Source: Nobel Women's Initiatives
Sudanese women's rights activists lobbied Africa's leaders ahead of the 16th African Union (AU) Summit that kicked off on January 24th. In a program coordinated by Oxfam International, Sudanese women's rights activists Samia Nihar, Zaynab El-Sawi, and Fahima El-Hashim joined the Nobel Women's Initiative in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
They joined other civil society leaders from across Africa to discuss African Union advocacy. Meetings concluded with several high-level advocacy meetings with AU Ambassadors.
Sudan is a top priority on the AU Summit agenda. On January 15th, Southern Sudan concluded the voting in the independence referendum. The vote was relatively peaceful, but many post-referendum issues remain to be negotiated between north and south Sudan. The security situation in Darfur remains volatile with little progress in the peace negotiations.
Sudanese women took the following messages to AU Ambassadors:
* They support Southern Sudan's referendum and would like to ensure that all pending post-referendum issues are peacefully negotiated. They called for a unified AU voice in accepting the results of the referendum and the continued engagement of the Mbeki Panel recommendations, including women's inclusion.
* Following President Bashir's intention to create an Islamic, Arabic-only sharia law state in north Sudan, they stressed the crack down on women's rights. This included the public flogging of a woman captured in a controversial YouTube video in December 2010.
* They cautioned AU leaders to ensure that Darfur remains on the agenda despite the large focus on the Southern Sudan referendum.