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HRW urges to remove militiamen from girls’ school in South Kordofan

Pupils of Abujubaiha primary school, South Kordofan, in January 2020 (EU photo)
July 29, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Sudan’s transitional government to remove militiamen of the Rapid Support Forces from a girls’ school in Kadugli of South Kordofan.

On 14th June 2020, Rapid Support Force (RSF) troops invaded Elzahraa girls primary school at Telu neighbourhood of Kadugli town, reported a local human rights group, HUDO, in a statement extended released earlier this month.

The office of RSF spokesman did not deny the news when reached by Sudan Tribune for comment on the claim but declined to confirm it. However, local sources confirmed the seizure of the school.

Alex Firth, an HRW Associate, Children’s Rights Division wrote an article condemning the move which affects the already fragile girls’ education in the war-hit South Kordofan state.

"Sudan endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration in 2015, which includes a pledge to protect schools from military use. Sudan was praised when it subsequently circulated a command order prohibiting military use of schools and vacated three schools," Firth wrote.

"Sudan’s new transitional government has committed to upholding rights and democratic principles. By not protecting all schools, it is failing to live up to these promises and risks unnecessarily prolonging the pandemic’s damage," he further stressed.

In an update about the situation of the school on 26 July, HUDO said that the South Kordofan military governor had pledged to address the issue in a meeting with Resistance Committee formed of youth who supported the revolution.

However, an activist recently informed the right group that pupils of Class Eight have been transferred to another school to perform the annual final examinations.

"This means that the state government is not willing or is not able to send away the RSF soldiers," said HUDO.

Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok appointed civilian governments this week.