Rights abuses threaten Sudan elections

March 21, 2010 at 2:03 PM

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 21 (UPI) -- Political repression and other rights abuses threaten chances of a fair general election in the Sudan, a rights advocacy group charges.

"Conditions in Sudan are not yet conducive for a free, fair, and credible election," Georgette Gagnon of Human Rights Watch said in a release Sunday.

The Government of National Unity and the Government of South Sudan are both violating rights and restricting freedoms that could threaten the April elections, the country's first in 25 years, the release said.

"Unless there's a dramatic improvement in the situation it's unlikely that the Sudanese people will be able to vote freely for leaders of their choice," Gagnon said.

Activists and opposition figures are being arrested by the northern national government, which controls the state-owned media, while in Southern Sudan the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement has been physically assaulting and arresting members of opposition political parties, Human Rights Watch charges.

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