KHARTOUM, SUDAN - Sudan has joined a global campaign aimed at stopping violence against women. Sudan's efforts at the national level involve the broad participation of artists, politicians and civil society.
For the first time in three decades, Sudan has joined the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign sponsored in the country by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Woman and Child Affairs.
At a press briefing, Social Affairs Minister Lina Alshiekh praised women participating in political change in Sudan and the social activity of females. She says its impact would be widespread.
Alshiekh says the government launched the 16 Days campaign nationwide to defeat violence against women. This year, she says, they’re intending to develop efforts and resources to enhance health, economics, and the social situation for women, girls and children in the towns, cities and the camps.
Decades of poor economic conditions and civil war resulted in thousands of displaced women relocating to refugees camps in the west and the east of Sudan.
Hundreds of Sudanese women face trial under Sudanese criminal law every year. The laws were introduced in 1991, the same year the international campaign began.
The laws allow police to arrest women for their clothing, appearance on the streets and how they behave in public with men. The punishment varies from public whippings to detention and fines.
Campaign participant Aisha Abdualazeez is from Sudan's Blue Nile state, which suffered decades of war under former President Omar al-Bashir’s government. She said her participation in this campaign is to help women in war zones.
Abdualazeez says she participates in the campaign because she has witnessed some of the violence against women. She says that as a girl who has lived in conflict areas, she knows how women are repressed and used sexually.
Sudanese women also are affected by a law that legalizes the marriage of 10-year-old girls and female genital mutilation.
The international campaign runs every year from November 25th through December 10.