Human Rights Group Urge Elon Musk To Restore Starlink Internet Service In War-Torn Sudan

Sudanese residents have been cut off from mobile networks for weeks due to war

SpaceX, the operator of the Starlink internet service, had notified subscribers in war-torn Sudan that it would cease operating in the country effective April 30. Notably, Sudanese residents, cut off from mobile networks for weeks due to war between rival military factions had been using Starlink satellite connections to access the internet. 

The company stated, ”According to the terms of use, the service is only allowed to be used in countries authorized to operate the service.”

Nearly hundreds of humanitarian organisations are now urging Starlink’s chief Elon Musk to restore the satellite internet service, as not doing so could ”collectively punish” millions of Sudanese.

A coalition of 94 rights organisations operating in Sudan issued a statement, ”Any shutdown of telecommunication services is a violation of human rights and may be considered to be a collective punishment that will not only isolate individuals from their support networks but also exacerbate the already dire economic situation facing millions.”

The statement added: ”The potential shutdown of Starlink would have a disproportionate impact on civilians and the aid organisations who are trying to reach them.”

The statement further noted that nearly 30 million Sudanese were left without Internet or phone access for over a month due to a nationwide telecommunications outage in February 2024. 

That internet connection is the only way for civilians to receive cash transfers from relatives abroad, as most Sudanese have gone without salaries since the war began.

Sudan has been at war since April 15, 2023, following a violent clash between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Over a year of relentless warfare and violence has killed thousands and destroyed homes, towns, livelihoods, and critical civilian infrastructure. It has led to widespread displacement, making it the largest such crisis globally, according to the UN.

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