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January-February 2011

Vol. 36, No. 1

Sudan: Listening to women’s voices

The Sudanese Women Empowerment for Peace (SuWEP) is a network of women’s groups from all over Sudan. It includes many brave women who have risked their lives speaking the truth to power and who played a crucial role in peace building during and after the war between North and South. Members of SuWEP met in Khartoum on December 12-13, 2010 to discuss issues that affect women in the pre-, during and post-referendum periods. Their statement following this meeting is printed here. In the aftermath of the January 9 referendum, which will decide the future of Sudan, it is important to listen with care to Sudanese voices.

AWARE of the gains women of the Sudan have made during the last post conflict (CPA) period;

MINDFUL of the women issues and rights in the current political set up and structures of administration in the Sudan;

CONCERNED of the current political dispensation and the imminent transition affecting the geo-political set up of the Sudan;

DEEPLY CONCERNED about the challenges women of the Sudan are and will face in the wake of the changes about to occur;

CONSCIOUS of the sensitivity and the nature of the issues that are affecting the women on citizenship and rights of the women;

CONCERNED about the impact of and the consequences of the transition and the possible new political arrangements in the Sudan;

AWARE of the roles we as women of SUWEP played in the peace processes in the Sudan;

PURSUANT of our commitment and search as SUWEP for peace and peaceful co-existence irrespective of the outcome of the referendum;


  • Urge both governments to ensure fair, free, transparent and secure conduct of the referendum and stop any acts of violence during the processes.
  • Call upon the Sudan Referendum Commission to ensure a smooth, nonviolent fair and transparent and properly managed process.
  • Urge both governments to address all issues related to the referendum itself such as resources, citizenship, education and borders.
  • Appeal to the parties concerned to respect the outcome of the referendum, embrace peace and resist any call to return to war.
  • Call for formation of post referendum governance structures that are democratic, inclusive, participatory and promote respect for human rights especially women’s and children’s rights.
  • Appeal to both governments in the North and the South to implement policies and strategies that will address issues of injustice, poverty and marginalization and the full attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Urge the two governments to develop the Countries’ plan of action to implement UNSCR 1325, 1820 on Women, Peace and Security to ensure the Protection, Promotion Prevention and Participation of women.
  • Call upon the two governments to ratify the African Protocol on the rights of women.

WE as SuWEP group both in the North and South, commit ourselves:

  • To work together irrespective of the outcome of the referendum.
  • To work towards a free, fair, transparent and non-violent referendum.
  • To work to promote sustainable peace, democracy, human rights, justice, gender equality and development in the country(s).
  • To conduct awareness programs to the masses to understand and accept the referendum results.
  • To offer support in form of legal aid, healing and psychological support through an outreach program to the women in prisons, abused and discriminated against.
  • To lobby the two governments for laws that will facilitate freedom of movement, work and access to basic facilities including rights to ownership of land and properties.
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