Sudan Update provides an information and referral service for individuals and organisations seeking a politically non-aligned briefing on the situation in Sudan, and has gained international respect and recognition for its role in networking hard-to-obtain news.
Its news review draws on a broad spectrum of sources, ranging from the Sudan government's media and the output of the Sudanese opposition groups to international analysts and commentators.
Sudan Update bridges the gap between specialist and academic sources and mainstream workers in the media and elsewhere.
It has become the first point
of reference for a broad variety of inquiries relating to Sudan from all
over the world.
Background to the Project
Conflict in Sudan has intensified since the seizure of power on 30 June 1989 by a military regime headed by Lt-Gen Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
The regime has been accused of widespread and systematic human rights abuses. Its principal opponent in the south of the country, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, has also been accused of human rights abuses and both sides are known for obstruction of news-gathering.
Many Sudanese journalists have been detained or prevented from working, and the range of views permitted in the legitimate press in Sudan has been drastically narrowed.
Debate about the country's needs has been stifled. Foreign journalists and aid workers have encountered increasing difficulties in operating in Sudan; some have even been killed.
Western mass media attention has been fragmentary and is often limited to stereotypical representation.
In order to keep track of events, to begin to make sense of the upheavals in the country, and to prepare the ground for the rebuilding of civil society, there is a clear need to collate mainstream and specialist reporting on Sudan.
Go to news review archive
Since June 1989 we have published the Sudan Update newsletter, an independent media review which collates a broad spectrum of news and commentary on Sudanese current affairs.
The news review presents a digest of news and comment taken from publications and broadcasts in Arabic, French, German, Italian and English. Each original source is clearly indicated, and the newsletter does not impose editorial opinions.
Sudan Update operates on an independent, non-partisan basis. Announcements from the opposition political parties and movements are treated evenhandedly alongside material from official government sources and external commentators. The editorial advisory team includes Muslims and Christians, Sudanese and non-Sudanese.
Information for Sudan Update is collected by a network of specialists in Sudanese affairs working on a voluntary basis. The editor works in regular consultation with an advisory group of acknowledged experts. He commissions translations, handles inquiries and edits the newsletter, assisted by volunteers for fundraising, administration and mailing.
Sudan Update's editor and editorial advisors are required to maintain an objective, non-partisan stance and not to use their position to promote or exclude particular political, religious or other ideological viewpoints.
A typical edition of Sudan Update condenses two weeks' news into four pages. It covers political events in Northern and Southern Sudan, current peace initiatives, humanitarian assistance, developments in the war, foreign relations, human rights news, book reviews and announcements of cultural interest. We seek to draw attention to women's experiences in material selected for the newsletter, and to highlight articles which reflect the role of ecological degradation and environmental pressure in the conflict and beyond the war zones.
Amongst others the newsletter
is sent to Australia, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Holland,
Italy, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Thailand,
USA, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The Sudan Update office has several other vital functions. It compiles background documents for advocacy purposes and conducts research and liaison work for the media, non-government organisations, lawyers, parliamentarians, academics and human rights bodies. Since 1993 we have frequently assisted the legal representatives of Sudanese asylum-seekers abroad.
Briefings and conferences
The project's output reflects the complexity of the issues involved in establishing peace in Sudan. It helps to inform government and non-government researchers and decision-makers, not only through the newsletter but also through addresses to international conferences, briefings and contributions to specialist publications and interviews with the world's media.
The editor and editorial advisors are in frequent contact with a broad range of Sudan analysts and observers, including the Sudan Studies Society of the UK. We engage in regular consultation, skills sharing and cooperation with Sudanese organisations.
"Famine Now" - all-party emergency conference proceedings (1991).
US Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights (1994-97) critiques of US State Department reports on human rights practices in Sudan.
Minority Rights Group's 1995
report "Sudan - Minorities in Conflict".
"Slavery in Sudan" (1997),
published jointly with Anti-Slavery International.
"Does Allah like music?"
Index on Censorship music edition, Winter 1998.
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