Sudan steps forward

Sudan’s progress should be celebrated by democracies the world over.

The Editorial Board
Sat, 08 Aug 2020 04:00:00 GMT

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Much of the world has been consumed by chaos. The coronavirus pandemic rages on. Domestic strife has furthered partisan divisions in the United States. And Hong Kong continues to battle for its freedom from authoritarian China.

In northeast Africa, however, good news has been quietly pouring out of Sudan, where decades of oppressive laws and traditions are being cast out in favor of a commitment to freedom, equality, and human rights.

Over the past several weeks, the Sudanese government has approved a series of amendments to its criminal law, doing away with a mandatory death sentence for apostasy and allowing Muslims to consume alcohol. Sudan has also prohibited female genital mutilation, public flogging, and a requirement that women receive a permit from male family members before traveling.

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“We [will] drop all the laws violating the human rights in Sudan,” said Sudanese Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari in an interview with state TV. “We are keen to demolish any kind of discrimination that was enacted by the old regime and to move toward equality of citizenship and a democratic transformation.”

Sudan’s radical transformation comes on the heels of last year’s coup d’etat, in which dictator Omar al-Bashir was overthrown after 30 years in power. The country continues to transition toward becoming a full-fledged democracy, and these recent reforms prove that the goal is sincere.

Sudan’s progress should be celebrated by democracies the world over. As countries like China head in the wrong direction — stamping out freedom with violence and oppression — the efforts of countries like Sudan must be supported however possible.