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Sudan government bans Sudanese Writers Union

On January 29, 2015, the Sudanese Writers Union (SWU), the umbrella organization of the Sudanese Writers, was involuntarily dissolved and its cultural activities banned by the government, particularly the Registrar of the Cultural Groups of Ministry of Culture, Sudan. In a press release issued February 1, the SWU said it will pursue “all possible means to regain the rightful status the Union deserves.”

The SWU is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, autonomous, cultural group of about 300 members founded in 1985 in Khartoum, Sudan, that represents all writers in creative arts and sciences. It organizes regular literary debates, workshops and training courses, reviews and inaugurates new books, convenes seminars and symposia, holds public lectures, and publishes an Arabic bi-annual peer-reviewed magazine, karama. The SWU recently joined the International Authors Forum (IAF) of which TAA is also a member.

“The Text and Academic Authors Association considers any governmental attempt to curb freedom of expression for cultural and educational purposes to be an intolerable event. We support the Sudanese Writer’s Union in its fight to regain freedom of expression and active status,” said TAA President Karen Morris.

This is the second time the Sudanese government has banned the activities of the SWU. The first ban, which included a confiscation of the Union’s assets and a “reallocation” of its venue, was in 1989. That ban lasted 16 years, until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 allowed for the Union’s reinstatement in 2006.

“At this historic juncture, the SWU would like to thank all civil society organizations, the press and respectable personalities inland and abroad who showed concern and solidarity and denounced this unlawful, unjustified ban,” said the SWU in a press release issued on February 1. “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. With your support and solidarity, we would prevail; we would triumph over oppression; we would eventually celebrate the third rebirth of the Sudanese Writers Union.”

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