The military coup in Sudan is a terrible setback to the powerful work for democracy that women have led. We spoke to one of our partners in Sudan, about what’s happening now and what it means. Our partner must remain anonymous for security reasons.
What do you see coming next?
The people of Sudan refuse this move from the army, and we are all preparing for a big demonstration all over Sudan on Saturday to demand the return of the civilian government and the release of all the detainees.
Even a few days ago, on October 21, we organized another big demonstration in support to the Prime Minister and his government. Millions of the people of Sudan in 50 cities and localities went to the street, demanding that the army stay away because there were reports the army was going to stage a coup.
What are the prospects for preserving or advancing democracy in Sudan?
This is a really difficult question, and it depends on the army separating itself completely from politics in Sudan. If there is any hope to restore the transitional government, it has to be through a very clear agreement that the army should keep away from governance and political issues. That way, the civil government can take the people to the election, which was supposed to be in the beginning of 2024. This is the only way.
We also must pay attention to the negative impact of regional governments like Egypt, the Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Those are working hard to block every attempt of the Sudanese people to have democracy, for many reasons. One is that they don’t want democracy in the region, considering their own dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. The other has to do with the resources we have in Sudan, like livestock, gold and other minerals, much of which goes to Egypt, the Emirates and others. They also have an interest in the ports of Sudan. There are many ways that these powers want to benefit from Sudan, which is a big problem. We want the world to speak out and stop these regional countries from getting in the business of Sudan.
What does this crisis mean for women's rights?
If this government becomes a reality, this is really a big setback for the women and girls. Because the leaders of this coup, they don’t like the freedoms that women and girls have enjoyed. Now they are retaliating with brutality against the women and youth who are leading demonstrations.
We will continue to share updates as we learn more from our partners.