WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement on the Government of Sudan’s attempts to target Wini Omer.

“I am deeply concerned about the Government of Sudan’s repeated attempts to target Wini Omer, a Sudanese journalist and outspoken advocate for women’s rights.  I call upon the government of Sudan to drop charges against her and repeal legislation that threatens civil liberties and the rights of women throughout the country. 

"Wini Omer is one of thousands of women charged under Sudan's Public Order laws, a wide-ranging policy that places restrictions on personal behavior and public expression, and is disproportionately used to target and oppress women. Almost any mixed social gathering is prohibited under this practice, which erodes civil liberties and fundamental human rights of the people of Sudan.  

"Wini Omer's case is just one example of a pattern of attempts by the Government of Sudan to stifle dissent, to prevent criticism of the government, and to intimidate its citizens.  Sudanese authorities have used a range of tactics, including morality codes and draconian national security laws to silence defenders of human rights. These types of policies are discriminatory, repressive tools that have no place in a free, equal, and democratic society. Harassment of journalists, like Wini, also highlights the intimidation, censorship, newspaper seizures, and other ways in which the government tries to gag the media. 

"I urge the Government of Sudan to adhere to the values enshrined in its Constitution. With elections approaching in 2020, Sudan should demonstrate that it is committed to democracy and respecting the rights of its citizens.”