Human rights activist
2 February 1939, Wad Madani, Sudan
31 August 2018
Dr. Amin Mekki Medani (February 2, 1939 – August 31, 2018)( Arabic: د. ٱمين مكي مدني ) was a renowned Sudanese lawyer, politician, and human rights activist. He was the president of the Confederation of Sudanese Civil Society, Vice President of Civil Society Initiative, and President of the Sudan Human Rights Monitor (SHRM). He served as head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) office in the West Bank and Gaza, Chief of Mission of the OHCHR in Zagreb, Croatia, legal advisor to the Special Representative of the U.N Secretary-General in Iraq as well as Afghanistan, and a Regional Representative for the OHCHR in Beirut, Lebanon. He held a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in Comparative Criminal Law. He was the 1991 recipient of the Human Rights Watch Award for Human Rights Monitoring and 1991 Recipient of the American Bar Association Human Rights Award, as well as the 2013 recipient for the European Union Human Rights award
Born in 1939 in Wad Madani, Al Jazeera State during the British occupation of Sudan. He comes from one of Wad Madani’s prominent families. His father was the first Sudanese Undersecretary of the Ministry of Irrigation, as well as a member of the Umma Party.
After graduating high school in Wad Madani, Medani, studied law at the University of Khartoum, obtaining his LL.B. with (Honours). Then in 1964, he received his Dipl. Civ.L. (Civil Law) from the University of Luxembourg. Then went on to receive a masters (LLM) with distinction at the University of London in 1965, and finally in 1970 he received a PhD, in Comparative Criminal Law from the University of Edinburgh.
In 1962 after obtaining his LLB, he started working as a magistrate in the Judiciary of Sudan. Then in 1966, upon his return from London, he joined the faculty of law at Khartoum University, as a Senior Scholar and Lecturer until 1971. To which then he became the Acting Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Tanzania. Then as an attorney to the World Bank in Washington DC. In 1976 he returned to Khartoum and worked at the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, in this time he also started his fighting for a democratic government in Sudan. In 1985, after the revolution that overthrew the Nimeiry dictatorship, he was appointed as Minister of Peace, Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs by then democratically elected Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. In 1991, he was imprisoned, then expelled from Sudan by the Al-Bashir regime. To which then he fled to Cairo and worked at the Egyptian Bar Association.
Dr. Medani previously served as head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) office in the West Bank and Gaza, Chief of Mission of the OHCHR in Zagreb, Croatia, legal advisor to the Special Representative of the U.N Secretary-General in Iraq as well as Afghanistan, and a Regional Representative for the OHCHR in Beirut, Lebanon.
Elkarib & Medani
Dr. Amin Mekki Medani established his law firm in 1978 along with Mr. Eltigani Elkarib, and the law firm is now the most successful in the country. Some of its clients include the US Embassy, the British Embassy, French Embassy, Canadian Embassy, and the Bank of Khartoum
Recent Human Rights Efforts
In December of 2014, after returning from the signing of the Sudan Call held in Addis Ababa, Dr. Medani was arrested when a large number of personnel from the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), arrived at his home in Khartoum just before midnight on Saturday, 6 December. Although his family was not informed of the reasons for the arrest, it is believed he was arrested for signing the “Sudan Call” on behalf of the Civil Society Initiative. The Sudan Call is a statement signed by representatives from political and armed opposition parties, to work towards the ending of the conflicts in Sudan in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile and build a foundation for a lasting democracy based on equal citizenship and comprehensive peace. He had been held incommunicado in an unknown location until the 21st of December, 2014, when Dr. Medani was transferred to Kober Prison in Khartoum. On the 22nd of December, Dr. Medani was finally permitted to meet with his lawyers and two days later with his family. On January 10, 2015 he was charged under Article 50 (undermining the constitutional system) and Article 51 (waging war against the state) in the 1991 Criminal Code. His trial before a special court created under the 1991 anti-terror law started on February 23. He was released five months later on April 9, 2015.
On August 31, 2018, after a long battle with heart disease and kidney failure, Dr. Mekki Medani passed away. His passing was seen and televised all over Sudan. The US, British, French, and Canadian Embassies, as well as many other international organisations and public figures, published statements to mourn his loss.
Amin Mekki Medani Foundation
In 2018, shortly after the death of Dr. Medani, the Amin Mekki Medani Foundation was founded. The foundation focuses on the pursuit of human rights, civil and political liberties, fighting for democracy, and many pressing issues, such as, the work of addressing injustices, and highlighting the lifetimes spent by the tireless effort of the human rights and political activists in the country. The foundation is supported by many international organizations and governments in hoping to help spread the realization of justice in Sudan.