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Sudanese Premier hands over state governments to civilians

The North African country where dictator Omar al-Bashir was overthrown last year is being run by a power-sharing government of civilian and army figures until elections due in 2022.

Last week, Sudan Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari in an effort to strengthen women’s rights, announced that female genital mutilation (FGM) will be banned throughout the country, and women will no longer need a permit to travel.

Sudan’s prime minister named civilian governors to run the country’s 18 states, replacing military officials in a step long demanded by the pro-democracy movement.

The new governors include two women, premier Abdalla Hamdok said Wednesday in a televised address.

The North African country where dictator Omar al-Bashir was overthrown last year is being run by a power-sharing government of civilian and army figures until elections due in 2022.

Sudanese former President Omar al-Bashir

Last week, Sudan Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari in an effort to strengthen women’s rights, announced that female genital mutilation (FGM) will be banned throughout the country, and women will no longer need a permit to travel.

The transition government is pushing to lead Sudan to democracy, end discrimination and peacefully quell the rebel uprising in Darfur.

The government has been praised for the reforms, which among others has decriminalise apostasy, and end the requirement for women to get travel permits.

The legislation makes major strides in pushing back against discrimination faced by women and minorities during the 30-year rule of Omar al-Bashir that came to an end in 2019, according to equality advocates.

The anti-torture charity Redress and the Sudan-based African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies said the measures “move Sudan a step closer towards eliminating structural violence against women and minorities”.

“We encourage the new government to continue making domestic law and policy reforms until systematic torture is eradicated from the country and justice and reparations are fully realised for victims,” said Charlie Loudon, Redress’s international legal adviser.

Justice Abdulbari called the reforms “a big stride towards establishing one of the foundations for the victorious December revolution’s slogans, which is freedom”.

Sudan’s infamous apostasy laws were highlighted by the case of Meriam Ibrahim, who was raised by a Christian mother, but sentenced to death by a Sudanese court for abandoning Islam, the faith of her father. Ibrahim was freed in 2018 after an international outcry.