Sudanese Islamist groups have waved aside the equating of men and women and called for keeping the legal procedures for marriage that are based on the Shari'a, rejecting all draft amendments to the Sudanese Constitution.
A number of Islamist groups met with the Islamic Fiqh Acadey, the Sudan Scholars' Corporation, representatives of Sufis and a Sudanese emergency parliamentary committee for the amendments to the constitution at the National Parliament on Monday, as part of meetings which discuss draft constitutional amendments.
The groups called for the need to retain the punishment for apostasy, including stoning, in Sudan's constitution. They categorically rejected the draft amendments to the Sudanese Constitution, particularly with regard to toppling the legal procedures on marriage for women, and equality between men and women in inheritance affairs.
The Ansar El Sunna El Muhamadiyah group said that the draft amendments abolish the punishment of apostasy and stoning, 'opening up the field for advocating the doctrines of the Shiites and atheism' and entering the Cedaw into Sudan 'through a different door'. Cedaw is the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly.
Badria Suleiman, a member of the emergency parliamentary committee, said in a press statement after the meeting on Monday that the discussion focussed on the rights and freedoms, in particular the presence of a guardian appointed to sign the marriage contract on behalf of the woman. Furthermore the freedom of religion, apostasy, and adultery were discussed.
Personal status laws in Sudan govern legal procedures that pertain to personal and familial relations, including marriage, divorce and inheritance, and are based on the Shari'a, the divine law of Islam. A Sudanese marriage contract might reiterate the wife's right to work outside of the home, while women’s capacity to own property is among the main factors affecting their security.
Today Suleiman's committee listened to the views of social scientists, civil society organisations and organisations concerned with women and children rights about the proposed constitutional amendments.
The draft constitutional amendments represent the outcome of the National Dialogue, and discussions on the amendments have dismayed the Popular Congress Party (PCP). Kamal Omar Abdelsalam, the political secretary of the opposition party said last month that his party objects to the emergency parliamentary committee chaired by Badria Suleiman, stressing that the PCP would pull out of the dialogue in the event of any amendments on the project on freedoms.