A court in Khartoum Bahri ordered the demolition of part of a church building belonging to the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) on Feb. 15.
The legal battle over the Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church has been ongoing since 2013. In 2014 and 2015, contested court decisions allowed the blocking of the main entrances to the church building. This demolition will block the last remaining entry point to the building.
The SPEC denomination has faced interference in its affairs from the Sudanese military since it seized power in a coup on Oct. 25, 2021. Property belonging to the church has been confiscated, and several church leaders are facing criminal charges.
Additionally, the Governor of Khartoum, Eltayeb Elshiekh, issued a decision establishing the General Administration of Religious Affairs on Feb. 10. The department’s stated aims are spreading the values of religion, promoting discourse and combatting extremism, atheism and deviant beliefs.
“It is disturbing that even amid the uncertain political situation in Sudan, the regime appears to be prioritizing gratuitous interference into church affairs, bringing to mind the tactics employed by the al Bashir government. It is also worrying that a nation that acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its expanded articulation of the right to freedom of religion or belief is now equating atheism with extremism and deviant beliefs," CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said. "CSW calls for the SPEC church in Khartoum Bahri to be permitted to continue to function as a place of worship and for Sudan to respect in full the international human rights obligations it willingly signed up to. We note that these violations are taking place under an unelected military regime, and appeal to Sudan’s international partners to insist as a matter of urgency on progress towards the restoration of democracy, and an end to human rights violations and unwarranted interference in the affairs of religious institutions during bilateral and multilateral dialogues with the Sudanese military.”