|[December 30, 2013]
Sudanese Advocates Risk Their Lives to Bring Freedom to Their Country
RICHMOND, Va. --(Business Wire)--
On December 30, 2013, Hardwired, Inc. made it possible for two prominent
Sudanese human rights advocates to flee imminent torture and continue
their work promoting constitutional reform among the Sudanese people
from the US. Six months ago, Safwan Hegaze and Nahmia Shaloka fled their
country after they were interrogated by Sudan's National Security office
designated for "Christian Affairs" and threatened with torture for
advocating religious freedom in Sudan's draft constitution.
"We left everything behind in Sudan and I wasn't sure how I would be
able to help my people again," said Shaloka. "But when Hardwired made it
possible for us to continue our studies in the US, my hope was restored
because we can keep working to bring justice and unity for people of all
faiths in Sudan."
Hardwired's founder, Tina Ramirez, met Hegaze and Shaloka at a
conference that brought Sudanese Christian, Muslim, and minority rights
leaders together to learn how to advocate for each other in their new
constitution. "We knew the government was against religious freedom, but
since Bashir's policies of religious oppression affect every Sudanese
regardless of their gender, religion, or ethnicity, I believe it is the
best antidote for their freedom," said Ramirez. When the advocates were
arrested, she immediately worked to suppot them so they could continue
their important work.
Following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, President Omar al
Bashir, threatened to impose criminal sharia and attacked those
promoting constitutional reform. Hegaze said, "We wanted to make our
country better so everyone could live together in peace and freedom but
the government doesn't want anyone to know their rights and for this we
were threatened with torture and forced to flee for our lives." He
continued, "I left my family, work, and friends in the middle of the
night and then I cried for my country, asking myself, 'Why is our
country like this?'"
When he crossed the border from Sudan, Hegaze told himself, "I have to
forget what has happened and find a new way start to fight again to help
our country rebuild through a new constitution that protects the rights
of everyone because our country is diverse and cannot be governed by one
idea or vision or religion." He continued, "I'm so thankful for the
opportunity to be here in the land of freedom and I want to make the
most of this opportunity for my people because everyone has a right to
be a part of the new constitution and future of Sudan."
Hegaze and Shaloka will also help Hardwired train young leaders in South
Sudan to help the new nation transition from a sharia-based legal system
to a common law-based legal system.
"Hardwired supports young leaders like these working together regardless
of their beliefs to help end religious oppression for the benefit of
all," said Ramirez. "They risked their lives for the sake of the dignity
of others and the freedom of their country. We must stand with them."
About Hardwired: Hardwired is a non-profit organization working to end
religious oppression worldwide. Training advocates to defend their
rights under international human rights law and utilize social networks
to mobilize public support in otherwise closed countries is Hardwired's
mission. To learn more, please visit us at www.hardwiredglobal.org.
To learn more about Hardwired's work or to interview Hegaze and Shaloka
about the situation in Sudan and/or South Sudan, please contact Bethany
Haley at 623-238-2233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]