Sudan cabinet scraps law abusing women’s rights: state media

Sudanese women march in Khartoum to mark International Day for Eliminating Violence against Women, in the first such rally held in the northeast African country in decades, on November 25, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 26 November 2019

Sudan cabinet scraps law abusing women’s rights: state media

  • Thousands of women were flogged, fined and even jailed during Bashir’s ironfisted rule
  • The cabinet’s decision is still to be ratified by the ruling sovereign council

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s cabinet Tuesday scrapped a controversial law that severely curtailed women’s rights during the 30-year tenure of deposed autocrat Omar Al-Bashir, state media reported.
Thousands of women were flogged, fined and even jailed during Bashir’s ironfisted rule under the archaic public order law for “indecent and immoral acts.”
“The council of ministers agreed in an extraordinary meeting today to cancel the public order law across all provinces,” the official SUNA news agency reported.
The cabinet’s decision is still to be ratified by the ruling sovereign council, which is an 11-member joint civilian-military body.
Bashir seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, severely restricting the role of women in Sudan for decades.
During his rule, authorities implemented a strict moral code that activists said primarily targeted women, through harsh interpretations of Islamic sharia law.
Bashir was deposed by the army on April 11 after months of protests against his rule.
Women were at the forefront of demonstrations.
Activists say the public order law was used as a weapon, with security forces regularly arresting women even for attending private parties or for wearing trousers.
The law also punished those who consumed or brewed alcohol, which is banned in the northeast African country.
Sudan’s new government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has assured citizens it will uphold women’s rights.
On Tuesday, the cabinet also decided to “restructure the country’s judicial system in order to prepare it for the new era,” SUNA reported without elaborating.


Haftar agrees to lift Libya oil blockade with conditions

Updated 28 min 2 sec ago

Haftar agrees to lift Libya oil blockade with conditions

  • Pro-Haftar groups supported by the Petroleum Facilities Guard blockaded key oilfields and export terminals on January 17

BENGHAZI: Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar announced Friday a conditional lifting of a months-long blockade on oilfields and ports by his forces.
“We have decided to resume oil production and export on condition of a fair distribution of revenues” and guarantee they “will not be used to support terrorism,” he said on television.
Pro-Haftar groups supported by the Petroleum Facilities Guard blockaded key oilfields and export terminals on January 17 to demand what they called a fair share of hydrocarbon revenues.
The blockade, which has resulted in more than $9.8 billion in lost revenue, according to National Petroleum Company (NOC), has exacerbated electricity and fuel shortages in the country.
Dressed in his military uniform, Haftar said the command of his forces had “put aside all military and political considerations” to respond to the “deterioration of living conditions” in Libya, which has Africa’s largest oil reserves.
The announcement comes after hundreds of Libyans protested last week in the eastern city of Benghazi, one of Haftar’s strongholds, and other cities over corruption, power cuts and shortages in petrol and cash.
Protesting peacefully at first, protesters on Sunday set fire to the headquarters of the parallel eastern government in Benghazi and attacked the police station in Al-Marj.
Police officers fired live ammunition to disperse them in Al-Marj, leaving at least one dead and several wounded, according to witnesses and the UN mission in Libya.
Libya has been in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
The country’s oil revenues are managed by the NOC and the central bank, both based in Tripoli, which is also the seat of Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
Haftar runs a rival administration based in the country’s east.
Haftar— who has the backing of Egypt, the UAE and Russia — launched an offensive against Tripoli in April last year.
After 14 months of fierce fighting, pro-GNA forces backed by Turkey expelled his troops from much of western Libya and pushed them to Sirte, the gateway to Libya’s rich oil fields and export terminals.