the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies and wishes to express its profound solidarity with them.

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