A number of women’s organisations announced their support for the negotiating position of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu, which advocates secularism and the separation of religion and state. They made the announcement during a press conference upon the return of the delegation of women's organisations who visited the areas controlled by the SPLM-N El Hilu.
The women’s organisations, including the Sudanese Women’s Alliance and the Women’s Union, organised a 16-day visit to the SPLM-N controlled areas in South Kordofan. They confirmed that the SPLM-N’s stance enjoys widespread popular support in these areas.
Um Naeem El Nour, member of the Women’s Union, expressed their support for the SPLM-N’s stance on secularism and the necessity of religious freedom.
The women organisations also expressed their support for the SPLM-N presence in the Nuba Mountains and for people of the Nuba Mountains to establish their own system to realise justice and human dignity and to fight exclusion and discrimination.
Nadya Mohamed Ali, representative of the Beja Corrective Conference, criticised what she described as prejudice against the SPLM and its demands during the last round of negotiations. She referred to the widespread civilian support for the movement’s leadership and position.
The women's organisations also described the humanitarian situation in the Nuba Mountains as tragic. After the return of the women’s delegation, Khaleeda Abdelrahim of the Sudanese Women's Alliance mentioned the deterioration of the health sector and the region’s dependence on the support of humanitarian organisations and self-reliance.
She indicated a lack of vaccines for children a noted that many women have to go through labour in ‘unfair conditions. She also noted that school infrastructure has been destroyed and that students have to study in the open, barefoot, while teachers work as volunteers without salaries.
Abdelrahim called on the authorities responsible for the health and education sectors to visit the SPLM areas.
Ranya Salah from the Sudanese Women for Change attributed the deteriorating conditions in the SPLM-N controlled areas to isolation, war, bombing, and destruction of infrastructure. She called on everyone to work towards improving the conditions in the Nuba Mountains by providing services, especially to women and children who are most affected by the situation.
The delegation of women also visited three refugee camps in the Nuba Mountains in southern Sudan.
Recently, the Sudanese government resumed negotiations with the SPLM-N El Hilu and communication with Abdelwahid El Nur, head of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW). El Nur arrived in Juba earlier this week to discuss his vision for a Sudanese peace. In September last year, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and El Hilu agreed on a roadmap for peace negotiations.