Sudan: Activists welcome repeal of public order laws quelling women’s rights


Activists in Sudan have welcomed a decision by the country’s transitional government to dissolve the former ruling party and repeal a public order law used to regulate women’s behaviour under ex-president Omar al-Bashir.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Seif Magango, said:“This is a big step forward for women’s rights in Sudan. The repeal of the public order laws was long overdue. Many women were arbitrarily arrested, beaten and deprived of their rights to freedom of association and expression under this discriminatory law.”

On Twitter, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok paid tribute to women “who have endured the atrocities that resulted from the implementation of this law”.

The country’s transitional authorities also dissolved the party of former president Omar al-Bashir.

Mr Bashir seized power in a 1989 coup and with his National Congress Party (NCP) ruled for nearly 30 years before peaceful protests ousted him in April.

Sudan is currently led by a joint military and civilian council, as well as a civilian-led cabinet headed by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

Under Bashir, the public order law was deployed to impose conservative Islamic social codes, restricting women’s freedom of dress, movement, association, work and study.

This could include preventing women from wearing trousers or leaving their hair uncovered in public, or mixing with men other than their husbands or an immediate relative.

Those found to have contravened the law could be punished with flogging. Prime Minister Hamdok, called the rules “an instrument of exploitation, humiliation, violation, aggression on the rights of citizens”.

People celebrated in the streets of the capital Khartoum overnight after hearing about the dissolution of the National Congress Party (NCP) and the end of the public order law. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)