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Reports about child abuse increasing in Sudan

December 26 - 2020 KHARTOUM / PORT SUDAN
Session of My Body is My Body in El Fula, capital of West Kordofan (FB page My Body Sudan)
Session of My Body is My Body in El Fula, capital of West Kordofan (FB page My Body Sudan)

According to the Sudanese coordinator of the international My Body Is My Body Child Abuse Prevention Programme, the number of reports about children being abused and molested in the country is growing.

Coordinator Ghada Hussein told Radio Dabanga that during her recent field tour in the country, she found an increase in the rates of complaints filed in centres for the protection against child abuse. “In particular in rural areas, the number of reports is rising.”

She attributed the increase to the growth of awareness concerning children's issues.

“Child molestation mostly happens in families that neglect their children and do not provide them with the necessary protection, which makes the child vulnerable and an easy prey to harassment and sexual abuse,” she explained.

My Body is My Body, based in the United Kingdom, is an international organisation that offers awareness raising tutorials for children all over the world, using songs and educational cartoons. The programme aims to empower children themselves and educate families about the dangers, children may be confronted with.

The programme was introduced in Sudan in June, and met with positive responses in the Sudanese society in various states, Hussein explained. “The challenges we are facing are practical, such as the lack of technical means to present the programme to the children, especially in rural areas, or the difficulty of communicating with activists who wish to obtain access to the necessary training tools, which are all due to the weakness of the Internet in Sudan.”

Vacation

In South Kordofan, incidents of child abuse increased during the long vacation period because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press conference in Kadugli on Wednesday, South Kordofan Governor Hamid El Bashir said that the numbers of underage marriage of girls doubled this year. Many school children are reluctant to continue their education as well, because they need to work in order to financially support their parents or themselves.

Basic and secondary schools in South Kordofan will open their doors again on January 3.

Death sentence

In Port Sudan, capital of Red Sea state, a father who sexually abused his 16-year-old daughter was sentenced to death earlier this week.

Awal El Nahar newspaper reported yesterday that the father raped his daughter more than 20 times. The case was discovered after the girl became pregnant.

The court convicted him for rape under the Child Law instead of the Sudanese Penal Code of 1991, because of “the ugliness of the crime”. The punishment should be a lesson to others, the judge said. For this reason, he decided to replace the penalty of life imprisonment with hard labour to death by hanging.

The victim will receive psychological support for a period of three months by a psychologist affiliated with the court.


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