Hollywood celebrities, businesses and governments around the world are urging people to pay attention to Sudan's bloody people-led push for democracy.
The North African nation has been marred by serious protests as citizens demand a transition to democracy, news.com.au reports.
An accompanying social media movement has caught the attention of world leaders and Hollywood celebrities, which is all part of the plan to coax Western governments to increase international pressure on the ruling military in Sudan.
WHAT'S GOING ON IN SUDAN?
Since 1989, Sudan had been ruled by President Omar al-Bashir.
Last December, he imposed severe austerity measures in the country, limiting access to bread, fuel and cash.
The people of Sudan responded with protests, and al-Bashir was finally ousted in April this year.
The country has since been led by a transitional military council, which the protesters are calling on to implement civilian-led democratic elections.
These protests have not been pretty. The military responded by cracking down, bringing in the Rapid Support Forces — a paramilitary group led by a war lord who were responsible for the 2011 Darfur genocide — to control protests and scatter ralliers.
Earlier this month, soldiers and paramilitary groups opened fire on a pro-democracy sit-in in Khartoum, killing at least 118 people and prompting an outcry from international human rights organisations.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have warned UN peacekeepers against withdrawing from Sudan at a time when the Janjaweed militia is not only keeping up war crimes in Darfur but also taking its "despicable brutality" to Khartoum.
HOW SOCIAL MEDIA SENT SUDAN VIRAL
On June 3, 26-year-old Mohamed Hashim Mattar was allegedly shot dead by the Rapid Support Forces during a crackdown on protesters in Khartoum, the nation's capital.
His family and friends began posting his favourite colour, a particular shade of blue, on their social media profiles to honour his death.
It was soon picked up as a symbol of Sudanese unity, with social media users and businesses changing their logos and layouts to the same colour in support of those who died in the unrest.
The hashtags #BlueForSudan and #TurnTheWorldBlue went viral on Twitter and Instagram, with activists calling on Western media and government to exert pressure on the current Sudanese government and military forces, which have been accused of rampant human rights abuses and war crimes.
"This is an effort to raise awareness as we the Sudanese diaspora are the only voice left," explained Sudanese-American campaigner Remaz Mahgoub. "The internet has been completely turned off in Sudan, the government has shut it down in order to conceal its massacres and crimes against civilians."
Hashtags surrounding the violence in Sudan have since caught the attention of Hollywood celebrities such as Rihanna, George Clooney and comedian Hasan Minhaj, who have used their platform to speak out about the massacre.
Rihanna made an Instagram post urging her nearly 16 million followers to help spread awareness of the massacre.
Clooney co-wrote an article in Politico about the political situation, urging Congress and the Trump administration to put pressure on leaders of the regime.
Minhaj dedicated a segment of his Netflix show Patriot Act to explaining the conflict and what can be done about it.
Demi Lovato, Naomi Campbell and Ariana Grande have joined the movement and encouraged others to do the same.
At the same time, online campaigns on GoFundMe and Facebook have raised money and garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures for the cause.
Social media has long been a crucial part of mass demonstrations. One of the best-known cases of this is the Arab Spring, by which protesters used Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to draw international attention to their countries' turmoil.
Sudan has taken a leaf out of China and Russia's books by imposing social media and internet blackouts, but the crackdown failed to cover government atrocities.
REPORTS OF GANG RAPES
Doctors in Khartoum believe paramilitaries have carried out more than 70 rapes during protests in the capital, The Guardian reported.
One doctor at the Royal Care hospital said they had treated eight victims of rape — five women and three men — while a second hospital south of the capital said it had received two rape cases.
Amnesty International said it had "new evidence, including satellite imagery, showing that Sudanese government forces, including the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias, have continued to commit war crimes … in Darfur".
"These have included the complete or partial destruction of at least 45 villages, unlawful killings, and sexual violence," the rights group said in a statement issued Tuesday.
US EFFORTS FOR A SOLUTION
Following Ethiopian mediation efforts, Washington's newly appointed special envoy to Sudan, Donald Booth, and the assistant secretary of state for Africa, Tibor Nagy, met military council chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Thursday.
Mr Burhan told the envoys Sudan and its people had a positive view of US efforts to reach a political settlement, according to a statement released by the military council.
Washington said Mr Booth had been named to help craft a "peaceful solution" to the crisis that had rocked the northeast African country.
The Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella protest movement said its leaders had briefed the two US officials on Wednesday on the need for a transparent investigation into the June 3 killings.
They also called for the withdrawal of "militias" from the streets in Khartoum and other towns, the lifting of an internet blockade and the establishment of a civilian administration, it said in a statement.
The African Union, which suspended Sudan following the crackdown, said global efforts were being made to resolve the crisis.
The AU's special envoy to Sudan, Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt, said an international team of diplomats was working to resolve the crisis and separate discussions with the two sides were "moving forward".
The US diplomats were also expected to meet with top envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in Khartoum.
Experts say the three key regional powers back the generals. Days after Bashir's overthrow in April, Saudi Arabia and the UAE offered a $3 billion aid package to Khartoum, including a $500 million cash injection into the central bank to help support the Sudanese pound, which has plunged against the dollar.
The country's worsening economic crisis was one initial trigger for protests against Bashir's three-decade rule.
On Thursday, prosecutors charged him with corruption and "possessing foreign funds, acquiring suspect and illegal wealth" and putting in place a state of emergency, state media reported.
Last month, Sudan's public prosecutor ordered the questioning of Bashir, who is being held in Khartoum's Kober prison, over money laundering and "financing terrorism".
Talks between the protest leaders and generals collapsed in mid-May over the question of who should lead a new governing body — a civilian or a soldier.
Relations worsened following the crackdown, with protest leaders now insisting any agreement reached with the military rulers must be backed by "regional and international" guarantees.