By: SIHA NETWORK
There have been attacks on women peacefully protesting in Khartoum during the #SudanWomenProtest march from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of the Interior and Office of the Attorney General. As the protestors marched, chanting, “Hey girls, stay still. This revolution is a girls’ revolution,” one man attempted to mow the protestors down with his car (the car did not have a number plate). One woman was taken to hospital, but there are no further reports yet of other major injuries. Other men came out of their cars to physically assault the protestors. One student has said that she was punched and that her attacker threatened to rape her. Several of the protestors have already gone to the local police station to make formal reports of these incidents, eight of which have already been recorded. The driver has been arrested, but it is unclear whether the other attackers have been apprehended.
The march that has pulled thousands of women together to protest against militarization, pervasive injustice against women and girls, gendered killings, and the normalization of sexual violence as the result of severe discriminatory laws that are still in effect in Sudan despite the fall of the ex-regime of Al-Bashir and his militant Islamists. Building on the #SudanWomenProtest initiative, which was created by a coalition of women’s rights groups and activists that started in May 2019, today’s march was organised and led by women. A little less than two years after the December Revolution, women are still facing extreme levels of misogyny and violence in the same streets that they helped to liberate in 2019.
Sudan has yet to sign and ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protoco), and remains one of only two countries in Africa that has not signed and ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) among other regional and international human rights conventions.
As SIHA Network, we condemn this violence and expect the Sudanese Transitional Government to take immediate action and recourse to ensure that the attackers are held accountable by full force of the law. We also urge the Transitional Government to reform the laws and structures that have created an enabling environment for gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.