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Women’s participation in Sudan politics ‘inadequate and incomplete’

July 9 - 2020 KHARTOUM
Women played a prominent role in the Sudanese revolution (File photo: RD)
Women played a prominent role in the Sudanese revolution (File photo: RD)

The participation of women in Sudan’s post-revolution political process is “inadequate and incomplete”, according to the Sudanese Women’s Group for Peace and Security.

In an interview to be broadcast today via Radio Dabanga’s Kandaka programme, which focuses on women’s interests and issues, lawyer Azza Hasan, coordinator of the Women’s Group for Peace and Security, points out that the Constitutional Charter signed in August 2019, clearly stipulates the right of women to be part of the government.

Hasan, who is also responsible for transitional justice at Mansam, an alliance of political and civil feminist groups, accused the transitional government of “neglecting and deliberately obstructing the participation of women”. In particular, she blamed the Sovereign Council and the Council of Ministers for holding seats that should rightfully be held by women.

“The revolution came to change concepts, but so far there has been no change in Sudan,” she said, and explained that “women and other vulnerable and marginalised groups in the various states of Sudan have not yet obtained their rights as required”.

She also reproached political parties and the Forces for Freedom and Change for excluding women: “Women have repeatedly called on the authorities to respond to their demands, to no avail. Political women and women members of civil society organisations have participated in many platforms, including even during the peace talks in Juba, but all our efforts have been unsuccessful so far.”

She described what is happening now as “merely setting quotas”.

Hasan stressed that the women who have led the process of change that took place in the country during the uprising will not give up their rights, as have been stipulated in the Constitutional Charter. “We will fight for our rights until the stipulations have been fully implemented. We have demanded amendments in legislation and we will continue to work to obtain our natural right to participate in the government.”

Personal Status Law

As for amendments to the Personal Status Law, Hasan pointed out that there has been “procrastination” concerning approval by the Sovereign Council and the Cabinet.

“Among the proposals that await approval are the women’s right to decide to marry themselves instead of [requiring the consent of] fathers or legal guardians, to divorce, and the mother’s right to decide herself on traveling with her children.

“These rights cannot be limited to men only. Regarding violence and discrimination against women, we need more amendments to many laws, to the Criminal Act, the law on domestic and land servants, and the Personal Status Law.”

Also, she criticised the delay in the ratification of international laws. “We are awaiting the ratification of the African Union 2003 Maputo Protocol, which concerns women in conflict areas, restitution of their rights, social and political equality with men, including the right to take part in the political process, as well as the ratification of the UN 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

“Regarding the recurrent abuses, rapes, and other forms of violence against women in Darfur, she said that “protection is now in the hands of army forces and the Rapid Support Forces. This is a miscalculation, as their failure to provide security is well known.”

The activist called for protection of farmers in Darfur. “Preventing people from cultivating their lands is a means to stop them from earning a living which means killing them as well. Their protection is now the responsibility of the federal government,” she concludes.

Listen to the interview (in Arabic) here

 


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