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30.11.2019 Europe

Women allowed to wear trousers in Sudan, Bashir’s NCP party dismantled

By RFI
REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
NOV 30, 2019 EUROPE
REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Sudan's former ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has lashed out after the new sovereign council announced it had passed a law banning the party of ex-presient Omar al Bashit and repealed misogynistic legislation banning women from attending parties or wearing trousers.

"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," the party said on its Facebook page, saying the new “illegal government” had taken a reckless decision.

The move will also see the NCP's assets seized and the regime dismantled, part of the demands made by the protest movement when forming the new power-sharing government.

Additionally, no NCP actors will be allowed to hold political office for 10 years – a move aimed at ensuring a definitive end to the 30-year regime.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said the measures should not be seen as an act of revenge. 

"It aims to preserve the dignity of Sudanese people which was crushed by dishonest people," he wrote on Twitter. "This law aims to recover the plundered wealth of the people."

A big step forward for women's rights
The sovereign council also scrapped a law that was regularly used to demean, exploit, and humiliate women, using harsh interpretations of Islamic Sharia law.

Security forces arrested women for attending private parties or wearing trousers, and activists say thousands were flogged, fined or jailed as a means of control.

In his sermon on Friday, hardline Sudanese cleric Mohamed Ali Jazuli said that the changes could spark violence.

"This law is part of a regional project aimed at excluding Islam from all aspects of the state...this would drag the country into a civil war," he said.

Others disagreed. The scrapping of the public order law was "a big step forward for women's rights in Sudan", according to Seif Magango, of human rights group Amnesty International.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which spearheaded the initial protests against Bashir before he was ousted in April, said the decision would aid in "building a democratic civilian state".

That is the goal 30 years after Bashir seized power in an Islamist-backed coup d'etat. The protests that began in December involved Sudanese from all walks of life, including women.

Bashir is currently in prison awaiting trial on graft charges. A number of his NCP  allies are also behind bars.

The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), a political coalition of rebel and civil protest groups, now shares power with the military. Free and fair elections are slated for three years from now.

The sovereign council and the cabinet are forming a committee to dismantle of the 30 June regime. It will have the power to investigate the NCP and ban any sort of group, including unions or other organisations that stem from the Bashir regime.

The quest for justice spurred hundreds of protesters to march through downtown Khartoum on Saturday, calling for justice for those killed in demonstrations against Bashir.

FFC cites more than 250 people killed and hundreds injured from the beginning of the protests in December 2018 until the establishment of the power-sharing government.

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