The governor of Sudan’s Khartoum state, Mazoub Khalifa, announced a decree banning women in the capitol city of Khartoum from working “in public places where they are in direct contact with men.” Kalifa states that the decree, “is to honour women, uphold their lofty status and put them in the appropriate place that respects the values and observes the tradition of our nation.” A survey conducted this week in Khartoum found that the decree was observed in public places where women university students worked.
Sudan has long held a less than favorable record on women’s human rights that continues with its refusal to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The country was one of the five countries plus the Vatican that fiercely opposed advancing the Beijing Platform for Action during its five-year review held in June 2000. According to the U.S. Department of State, Sudan serves as a central hub for international terrorist groups including groups formed by Usama Bin Ladin, the Saudi national who remains in Afghanistan as a guest of the extremist Taliban militia. Like Sudan, the Taliban has also imposed a ban on women’s employment.