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Sudan Crisis: Women Applaud The End Of Strict Public Order Law

Sudan Crisis Women Applaud The End Of Strict Public Order Law

The Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok , on Twitter, paid tribute to women who had “endured the atrocities that resulted from the implementation of this law”. Former President Omar al-Bashir’s party was also disbanded by the transitional authorities of the country.

Mr Bashir took power in a coup d’état in 1989 and ruled for almost 30 years before he was toppled in April through peaceful protests. A joint military and civil council, as well as a civilian-led cabinet headed by Prime Minister Hamdok are presently leading Sudan.

Both the abolition of the law of public order and the dissolution of the National Congress Party (NCP) were the aftermath of the protest movement’s core demands geared at dismantling the regime of Mr Bashir.  At the news of the movements, people celebrated overnight on the streets of the capital Khartoum.

One of two women on Sudan’s new Sovereign Council, Aisha Musa, told BBC Newsday that while the former regime had concentrated on how women dressed and acted — including banning women from wearing trousers — their education and health care had been neglected.  “It is about time that all this corruption stops, that all this treatment for the women of Sudan stops,” she said.

A 2017 report by two charities described the restrictions as a combination of legal and moral prohibitions, “designed to exclude and intimidate women from actively participating in public life”.  

They granted dictatorial powers to the authorities to arbitrarily regulate what women wore, to whom they spoke and met, and the jobs they held-with any suspected perpetrator facing penalty by flogging, or stoning and even execution in rare instances. However, the public order rules were kept “vague and open-ended leaving them open to exploitation as a social control tool by the authorities,” the report stated.

Human rights activist Hala al-Karib told BBC Newsday that abolishing the law was a “massive step” for her country, adding that the law had upheld the ideology of the old regime that was “based in terror and discrimination”.  Officials had the power to “literally hunt women,” she said, and these laws had unequally affected poorer women, women from conflict zones, and people outside Khartoum.

 But while embracing the abolishment of the law, Ms. Karib said it was important to do more to change “a very discriminatory legal framework.”

Females were at the frontline of the campaign that ousted Mr Bashir’s . Women were visible at the forefront throughout the protests, advocating for greater liberty both for themselves and for their country.

“We need a fair and just country. We have suffered a lot. More than men in many cases. Women should be at the centre of any government,” said an activist to Al Jazeera news agency in April.

 22-year-old student Alaa Salah became a symbol for activists, gaining her the nickname “Nubian Queen”, after a video of her leading chants against the former leader went viral. Sudan organized its first march in decades for the International Day for Eliminating Violence Against Women on 25 November.

AN UNJUST ORDER

The decision to abolish the rule of the public order is a major step forward. It was used specifically by the government to subjugate women. Some were given 40 lashes in public for wearing trousers. The application of the law demonstrated the inequalities and conflicts within the Sudanese community. It was almost usual in recent years to see wealthy Khartoum women wearing trousers in public, while those who were victimized by the morality police were often poorer women from the marginalized areas on the outskirts of the large country.

 Meanwhile, the NCP was just a political platform for a dictatorship that sought to restructure every aspect of Sudanese life and clamped down on anyone who objected incredibly hard. Hopefully, the authorities would help to stop the old regime from crippling the transitional government after dissolving the NCP. As much as it seems contradictory that the transitional government established to move the country to democracy has banned a political party, but the NCP, accused of causing so much suffering, will not be grieved by anyone other than its members.

The protesters and the women’s rights activists, in particular, applaud the downfall of the NCP and the law, even though they acknowledge that this is just the commencement of a longer struggle towards the transformation of Sudan.

THE NCP

To disband the National Congress Party (NCP) means that the authorities can claim the property of the party. The declaration stated that this would be achieved by setting up a committee. This, Mr Hamdok tweeted was in order to “retrieve the stolen wealth of the people of Sudan.” The decree also states that “None of the regime or party’s symbols would be allowed to engage in any 10-year political activity.”

Samahir Mubarak, a spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, the protest group that ousted Mr Bashir, told the BBC that this was “a historic moment”.

“This is a moment of relief, because each and every person in Sudan has been affected in some way or the other by this regime in a negative manner,” she said.

The NCP, however condemned the move as “nothing more than a moral scandal, an act of intellectual bankruptcy and a total failure on the part of the illegal government”.

“The party is not bothered by any law or decision issued against it as the NCP is a strong party and its ideas will prevail,” a post on the party’s Facebook page states.

HAPPENINGS IN SUDAN

Sudan’s unrest began as far back as December 2018, when emergency austerity measures were imposed by the Bashir government. Cuts in subsidies of bread and fuel triggered protests over the standard of living in the East and, the outrage extended to the city. The protests led to demands for Mr Bashir to be removed, though he had been in power for 30 years.

After sit-ins outside the defense ministry, the president was toppled by the military in April, but protesters still wanted to ensure that power was immediately transferred to a civilian government. A transitional government that came to power in August, has pledged to reunite the Sudan.

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