Women’s Rights in Sudan

Developing countries have a history of humans rights abuses. For women in Sudan, this is unfortunately the case there as well.

The Sudanese Penal Code of 1991 sets strict rules for how women can dress in public. The law is not specific towards women, but allows for punishment of anyone who is determined to be dressed “inappropriately”. The exact law says, “whoever does in a public place an indecent act or an act contrary to public morals or wears an obscene outfit or contrary to public morals or causing an annoyance to public feelings shall be punished with flogging which may not exceed 40 lashes or with fine or with both.” (Huffington Post)

In August of 2013, a woman was arrested for refusing to cover her hair with a hijab when she was out in public. According to Sudanese law, that is punishable by flogging if convicted. Amira Osman Hamed was arrested over a decade ago for wearing pants in public. She refused to wear a headscarf because she was protesting the laws requiring her to cover up. 

According to Amnesty International, women suffered many abuses in response to political demonstrations that arose over the summer. Some women were “subjected to repeated virginity tests, amounting to torture or other ill-treatment.” (Amnesty International). Any demonstrators who attempted to get treatment at hospitals were then arrested by plain-clothed security officers.

In February of 2013, a young woman named Safia Ishaq was arrested and then gang-raped by Sudanese officials. Three members of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service arrested her for participating in a mass protest. When she resisted one of the men, she was beaten unconscious and then gang-raped. When she was released, she uploaded a video about it to YouTube because she refused to stay silent about sexual abuse.

You can read more about Sudan’s human rights violations at amnesty.org.

Sources: http://www.amnesty.org/, http://thinkafricapress.com/sudan/violence-against-women-and-sudans-article-152, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/sudan-womens-rights

by Courtney Doll

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