Sudan: Darfuri Activist - 'More Women Needed in Decision-Making Posts'

Khartoum — A leading Sudanese feminist has criticised the weak participation of women in the transitional government, noting their prominent role in uprooting the oppressive regime of Omar Al Bashir.

Safaa El Agib, Darfuri human rights and peace activist, and head of the Darfur Women Forum, said in an interview with Radio Dabanga's Kandaka programme that women should be key partners in the new government headed by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

She also criticised the weak representation of women in the current peace talks, and called on the negotiators "not to see women as victims only, but as genuine partners in peace building.

"Women have led the change themselves. They were capable of removing political injustice, so any peace process cannot take place except with the participation of women, at the same level as men."

El Agib called on the transitional government to expedite the appointment of civilian governors and the formation of the federal and state legislative councils, in order to complete pending adjustments to oppressive legislation, such as the Personal Status Law or the Land Act.

She demanded "all political parties, youth and women groups, armed struggle movements, and all other bodies required, to develop and adopt new laws that preserve the legitimate rights of women with the work of these institutions".

In the recent past, women have more than once called for a more balanced representation in government institutions.

In March, the Darfur Women Forum demanded the establishment of a commission on gender equality and empowerment of women. Women must have a share of no less than 50 per cent in state and federal structures, the forum stated.

Last year, in November, the Forum recommended that women not only participate in peace negotiations, but also take part in the demobilisation, disarmament, and reconstruction committees.

The USA-based Darfur Women Action Group and 37 experts and Sudanese civil society representatives produced a "Strategic Framework for Sustainable Change in the Republic of Sudan" in October. The comprehensive strategy was delivered to the Sudanese government, as well as to international and regional actors and stakeholders working on Sudan.

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