Over 30 associations of displaced women from war zones in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Darfur regions have demanded the adoption of the principle of positive discrimination for justice and access to rights, along with fair compensation for injustices and at least 20 per cent representation of women at all levels of the Sudanese government.
In an interview with Radio Dabanga on Friday, Soraya Kumi, head of the Beit El Haba Association, said that women displaced by wars, mass killings, and forced systematic displacement are living in catastrophic humanitarian conditions in which they are deprived of the most basic rights and social services.
The campaign focusses especially on women living outside of Sudanese cities, who are often overlooked by the Sudanese government, which tends to focus on displaced people in the well-known camps, she told Radio Dabanga.
The associations in all three regions submitted a memorandum of demands to the government, the most prominent of which is the treatment of their issues in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security, which is part of Sudan`s Constitutional Declaration.
The memorandum demands addressing all women’s issues at all levels, reparation and positive discrimination for women, and at least 20 per cent representation at all levels of government. It was submitted almost exactly one year after the Minister of Labour and Social Development, Lina El Sheikh, revealed the preparation of a national plan to implement Resolution 1325 on June 19, 2020.
Kumi said that they also demand free education, addressing the issue of lack of available education, facilitating the issuance of identification papers, enacting legislation to ensure the protection of domestic workers and criminalizing racism, addressing the resettlement of displaced persons in their areas of origin, and legalizing the conditions of groups that have acquired and own land in slums.
Gender in Sudan
Women have been visible leaders on the frontlines of the 2018 December Revolution against the regime of Al Bashir, ousted in April the following year. News outlets estimated that about 70 per cent of the protesters were women.
Since the fall of the former regime, the death penalty for apostasy has been repealed. Female Genital-Mutilation (FGM) has been outlawed and the execution of children has been banned. Women no longer need the consent of their husband or male guardian to travel with their children.
The Constitutional Document of August 2019 guarantees 40 per cent representation to women in the 300-seat Legislative Council, still to be formed. The new quota is an increase from the previous representation quota of 25 per cent, which was set during the former regime.
Yet, Sudanese women remain on the side lines. The Thomson Reuters Foundation ranks Sudan as one of the worst countries worldwide for women’s rights. Only 12 per cent of the Juba Peace Agreement table included women. Women’s rights groups in Darfur and Khartoum continue to call for a broader representation in the new transitional government and in all aspects of Sudanese life.