This morning, Friday 2nd August, the Sudan Women Protest – an initiative borne out of the women’s role in the revolution received the Africa Human Rights Shield Award for North Africa from the Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network in appreciation of the courage and brevity that the women of Sudan through this initiative exuded in the country’s revolution. Hala Alkarib, the Regional Director of SIHA Network was present to receive the award.
Due to the absence of a consistent and unified women’s resistance discourse, the idea of Sudan Women Protest came into existence. In the short term, the idea aimed to create a unified platform for women’s resistance in the form of marches and demonstrations that embrace women from different backgrounds. Since then, the Sudan Women Protest has acted as an efficient tool for the mobilization and support of women in coordination with women’s groups from different regions of Sudan and without exclusion of geographic origin, religion or political orientation.
In the aftermath of the brutal mass crime that was committed against peaceful civilians during the Khartoum massacre on June 3rd, hundreds of Sudanese women across the country from Kordufan to Gadarif, and port Sudan in Eastern Sudan and Atbra and greater Khartoum came out to protest the high prevalence of sexual violence and acts of rape that took place against women, men and children. Additionally, on June 30th, millions of Sudanese with thousands of women protesters among them from all walks of life came out to further assert their demands for a civilian and democratic government. However, they were once again met with extreme violence from the RSF and former Bashir forces who fired live ammunition, killing at least 15 people and injuring many more across the country.
Despite the “broad” declaration, Sudan’s civilians and women continue to live under direct threats of the armed militia, whilst the rule of law and legal institutions continue to be paralyzed and sidelined.
This award, therefore comes at a time when the women of Sudan continue to live under direct threats of the armed militia despite the “broad” declaration and also recognizes the courage, perseverance and selflessness of the women (across all demographics) amidst the harsh and restraining environment.