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South Sudan; Sudan: Sexual, Gender Violence

(Feb. 25, 2011) On February 20, 2011, the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG), a local civil rights organization, accused the Northern Sudanese security apparatus of systematically using gender-based violence against female activists, in response to anti-government protests. (Sudan Used Sexual Violence Against Female Activists, Right [sic] Group Says, SUDAN TRIBUNE (Feb. 22, 2011), The SDFG claimed that six female political activists endured verbal and sexual abuse, including rape, at the hands of members of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). (Id.) One of the abused activists, an art student and a member of a Sudanese youth group, offered a detailed account of her ordeal in which she was abducted by NISS officers, verbally abused, beaten up, and raped by three officers. (Sudan Rights Group Slams 'Rape' by Security Forces, AFP (Feb. 23, 2011),

The SDFG called for the repeal of laws that promote violence against women, including the Public Order Law, which is commonly used and allows for the prosecution and flogging of women for violations of its broadly defined terms, such as “indecency.” (SUDAN TRIBUNE, supra.) In December 2010, after a video showing a woman convicted on indecency charges being flogged in public while being tormented by officers surfaced and caused a public outcry, the Sudanese Judicial Authority ordered an investigation into the way in which the flogging sentence was carried out. (Hanibal Goitom, Sudan: Corporal Punishment Incident Under Investigation, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Dec. 15, 2010), The practice of flogging itself, however, has remained untouched. (Id.) The SDFG is also calling for a review of the National Security Act, to limit the broad powers granted to the security apparatus under the Act. (SUDAN TRIBUNE, supra.)

Meanwhile, it was reported on February 22, 2011, that the Government of South Sudan has vowed to enact laws against gender-based violence and ensure their proper enforcement. (Ngor Arol Garang, South Sudan Plans Law against Gender Based Violence, SUDAN TRIBUNE (Feb. 22, 2011), This development occurred after a report came to light about a girl who was beaten to death in Lakes State (one of the states of South Sudan) over a marital gift dispute. (Id.) Anges Kwaje, the Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Welfare, acknowledged the existence of widespread physical abuse of women in Southern Sudan, mainly in rural areas, which she called unacceptable. (Id.) She stated that her Ministry will soon introduce specific laws on gender violence, including sexual harassment, trafficking, and rape. (Id.)