Tracing the roots of discrimination in Sudanese law

The foundations of systemic discrimination that were laid long before Sudan’s independence in 1956, continue to be visible within the institutions and structures of the Sudanese state today. Its geographical location on the border of the African Savanah paved the way for Sudan’s history of involvement in the slave trade, which has largely contributed to an inherited ethnic and cultural pluralisation among the population inhabiting Sudan. These cleavages have been deepened by the trend of Arab Gulf countries seeking to extend their influence in Sudan by funnelling resources and funding into a small class of elites that conformed to a political Islamist ideology. Over decades, this small ‘Arabized’ elite has continued to entrench an amalgamation of racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender-based discrimination within Sudanese institutions, structures, and laws. This situation continues to cast a shadow over Sudan’s culture, traditions, polices, laws and overall approach toward its citizens.