The constitution of Sudan grants includes the following right to health services:
- Article 15, section 2: The State shall protect motherhood and women from injustice, promote gender equality and the role of women in family, and empower them in public life.
- Article 19: The State shall promote public health and guarantee equal access and free primary health care to all citizens.
- Article 32, section 3: The State shall combat harmful customs and traditions which undermine the dignity and the status of women.
- Article 32, section 4: The State shall provide maternity and child care and medical care for pregnant women.
- Article 46: The State shall promote public health, establish, rehabilitate, develop basic medical and diagnostic institutions, provide free primary health care and emergency services for all citizens.
Sexual and reproductive rights implementation
The circumstances under which an abortion is considered legal is one of these three conditions as mentioned in the Criminal code of 1991 (Arabic version, article 135 and 136):
(1) The miscarriage is necessary to save the mother’s life, (2) the pregnancy is the result of rape which has occurred not more than 90 days before the pregnant woman has desired to have the abortion or (3) it is proved that the quick unborn child has died in the mother’s womb. If the pregnancy is of less than 90 days’ duration, the person who performs the illegal abortion is subject to up to three years imprisonment and/or payment of a fine. If the duration of the pregnancy is of more than 90 days, the penalty for performing an abortion is increased to up to five years imprisonment and payment of a fine. In both cases, the patient may be subject to the payment of compensation.
See also the Sudan Country Program of Planned Parenthood.
Female Genital Mutilation
As described in a 2010 paper on Criminal Law and Justice in Sudan the Sudanese High Council for Child Welfare submitted a draft law for adopting a provision prohibiting FGM in the Child Act, to illegalize FGM on health, social and other grounds in 2009. However, the law failed to be adopted because the Parliament abolished the relevant provision in that Act.
Rights of sexual minorities
As described in a 2010 paper on Criminal Law and Justice in Sudan same-sex relationships are criminalized under the same law as adultery in Sudan. The Criminal Code of 1991 prohibits adultery and sodomy which are punishable by the law (articles 146 and 148 respectively). Article 145, section 1 defines adultery as having intercourse without lawful bondage, in which both parties are equally guilty, regardless of consent. Adultery is punishable with stoning to death, if married, and by 100 lashes, if not, in addition to Tagreeb (sent into exile) flogging and imprisonment. Sodomy is also punishable by up to 100 lashes and also liable to up to 5 years imprisonment, for a second conviction 100 lashes and up to 5 years imprisonment; for a third time death or life imprisonment. For more information on the rights of sexual minorities in Sudan, go to Freedom Sudan.
Violence against women
Rape as a violence against women is punishable according to the criminal code of 1991 (article 149, section 3) by 100 lashes and imprisonment up to 10 years. If someone of the same sex commits rape, it is punishable by death. According to Amnesty International, mass rape as a war crime has been documented in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Sexual and reproductive rights challenges
The National Strategy for Reproductive Health 2006 -2010 from the Sudan Ministry of Health emphasized the wish to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriage. Female Genital Mutilation, early marriage and HIV/AIDS are three of the most common challenges encountered by health activists, NGOs, legislatives and policy makers in Sudan. Even though a special chapter prohibiting FGM was not adopted by the Sudanese parliament, there is still hope for eliminating FGM in Sudan.