KAMPALA: The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) proudly announces the launch of: THIRD CLASS CITIZENS – WOMEN’S STRUGGLE FOR EQUAL CITIZENSHIP IN SUDAN.
The systemic criminalization of women in Sudan has been largely ignored. The fact that Sudan is a predominantly Muslim country reinforces tendencies of legitimizing this criminalization as part of religion and/or as part of Sudanese culture. Hence, Sudan is host to one of the oldest women’s liberation movements in Africa, active since the late 1940’s, a movement which has achieved major milestones despite the complexity of the particular socio-political and religious context of Sudan. With this paper, SIHA aims to display the isolative and discriminative nature of Sudanese politics regarding women and highlights the challenges women are enduring to date. Shedding light on the scope and nature of discriminative laws and practices women are facing in Sudan, this paper touches upon issues of gender discrimination in terms of citizenship and explores aspects of Sudan’s legal framework which aims at restricting, regulating and limiting women’s presence in the public sphere despite the major contributions women are making to the economic sector of the country.
The paper additionally outlines historical and political patterns of women’s rights in Sudan and presents insights on international regional and human rights commitments opposed to the existing domestic legislations and how these negatively impact on the equal citizenship of women in Sudan. The discriminative laws allowing the systematic alienation and disintegration of women in Sudan have led to a complex environment for women to exist, with a deeply rooted subordination based on a combination of militant interpretations of religion and patriarchal culture. Drawing on personal stories and experiences of marginalized women in Sudan, this paper sheds light on the inequalities affecting equal citizenship from a human rights perspective, highlighting issues of the tolerated impunity on cases of abuse.