Source: Radio Dabanga
Khartoum — The Sudanese No Oppression against Women Initiative strongly denounces the Khartoum state Public Order Act.

According to Amira Osman, one of the founders of the Initiative, "this law seems to designed to oppress women, violate their rights, and offend their dignity in various ways, including flogging and imprisonment for alleged indecent dressing".

She told Radio Dabanga in Sunday that the organisation's members did not succeed to gain access to the 16 young women who were detained by the Public Order police in Khartoum two weeks ago. The women, on an outing with their relatives, were charged of wearing inappropriate clothing.

Osman explained that the women were brought to trial the next day. "They were sentenced to a number of lashes and the payment of a fine, after which they were released. Yet, most of their families consider their conviction a shame, and keep silent."

The activist said that "the Initiative's challenge is how to persuade the families to learn about their rights and to confront the law that violates the right of women to dress in freedom".

"This law seems to designed to oppress women, violate their rights, and offend their dignity in various ways."

Lawyer Amel El Zein, another leading member of the No Oppression against Women Initiative confirmed that the Public Order Act is "loose and unclear,"she told this station.

"The law gives the police discretionary powers to be randomly used for the oppression of women. The intent of the law is to intimidate women and deprive them of participation in public life."

Regarding the Khartoum state Commissioner's decision to prevent women from wearing trousers, El Zein commented that the local legislation is one of the problems facing the citizens in the country. "The local authorities have given legislative powers to the localities' commissioners, who can now decide on laws contrary to the Constitution and the national laws."

Activist Sawsan El Shweya added that "all members of the Initiative are continuously combating discrimination against women in Sudan. We are advocating and lobbying against this oppression. The coming days will show to what extent."

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