Sudan repeals law that restricted women's dress and behaviour

29 November 2019, 11:56 | Updated: 29 November 2019, 14:06

A law used to regulate women's dress and behaviour in Sudan has been repealed following mass protests and a change of government.

The Public Order Act (POA) was used to impose conservative Islamic social codes, restricting women's movement, work and study.

Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok tweeted that it was "notorious for being used as a tool of exploitation, humiliation and violation of rights".

The act was a hangover from three decades of rule by Omar al Bashir, who was toppled in April.

Those violating the law, which was passed in 1992, faced being flogged and imprisoned.

Human rights activists said its vague language gave police and judges leeway to prosecute women.

The overthrow of Mr Bashir followed large protests, and the country is now run by a sovereign council, comprising civilians and soldiers. The council and a civilian-led cabinet are sharing powers until a new parliament is formed.

Mr Bashir's National Congress Party is being dismantled, while its assets and funds are being transferred to the state treasury.

That measure, and the repeal of the POA, had been two key demands during the protests, in which women played a prominent role.

In the capital, Khartoum, drivers hooted their car horns in celebration.

A corruption trial in September heard that Mr Bashir, who took power after a coup in 1989, kept the key to a presidential palace room holding millions of euros in cash.

Mr Hamdok said the POA had been used for "financial and psychological exploitation" and had caused "unforgettable harm".

He posted: "I pay tribute to the women and youth of my country who have endured the atrocities that resulted from the implementation of this law."