February 4, 2015 – The Sudanese Writers’ Union (SWU) has been effectively dissolved by the Ministry of Culture in Sudan. Reports from the International Authors Forum (IAF) in London suggest this was a politically motivated attack on free speech ahead of an upcoming general election in the African nation.
The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) is a founding member of the IAF, and joins with over 35 national writing organizations (representing 250,000 authors) worldwide in offering its solidarity to the Sudanese Writers’ Union.
“This chilling development in Sudan reminds us that expression free of political interference is always a vulnerable human right,” said TWUC Chair, Harry Thurston.
The SWU has suffered similar interference in the past, most notably when it was banned for 16 consecutive years beginning in 1989 after a military coup ended the civilian government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, who was himself an SWU member.
Representatives of the SWU have reacted to this latest announcement with a public statement:
“The SWU would like to state clearly that it does not approve or accept this ban, and condemns the way it has been carried out. The SWU would like to assure its members, associates, partners, and friends nationally, internationally, and regionally that it would pursue all possible means to regain the rightful status the Union deserves.”