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Domestic violence against women is common in Sudan: report

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Sudanese women march in Khartoum to mark International Day for Eliminating Violence against Women, in the first such rally held in Sudan in decades, on November 25, 2019. (AFP photo)jpgJuly 21, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Domestic violence against women in Sudan is very common, said an UN-backed report on female conditions in the African country, 30 years after the rule of the Islamist regime which was overthrown two years ago.

As part of a joint effort to combat gender-based violence in Sudan, the UNFPA and the Sudanese Ministry of Social Development conducted the first nationwide, qualitative assessment of violence against women in the country.

The report found that "Domestic violence is reported to be very common, especially physical violence by brothers against sisters, and by husbands against wives in the home.

Researchers further underlined that gender-based violence is "not considered as a severe violation of women’s rights".

To illustrate this common collective mentality, the report cites different situations in several regions across the country where women can be subjected to domestic violence.

Infringing the movement restriction is the main prompter for physical abuse in the house. "Women and girls are beaten especially if they go out without permission," stressed the report.

In November 2019, the Sudanese transitional government repealed the public order law, an archaic law restricting women’s behaviour.

Also, Hamdok’s cabinet in April 2021 approved the ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

But the move has been criticized by women groups because the approval did not include three fundamental articles of the CEDAW asserting equality between men and women in matters including marriage, divorce and parenting.

The report, which seeks to fill a data gap about the gender-based violence in Sudan, adds that sexual violence is the second source of concern particularly against women working in informal jobs, and displaced and refugee women when they move outside camps.

"Areas that are reported to be particularly at risk for sexual violence include: farming areas “girls working in agricultural schemes are vulnerable," further points the report mentioning.

The report’s findings show that forced marriage, which is common in Sudan, is tightly connected to the denial of education.

About 38% of women are married before age 18, according to the report.

Women activists say there is a huge need for more efforts to reform the existing laws and to establish new legal frames paving the way for a women’s liberation process.

(ST)

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