Under Sudan’s Criminal Act (1991), rape is defined as zina (adultery and fornication) without consent. This means that the strict rules of evidence used for zina are also applied to rape. Women activists have contested this legal position, despite government repression of those advocating reform. Data from 50 interviews in 2011, 2012, and 2013 show that criminal law reform on rape/zina is politicized and polarized, with little dialogue between the government and women activists. The 2005 peace agreement and the Interim National Constitution sparked a review of Sudan’s laws, while the outbreak of armed conflict in Darfur and the International Criminal Court indictment of President al-Bashir focused attention on sexual violence in Sudanese society. These developments have furthered debate on legal reform of rape/zina provisions, including the controversial topic of marital rape. But in this highly politicized environment, reform advocates find their space for maneuver is small.
This article is part of a collaborative project between CMI and Ahfad University for women focusing on law reform and gender justice. My invaluable research partner, Samia, al-Nagar, has done a tremendeous job in terms of helping me in the data collection. Without her, this article would not have been possible. Thank you!
The International Protection Alternative in Refugee Law: Treaty basis and scope of application under the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol
Decade of Despair: The Contested Rebuilding of the Nahr al-Bared Refugee Camp, Lebanon, 2007–2017
Are John Knudsen
Refuge - Canada's Journal on Refugees
The Monkey Cage at the Washington Post: Why Campaigns to Stop Child Marriage Can Backfire
Ragnhild L. Muriaas, University of Bergen, Vibeke Wang, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Lindsay Benstead, Portland State University, Boniface Dulani, University of Malawi, Lise Rakner, University of Bergen/Chr. Michelsen Institute