THE SUDAN WOMEN PROTEST: Sudan’s revolution and upcoming state must adhere to the women’s agenda
The religion of Islam is the religion of the majority in Sudan. We believe that the principles of Islam and other religions and believes practiced in Sudan are a source of justice and equality whilst preserving the dignity of all human beings – both women and men. Furthermore, international conventions and constitutions are all based on equality between human beings. Based on these shared principles, we believe that achieving justice and equality in the laws of Islamic communities is both necessary and conceivable at the same time.
The Strategic Initiative for women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA), in Sudan is operating among other civil society organizations in the field of human rights. SIHA Network is concerned with promoting women’s rights within the local communities, organizing women, empowering them, building their capabilities, and motivating them to partake in public work. This initiative comes as a contribution from SIHA’s Membership Network hereby formed as a coalition of Women’s CSOs and NGOs with the shared goal to push forward the development of community awareness on the issues of human rights and women’s rights in light of the democratic transition that Sudan is currently undergoing. This awareness is envisioned to be achieved through developing and sharpening women’s and girls’ mechanisms to safeguard their rights and create a cohesive and solidarity-based women rights and feminist movement that expresses the rights of women and girls without exclusion – through mass protest marches and rallies. This is expected to form a continuous pressure mechanism for democratic and civil governance that respects women’s rights.
The idea of Sudan Women Protest is derived from the developments that have been witnessed and are still being witnessed in the Sudanese arena. These developments have inevitably affected, and are still affecting the status of women in Sudan. In spite of the intensity of the discourse that prevailed in the early periods of the revolution around women ‘s political participation in the Sudanese revolution and the parallel and widespread presence of women in all revolutionary events and activities – the current political discourse is still limited in dealing with women’s basic issues such as development, legal rights, security and peace, and creating economic budgets that take into consideration providing opportunities for women in decent livelihood and access to education healthcare services for them and their families.
What is aggravating these days is the re-emergence of the extremist discourse which has contributed to the exclusion, torture and criminalization of women for decades. This is apparent in the marches of dark forces and terrorist groups such as those led by Salafi Islamists proponents of the former regime who called for, and marketed the suppression of women, and hence the suppression of the society, as a tool to impose their political domination.
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 aims to create a unified platform for women’s resistance in the form of marches and demonstrations that embrace women from different backgrounds. In the long term, Sudan Women Protest will act 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; provided that the advancing of women’s rights, equality in law, and development opportunities are agreed upon. It should eventually be emphasized that Sudanese women will not accept to be attacked under the pretext of religion or custom.
Goals of Sudan Women Protest
- Demand for a civilian-led and democratic government that guarantees freedom of expression for all Sudanese within a coherent legal framework aligned with international and regional mechanisms which promotes space for negotiation, access to peace, justice and democracy in Sudan;
- Urgent signing and ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women – (CEDAW); the revision and removal of all Sudanese Laws which serve to humiliate women and do not promote and protect the rights of women as soon as possible; and the ratification and adoption of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol); and the implementation of regional and international conventions nationally through domestication and revision of legal mechanisms and policies;
- Address and put in place strict regulations on militarization, armament and impunity in Sudan, specifically in the periphery areas of displacement, which result in systematic violations of women’s and girls’ rights and are an impediment to their movement, safety and security;
- Issue strict laws and regulations that address the hate discourse that hurt, humiliate and undermine women in public spaces such as mosques, religious institutions, educational curricula, the press and the media, and any hate discourse that incites racial prejudice against any Sudanese citizen regardless of their gender, ethnic, religion or cultural background;