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Sudanese women protest gender discrimination, demand legal reform

April 9 - 2021 KHARTOUM
Women march in Khartoum to protest against gender-based discrimination and to demand legal reforms (social media)
Women march in Khartoum to protest against gender-based discrimination and to demand legal reforms (social media)

A number of women's groups marched to the Ministries of Justice and Interior Affairs and the office of the Public Prosecution in downtown Khartoum yesterday to demand the abolition of laws that discriminate on the basis of gender. A driver attacked and assaulted the protesters, leaving one injured.

Hundreds of women participated in the demonstration. They chanted slogans demanding that the rights of women be guaranteed at all levels of governance and legislation.

The protesters delivered a memorandum to the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Interior Affairs, and the Attorney General to call for the adoption of international charters and treaties related to gender equality in all amendments and reforms.

The memorandum also demanded the safety and security of women and girls in the public and private sphere and the formation of prosecution offices and courts specialised in dealing with gender-based violence.

They emphasised the need for reforms within law enforcement and the judiciary system to ensure the rule of law and commitment “to fight the dark ideology that mainly targets women and girls”.

Attack

One of the demonstrators was injured after being run over by a vehicle driver during the protest. The driver verbally and physically assaulted a number of protesters before he was handed over to the police.

A prosecutor reported that six complaints of assault on protesters were filed.

Earlier this month, Sudanese blogger and women’s rights activist Waad Bahjat was sentenced to six months in prison and a fine of SDG 10,000 by the Khartoum criminal court over charges of 'public nuisance', despite widespread criticism about the case.

Last month, the director of the Khartoum State Police, Lt Gen Eisa Ismail, faced public criticism as he called for the Public Order Law to be reinstated “to combat crime”. In November 2019, the Sudanese government repealed the Public Order Law, which disproportionately affected women. Women groups continue to call on the transitional government to do more and ratify important international instruments related to women’s rights including the Maputo Protocol and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

 


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