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Amnesty Int lauds Sudan’s repeal of Public Order laws

November 30 - 2019 KHARTOUM
Sudanese women, some dressed in trousers, in front of the All Saints Cathedral in Khartoum (File photo)
Sudanese women, some dressed in trousers, in front of the All Saints Cathedral in Khartoum (File photo)

Sudan’s decision to repeal the Public Order laws is a “step forward for women's rights”, Amnesty International said on Friday.

In a joint meeting on Thursday, Sudan’s Sovereign Council and Cabinet decided to disband the National Congress Party established by ousted President Omar Al Bashir, and to cancel the infamous Public Order Law. Hundreds of Sudanese took to the streets of Khartoum late on Thursday evening to celebrate the changes.

Reacting to the decision to repeal the Public Order laws, which governed among other things women's presence in public spaces, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Seif Magango, said:

“This is a big step forward for women's rights in Sudan. The repeal of the public order laws was long overdue. Many women were arbitrarily arrested, beaten and deprived of their rights to freedom of association and expression under this discriminatory law.

“The transitional government must now ensure that the entire oppressive public order regime is abolished. This includes repealing the articles dictating women's dress code that are still in the criminal law, disbanding the public order police and the dedicated courts, and abolishing flogging as a form of punishment.”

In a press release on Thursday, Amnesty International said that the Sudanese authorities must amend the 1991 Criminal Law, “especially Articles 77 and 78 governing consumption of and dealing with alcohol, and Articles 145-158 governing so-called "morality", including consensual sex, dress code, and other matters on the conduct of individuals in private spaces.

The international human rights organisation further called on the Sudanese government to ratify the Maputo Protocol governing the rights of women in Africa, and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).


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