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Regional women group calls to review further laws to ensure gender equality in Sudan


November 29, 2019 (KHARTOUM) – A regional network for women groups, the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA), urged to review the Sudanese criminal code to discrimination against women, stressing that the abolished Public Order Act was one of its emanations.

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Sudan’s member of sovereign council Aisha Musa and Sudan’s Minister for Youth and Sports Wala’a Essam al-Boushi greet players before Sudan’s first women’s league soccer match at the Khartoum stadium, Khartoum, Sudan September 30, 2019 (REUTERS).

The Sovereign Council and the Council of Ministers, in a joint meeting on 28 November endorsed a law repealing the Public Law Act which is directed particularly against women presence in public spaces.

During the rule of the former regime, the public order police had extensive powers in accordance with this law to arrest any person, particularly targeting women for dancing at parties, vending on the streets, and begging.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Saturday, SIHA “relieved” by the repeal of the act which created a discriminatory regulation directed against women in term what they can or cannot dress besides other forms of discrimination that are incompatible with women’s empowerment.

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“However there is still worry that the Sudan Criminal Act of 1991 – the source of terror and discrimination- is still active. Thus, there are minimal reasons to celebrate,” further said the women organisation.

“The Sudan Criminal Act – part of the Public Order Regime was drafted based on terror laws in order to instil fear in Sudanese people,” further said the group.


With the Criminal code which is based on Islamic legislation, women rights remain restricted in other areas as their right to give evidence before a court is limited and their testimony is considered to be worth half that of a man’s testimony.

The group called to review the whole criminal code in order to fit with the international and regional legal framework adding that without such reform the volatility of gender discrimination will continue

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“The signing and ratification of both CEDAW and the Maputo Protocol are integral to stopping the unlawful discrimination against women in the country, as well as protecting their rights and dignity,” further emphasized the group.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Seif Magango hailed the repeal of Public Order Act and called on the government to ensure that the entire oppressive public order regime is abolished.

” Amnesty International calls on the government of Sudan to go further and ratify important instruments related to women’s rights including the Maputo Protocol governing the rights of women in Africa, and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)” Magango further said.


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