Respecting The Rule Of Law Exceeds The Promulgation Of New Laws: Sudan’s New Government

Progress in improving the laws surrounding certain practices like F.G.M. (female genital mutilation) has been slower than expected in Sudan, but it is possible. This age-old practice has not only been a grave human rights violation for young women and girls, but it has affected the mentality of the Sudanese people. The government’s new actions to make amendments – that will also abolish the requirement for women with children who want to travel to get consent from a male guardian – is commendable. The Sovereign Council’s decision to pass into law these major amendments is a huge jump forward.

Talking to the BBC, Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari said “We are keen to demolish any discrimination that was enacted by the old regime and to move toward equality of citizenship and a democratic transformation.” This in his perspective is not solely aimed to correct the faults of the former regime but to outline Sudan’s integrity in respecting international commitments.  Sudan confirmed her international commitments to the world by repealing criminal provisions that prevented cooperation with the International Criminal Court: the ban for the infliction of torture, abolishment for the crime of apostasy, permission for non-Muslims to consume alcohol. It is therefore not far-fetched to rely on Sudan’s willingness to ensure former president Omar al-Bashir, Ali Kosheib and three others respect the arrest warrants from the ICC.

Providing an equal society or peaceful country entails taking continuous ladder-like steps up the high way to democracy. The rule of law is not just a democratic practice, but a tangible action towards maintaining stable peace. Human Rights Watch is admonishing Sudanese authorities to tackle a raft of other problematic laws including repealing the crime of adultery, ending corporal punishment, and reforming personal status laws that discriminate against women and girls. They should also ratify key international treaties like the conventions against torture and on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

Promulgating news has been a typical first step for all democracies but implementation remains the backbone. Strict implementation entails disseminating information nationwide in all clarity and simplicity. Citizens have the fundamental right to know why a law is passed, how it will affect their wellbeing, and what they are expected to do. This detailed step by step process has to exceed religious and political barriers. Sanctions of violations have been a common deterrence strategy but educating people about the relevance of laws should surpass. If people are made to see the effects of their actions and are shown the positive/negative consequences of a change of mind, it will be very easy to abide by those laws. The future path for the Sudanese people is promising should this new government maintain their current devotion to curb discrimination and inequality.

Sarah Namondo

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