Statement on Sudan – September 2010

The Sudanese members of the Voices of African Women campaign drafted the following statement which was delivered at the United Nations’ 15th Session of the Human Rights Council on 20 September 2010.

The UK Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s (UK WILPF) Voices of African Women campaign (VoAW) wishes to raise the following three core issues which breach the human rights of Sudanese women and young girls as well as endanger their lives:

1. The engendered suffering of Internally Displaced (IDP) Darfuri women
2. Sudanese women’s participation in peace processes and reconstruction
3. De-criminalisation of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Issue 1: The engendered suffering of IDP Darfuri women

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is concerned about the engendered suffering of IDP Darfuri women, through acts of sexual violence.

Although the international community has been successful in deploying the UNAMID force in Sudan, the force is far from achieving its objective of protecting civilians in Darfur.WILPF calls on UNAMID and UNMIS and the Government of Sudan to reassess their peace-keeping strategy to incorporate a more far reaching gender mainstreaming perspective, so that women and girls are sufficiently protected by the present hybrid forces in Darfur, when they leave the camps in pursuit of income generating activities.

WILPF draws the attention of the Government of Sudan to its obligations as a member of the African Union and of the United Nations. In particular we cite articles 18, 23 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women, articles 3 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; on the right of Sudanese Darfuri women to life, liberty, protection and security; as well as development. WILPF asks that a political will be demonstrated to bring peace and stability to the majority of Sudanese people. This should override the economic interests of a minority who seem to impede international justice.

Issue 2: UN SCR 1325 and SDGEA NAP’s

WILPF calls on the Government of Sudan to develop and establish a National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of UN SCR 1325 on Women Peace and security, as well as NAP on the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) and article 31: paragraph 461 /467 of the Darfur Peace Agreement on the participation of women. These NAPs could truly compliment the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) and DPA (Darfur Peace Agreement), allowing Sudanese women to fully participate in the Sudan peace process, conflict prevention, and reconstruction and future governance of their country.

Issue 3: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

WILPF is extremely concerned by the omission of article 13 from the 2009 Child Act and the de-criminalization of FGM in Sudan. FGM is one of the most hazardous practices that endanger the bodily integrity, physical and psychological health of women and girls in Sudan. FGM has been demonstrated to cause pregnancy and childbirth complications in the majority of cases.

WILPF would like to remind the Government of Sudan about its national obligation to protect women and children from harmful practises as stated in article 32 of the Interim National Constitution of the Republic of the Sudan- The Bill of Rights 2005; Resolution No.366 of the Sudan Medical Council, and the Khartoum Declaration on Child issues in the Islamic world 2009. WILPF encourages the Government of Sudan to readmit Article 13 within the Child Act 2009, so that the health and psychological wellbeing of girls is maintained.