Rising Violence Against Women as Sudan Joins CEDAW

The Sudanese government announced the approval of ratification of CEDAW and the African Protocol on Women Rights following years of demands from Sudanese women to take this important step. But the government approval for ratification of CEDAW came with reservations on the articles number 2, 16 and 1/29, which is clear violation of the rule that prevents reservstions that are considered part of the essential elements and goals of human rights covenants. Therefore, women rights groups and the National Human Rights Commission in Sudan called the government to revise its decision regarding these reservations. The step towards ratification of these regional and international covenants was one of the legitimate results of Sudanese women demands in the revolution. Sudanese women struggle for legal reforms included the urgent need for the Sudanese laws to comply with the international women and human rights conventions. It took the transitional government two years after the fall of the former regime in Sudan to discuss and move forward with the approval of these conventions. During the last year, women rights have witnessed many attacks led by some elements in the government. The government had been very reluctant in moving forward with core legal reforms demanded by Sudanese women, including the unconditional ratification of CEDAW. The welcomed step of approval of ratification was detracted by the reservations that reflected real weakness in the political willingness to commit to institutionalized progress in women rights in Sudan. In October 2020, the Sudanes justice ministry announced formation of a commitee to reform the Muslims Peronsal law. Sudanese women and human rights groups called for years for reform of this Shria based law, which legalize child marriage, guardianship of men over women among other women rights violations. The justice ministry decision gave the commitee one month to present the new law, but there has been no further news or results came out from this commitee. In the last week, the new financial minister Jebril Ibrahim while speaking to some traditional Islamic leaders said that: ” we will not refrain from supporting the Islamic laws in Sudan. You know they are making new Muslim Peronsal Law that is comply with demands of foreigners, and we will not allow that to happen”. This is very unfortunate statement coming from a government official after the fall of the radical Islamic regime in Sudan two years ago. For the last three months Sudanese women rights activists were fighting against vicious defemation and Islamic fundamentals attacks on social media and on streets. Women were attacked for their views, what they were and their thoughts on reforms that should take place in the transitional period. The country witnessed rising incidents of violence against women at homes, on streets and in conflict areas. The attacks included a social media campaign that calls men to start public lashing of women who are not wearing Hijab on streets. Unfortunately, the campaign got support form the head of police who was removed after public protest by women groups in the last two weeks. The continuous tribal and militias violence in several regions in Darfur and Kordofan has led to displacement of hundreds of women, death and sexual abuse of dozens of women and girls. The lack of protection of women, especially in conflict areas such as Darfur is a warning sign of the fragile peace agreement and the need for commitment to the provisions related to protection of civilians. On April 28th, a woman was killed in Beleil town in South Darfur during violent crackdown on peaceful sit in demanding security in the town. On May 5th, Howyda Hasan was killed in a violent attack on peaceful protest in Western Kordofan. Sudanese women groups demanded the government to take an urgent step to approve the proposed violence against act, but the government approval was delayed for months without any known reasons. This comes in the shadows of the complete neglection of women demands for comprehensive participation in the transitional government according to the transitional constitution. The current cabinet in Sudan has less than 15 percent of women participation, while the constitutional document grants women at least 40 percent of all government positions. The government of Sudan also stands still in the process of justice for sexual violence against women during the role of the former regime. The issue of sexual violence in conflict areas has not been addressed properly in the peace agreements and no clear evidence of any investigations or legal actions to be taken on this issue. The ICC case of Darfur has charges includes mass rape in Darfur, but no steps has been taken so far to facilitate the court process to reach for the victims, including the current case before the court of Kushayb. The sexual violence committed during the revolution against wowmn protesters, especially on the 3rd of June sit in crackdown has not been part of the focus of the formed investigation committee. The ratification of CEDAW and Mabotto covenants are welcomed steps, but they stand short to fulfill women demands for institutional and structural reforms with the announced reservations by the government. We call on the government review these reservations which are dismissing the step of ratification itself. We call on the Sudanese government should also take serious steps to approve the violence against women act and to complete the process of reform of the Muslim Personal Law. We call in the Sudanese government also to take steps to insure civilian protection and especially women in conflict areas according to signed peace agreements and to the commitment to 1325 agenda in the agreement. We call on the Sudanese government to take serious action to ensure justice for sexual violence crimes committed by the former regime and under the current regime in conflict areas and during and after the revolution. Rising Violence Against Women as Sudan Joins CEDAWThe Sudanese government announced the approval of ratification of CEDAW and the African Protocol on Women Rights following years of demands from Sudanese women to take this important step. But the government approval for ratification of CEDAW came with reservations on the articles number 2, 16 and 1/29, which is clear violation of the rule that prevents reservstions that are considered part of the essential elements and goals of human rights covenants. Therefore, women rights groups and the National Human Rights Commission in Sudan called the government to revise its decision regarding these reservations. The step towards ratification of these regional and international covenants was one of the legitimate results of Sudanese women demands in the revolution. Sudanese women struggle for legal reforms included the urgent need for the Sudanese laws to comply with the international women and human rights conventions. It took the transitional government two years after the fall of the former regime in Sudan to discuss and move forward with the approval of these conventions. During the last year, women rights have witnessed many attacks led by some elements in the government. The government had been very reluctant in moving forward with core legal reforms demanded by Sudanese women, including the unconditional ratification of CEDAW.

