Summary: Recognizing the growing need for information in dealing with sexual violence, UAF-Africa supported a group
in the Nuba Mountains to document and develop a gender knowledge base in Arabic. This was aimed at
tackling the knowledge and awareness problem, and the need for alternatives for organizing workshops and
trainings. The group seeks to develop digital learning materials on protection and advocacy tools and
documentation of violations with focus on sexual violence and information in supporting sexual violence victims- medically, psychologically and legally. The target for these materials will be first responders to sexual
violence victims, including families, local community members, healthcare and psychological support
providers, and the victims themselves.
In order to reach a majority of the community members, the materials (both visual and audio visual) will be
translated into the main languages: Fur, Zagawa, Oncho, Jimang and Beja. Furthermore, the organization plans to
create support groups to start conversations among the victims and the unified community with guidance from
legal, medical, and psychological professionals. These groups would be created through website interactive
forums which would also be available in social networks and mobile applications such as WhatsApp, and would
additionally link the victims with volunteer care providers and legal assistants when in need for private
consultancy through direct messages, SMS, phone calls and via communication applications such as Viber or Skype.
On the advocacy level the group plans to circulate a monthly electronic newsletter on the latest situation of women
rights in Sudan and the active call for actions in collaboration with women rights groups inside and outside
Sudan in order to create a larger solidarity network for women’s rights CSOs.
For over 20 years of the militarized Islamic rule in Sudan, women’s rights have been under attack and have
gradually been compromised. The growing militarization of the state has increased the amount of violence
against women and girls, especially in the war areas. Women in Darfur, Blue Nile, and Nuba mountains, have
been forced not only to leave their homes and bury their loved ones but to leave their dignity, self-respect
and part of their souls in the places where they were raped, those places could be their villages, or in the
IDP or refugee camps. Women rights groups and civil society have strived to survive in the most hostile
environments for human rights activism. Women’s rights defenders have especially been targeted for the work that they do, which is viewed as seeking to upset the state, religion and cultural order of life.
The Islamic background of the Sudanese regime imposed Islamic laws that diminished many gains of Sudanese women’s
rights movement since the 1960s. Women have been and still are under attack in all aspects of their life, from
the way they dress on the streets to whom they marry or where, how and when they work. The Public order law is
the highest institutionalized tool to discriminate against women. Even with the vigorous human rights
campaigning against this law, locally and internationally women’s rights are still violated. Because of the
growing attack on civil society, their capability has been undermined in the fight against the public order law.
In early 2014, the Sudanese President called for political reform and peace and it was anticipated that this would
aid in the improvement of the human rights condition in Sudan, however this has not been the case and if
anything the condition has only worsened. It is now upon the civil society to come up with mechanisms to combat
the challenges they face as regards to shrinking space and protection of victims of sexual violence
while at the same time upholding and protecting women’s rights.
In the last months up to June 2015, the violence against Sudanese women reached a new level. The Sudanese
government through its armed and security forces and police have raped and sexually harassed women in Darfur, Nuba
mountains, Blue Nile and Khartoum. In October 2014, the armed forces rape over 200 Darfuri women within 3
days during the in Tabit village. This incidence took place a few days after the police and security raid on
the Darfuri female students’ dorm in Khartoum. These incidents have brought back the attention of the local and
international agenda, the urgent need to develop an effective strategy to protect Sudanese women’s rights, and prevent sexual violence.
In the wake of all these issues, the few local women’s rights groups that still exist are struggling to reflect and
combat the rising violence against women, within and also outside the conflict zones. The number of active
women’s rights groups keeps dwindling by the day as the government continues with its crack down on
organizations. In June 2014, Sudanese security denied renewal of registration for Salmmah Women’s Resource
Centre, one of the leading women rights groups.
As a result, it’s becoming more dangerous for women rights groups and WHRDs to provide support and awareness for
the victims of violence and the community around them. These conditions have not only intensified the
victims’ suffering, as they do not have access to the needed help in situations of sexual violence including
medical, psychological and legal. There are now security restrictions that have been placed in war torn areas
and IDP camps, which have denied freedom of association and movement without security permissions. Worse still
is the new Security Law, which gave the security (Armed) forces more powers to conduct trials and take on
most of the work of the police force.
All the above mentioned issues considered, support for women through the remaining women’s rights groups and
organizations in Sudan cannot be underscored enough and it is upon the community, both the donor community and
the whole international community at large to put in concerted efforts to ensure that human rights and most
importantly women’s rights are upheld in Sudan, especially in Darfur, Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile Region.