Sudan: Women's Issues On the Agenda for El Hilu-Sudan Peace Negotiations

In what has become an iconic image of the Sudan protests, 22-year-old architectural engineering student Alaa Salah (@oalaa_salah) chants poetry from the top of a car, wearing traditional dress (file photo).

Khartoum — A delegation of women in charge of the agenda for the next negotiation process in the South Sudan capital, Juba, visited Member of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Mohamed El Taayshi, yesterday.

The meeting was held to discuss how women's participation in official negotiations between the transitional government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu, could be enhanced in the upcoming negotiations.

Representative of the initiative, Nadia Mohamed Ali, explained that the meeting was "an opportunity to clarify the contents of the initiative, which was agreed upon by women from various organisations, political parties, civil society organizations, state officials of women's affairs, and women representing the displaced people camps and marginal areas." She added that the initiative has found support from a variety of women's groups.

She noted that the initiative was implemented by the Institute for Development Research at the University of Khartoum, which has supervised the workshops that preceded the agreement on the women's agenda, with direct support from the UN Women's Office in Khartoum.

Ali also added that this agenda is the first agreed upon feminist agenda from a variety of sectors of the feminist community in Sudan. In particular, the initiative involves the demands of displaced and refugee women, and those who have been subject to gender-based violence.

She said that El Taayshi affirmed his commitment to support the initiative and promised "to discuss it with officials in the peace file."

Peace negotiations in Juba are set to begin on April 25, after El Hilu withdrew from the previous Juba peace talks in August in protest of the chairmanship of the government delegation by Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemeti', who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia. The rebels accuse the RSF forces of committing "heinous crimes" against civilians in various parts of Sudan.

In November, El Hilu reaffirmed his eagerness "to reach a peaceful, just, and comprehensive political settlement of the Sudanese problem that would put an end to the civil wars in Sudan".

A Declaration of Principles was signed on March 28, in which the two parties agreed "to work together to achieve and consolidate the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Sudan".

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