The welcomed step of approval of ratification was detracted by the reservations that reflected real weakness in the political willingness to commit to institutionalized progress in women rights in Sudan. In October 2020, the Sudanes justice ministry announced formation of a commitee to reform the Muslims Peronsal law. Sudanese women and human rights groups called for years for reform of this Shria based law, which legalize child marriage, guardianship of men over women among other women rights violations. The justice ministry decision gave the commitee one month to present the new law, but there has been no further news or results came out from this commitee. In the last week, the new financial minister Jebril Ibrahim while speaking to some traditional Islamic leaders said that: ” we will not refrain from supporting the Islamic laws in Sudan. You know they are making new Muslim Peronsal Law that is comply with demands of foreigners, and we will not allow that to happen”. This is very unfortunate statement coming from a government official after the fall of the radical Islamic regime in Sudan two years ago.

For the last three months Sudanese women rights activists were fighting against vicious defemation and Islamic fundamentals attacks on social media and on streets. Women were attacked for their views, what they were and their thoughts on reforms that should take place in the transitional period. The country witnessed rising incidents of violence against women at homes, on streets and in conflict areas. The attacks included a social media campaign that calls men to start public lashing of women who are not wearing Hijab on streets. Unfortunately, the campaign got support form the head of police who was removed after public protest by women groups in the last two weeks. The continuous tribal and militias violence in several regions in Darfur and Kordofan has led to displacement of hundreds of women, death and sexual abuse of dozens of women and girls. The lack of protection of women, especially in conflict areas such as Darfur is a warning sign of the fragile peace agreement and the need for commitment to the provisions related to protection of civilians.

On April 28th, a woman was killed in Beleil town in South Darfur during violent crackdown on peaceful sit in demanding security in the town. On May 5th, Howyda Hasan was killed in a violent attack on peaceful protest in Western Kordofan. Sudanese women groups demanded the government to take an urgent step to approve the proposed violence against act, but the government approval was delayed for months without any known reasons. This comes in the shadows of the complete neglection of women demands for comprehensive participation in the transitional government according to the transitional constitution. The current cabinet in Sudan has less than 15 percent of women participation, while the constitutional document grants women at least 40 percent of all government positions. The government of Sudan also stands still in the process of justice for sexual violence against women during the role of the former regime. The issue of sexual violence in conflict areas has not been addressed properly in the peace agreements and no clear evidence of any investigations or legal actions to be taken on this issue. The ICC case of Darfur has charges includes mass rape in Darfur, but no steps has been taken so far to facilitate the court process to reach for the victims, including the current case before the court of Kushayb. The sexual violence committed during the revolution against wowmn protesters, especially on the 3rd of June sit in crackdown has not been part of the focus of the formed investigation committee.

The ratification of CEDAW and Mabotto covenants are welcomed steps, but they stand short to fulfill women demands for institutional and structural reforms with the announced reservations by the government. We call on the government review these reservations which are dismissing the step of ratification itself.

We call on the Sudanese government should also take serious steps to approve the violence against women act and to complete the process of reform of the Muslim Personal Law.

We call in the Sudanese government also to take steps to insure civilian protection and especially women in conflict areas according to signed peace agreements and to the commitment to 1325 agenda in the agreement.

We call on the Sudanese government to take serious action to ensure justice for sexual violence crimes committed by the former regime and under the current regime in conflict areas and during and after the revolution.