Wini Omer: The system in Sudan is scary for women
- 09:24 5 September 2018
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NEWS CENTER - Wini Omer, a journalist and women's rights activist who faces the death penalty, stated that women journalists working for reflecting the truth in Sudan have faced all kinds of pressures. “Laws are enacted to prevent free thought in Sudan. But these laws cannot prevent the free thought,” said Wini while talking about the situation in Sudan.
Sudan, one of the North African countries, ranks 174 out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières -RSF). Sudan’s human rights record has continued to be defined by government repression and violations of basic civil and political rights. In Sudan, there are also prohibitions on women's clothes. According to data released by No to Women's Oppression Initiative, more than 15,000 women faced the punishment of flogging for their clothes in Sudan in 2016.
Wini Omer has been a journalist and women’s rights activist in Sudan for years. Wini has been providing trainings for youth about human rights, gender-related violence and reproductive health rights and she has been also organizing forums about prevention of gender-based violence, female genital mutilation and child marriages along with volunteers in the field of child protection. Having education in the sociology and anthropology departments, Wini is known for her research in social sciences and social change.
Wini, who has carried out many studies until now, has faced eight criminal charges for wearing skirt and participating in human rights activities. Wini has been banned from travelling abroad and she has faced jail sentence and the death penalty.
Wini Omar answered our news agency’s questions about journalism, women’s works and pressures they face in Sudan:
*How many years have you been involved in journalism and women’s rights activism in Sudan?
I am a journalist since 2014. I worked for Stzin Newspaper in Sudan in 2014. Then, the newspaper was closed down in 2016. I was also editor for weekly Alhadatha Alsudanya magazine which wrote about the problem women face. In 2017, when I was a university student, I was interested in women’s issues. I also participated in trainings on women's issues.
*You carried out many works about human rights, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation also known as "female circumcision", and child marriages. What are the data you acquired?
Violence on women has a considerable influence on women’s psychology, physic, social lives and women's economies. In particular, physical violence against women, beatings, and all forms of torture are deeply affecting women's health and leading to deaths of women.
Meanwhile, it is the torture that affects women's psychology very deeply, enslaving women, sexual abuse, etc. cause depression and women suffer from psychological diseases for this reason.
*How do female genital mutilation and child marriages affect women's health?
Female genital mutilation has spread as a culture in some communities and this is an approach to enslave the women. According to these communities, the communities which don’t practice the female genital mutilation are deficient communities. In Sudan, 90% of women have been undergone this procedure. This rate poses a danger. FGM influences deeply the women's psychology and health and can lead to death. For example, a child named Enam died after undergone this procedure.
Another main problem going on in Sudan is the marriage of children aged between seven and 10. The constitution in Sudan allows a father to marry their girls aged between seven and 10. This practice disregards the children's rights.
*What kinds of problems do women and women journalists face in Sudan?
Journalism is the hardest profession in Sudan. Women journalists have faced great barriers. Particularly, female journalists covering political events and protests have been detained by police. The state sees them against itself. Female journalists, who write the truth, are affronted when they resist. Every method they use is to move away and silence the women journalists.
In my opinion, the system in Sudan is scary for women. The male mentality is in control in Sudan. The women's living and working places are being targeted. They think the women are weak and women are subjected to violence. Numerous women have been arrested by Sudan government. As women, we should raise our struggle against the system being built here.
* Do you have any call for women and your colleagues?
Female journalists and NGOs were in solidarity with me in this process. The solidarity gave me moral and strength. Of course, that’s not enough. We should raise awareness of public about human and women’s rights. Let’s draw attention to the situation of women in prisons of Sudan. Let's not forget that political Islam and the dictatorship in Sudan continue to take away women's rights every passing minute.