Teachers in Sudan are facing court action next Monday in Khartoum, the capital. The teachers - Yasin Hassan A.Kareem and Yasir Ali Mohamed Kheir - are the chair and spokesperson for the Khartoum teachers committee. The committee was set up to challenge the government teachers' union over its deductions from their salaries, which the committee says is in excess of the amount needed to cover insurance.

Because the teachers have challenged the official union, they are in breach of Sudanese law, which does not permit independent union organisation. As an email to this website explains, 'Because those teachers dared to question the union, and form a committee against the extractions they are now facing trial. This committee according to sudanese union law is illegal, because only unions approved by the government are allowed. This issue has been ongoing since 2012. What is new is the court case against the committee.'

According to the website www.refworld.org:  'Trade unionists outside the pro-government trade unions live under constant fear and do not dare denounce inhumane work conditions. Independent trade unionists are not able to participate in international trade union meetings for fear of reprisal when they return home. Accurate information about the numbers of trade unionists in prison and their whereabouts is difficult to obtain . Doctors went on strike during the year in frustration at repeated broken promises by the health ministry over pay and conditions. They were clearly expecting the worst: the former president of the Physicians Committee, Ahmad Al-Abwabi, urged security agencies not to attack doctors by arresting or beating them up as has happened in the past.'

Earlier this year teacher and mother of six, Jalila Khamis Koko was released after spending nine months in jail for offences against the state, two of which were subject to the death penalty. Her crime had been to speak out against the inhuman conditions in conflict areas as a result of the protracted civil war in the country and belonging to a party in opposition to the government. 

In September there were mass protests by high school students and others in Khartoum against 'austerity' measures, imposed on the government by the International Monetary Fund, which included a doubling of the price of fuel, causing increased hardship to the people. The protests were violently put down by security forces, shooting to kill, which left between 50 and 100 protesters dead. Like most teachers in the global South, teachers in Sudan are on poverty wages - $80 to $120 a month - and no rights to build a trade union to support them and the fight for education in the country.

This website sends its solidarity to Yasin Hassan A.Kareem and Yasir Ali Mohamed Kheir and their allies on the Khartoum Teachers Committee for their trial on Monday.