International Working Women’s Day, 2019 Speech by Ghada Abdalkeem (Sudan)

Good evening, everybody.

My thanks to the Communist Party of Ireland for inviting me to speak today. First of all let me send my greetings to all the communist parties, workers’ parties and the democratic organisations for their support and solidarity for the people of Sudan in their ongoing revolution against the dictatorial regime of the criminal Omer Albashir.

As we are now celebrating Women’s Day, my appreciation goes for every woman fighting against oppression. Greetings to every woman who sacrificed her life, for every woman that has been displaced, for every woman that has been imprisoned and tortured. A special greeting to the Irish women for their struggle and fighting for their rights throughout history and are still struggling, as rights are taken and they are not given.

Let me seize this opportunity to shed some light on Sudanese women, as you may not know much about them. These brave women remain dedicated to women’s rights. They know prison, torture, enforced disappearance, and rape.

Women in Sudan are the first in Africa and the Arab world who fought for their rights to freedom, education, the vote, election, equal pay for equal work, and many other rights.

I would like to talk about one of these women who spent all her life fighting for the rights of women not only in Sudan but all over the world. Her name is Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim. She was elected in 1956 as a member of the first Sudanese parliament after independence and as the first woman in Africa and the Arab world who got that privilege.

Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim became in 1991 the president of the Women’s International Democratic Federation. In 1993 she received the United Nations Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Human Rights.

During her struggle Fatima was imprisoned many times, tortured, suffered forced disappearance, and even her husband was executed for being a member of the Sudanese Communist Party’s Central Committee.

Following in the footsteps of Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim and many other women, Sudanese women remain dedicated and keep fighting the terrorist regime of Omer Albashir, who put in place laws and legislation targeting women in order to restrict their role to the house, using religion as a means of oppression.

I am standing in front of you today as I have been one of the victims of physical, psychological and sexual abuse, and I have been even the subject of an attempted murder. Unfortunately, there are many women that have been killed, raped or bombarded by military aircraft in Darfur, Nuba mountain, and the Blue Nile.

All these acts, which represent crimes against humanity and genocide, happened before the entire world. The regime of Sudan uses many different means to oppress women and all Sudanese people, who are uprising now against the regime. In this revolution, women are representing the driving force.

It is now almost thirty years since Albashir seized power in a coup d’état from a democratically elected government and established an oppressive theocratic regime. During these thirty years, war has been spread all over the country, and the country has been divided into two countries, and the danger of more division still exists. Sudanese people have been deprived more and more and been denied basic political rights.

Because of the current regime, the country is also suffering from brain drain, and an absence of development plans. Sudan has come under the control of international capitalism. Since taking power, the regime has applied public, social and economic policies in order to serve the interests of international imperialism and capitalism.

Now the Sudanese women have been leading the revolution in the streets for almost three months. Now about 60 people have been killed, including three women, as a result of the use of live ammunition, and hundreds also being injured, many of them in critical condition. More than 2,000 are in prison, including more than 300 women being subject to different sorts of torture and abuses.

Therefore, we urge Irish people, Irish women and all friendly societies to support the Sudanese woman in her struggle against the regime in Sudan, which has failed its human rights obligations.

The theme of International Women’s Day for this year is “Think equal, build smart innovation for change.” This focuses on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure.

The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals for African countries will require transformative shifts, integrated approaches, and new solutions, particularly when it comes to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of African women and girls.

There have been recent developments in the struggle in Sudan: the release of women detainees after the implementation of a hunger strike by women inside and outside prisons and the solidarity shown with them in and outside Sudan on International Women’s Day. There is growing understanding internationally about the violations that are being practised on women in Sudan. On Women’s Day, Sudanese women are either inside the prisons or outside taking steps to escalate our struggle against the criminal regime.

For thirty years we have been deprived, thirty years of resistance, which is ever evolving. On International Women’s Day we are in prisons and detention centres, on demonstrations, and many forms of rejection and resistance. For the rights of women, the women of Sudan have paid dearly.

Finally, my message to all the women of Ireland and the women of the entire world is to continue our struggle to achieve real citizenship. By the degree of equality we can measure the progress and the development of nations.

Discrimination and violence against women represent social problems that undermine all the efforts of progression and development.

Every day we read about a new story, new idea, new project, new change that was led somewhere by a woman, inspiring and opening for us new ways that motivate us to continue our journey and help us to develop ourselves and the people around us day after day.

Please do not forget the women in Sudan and the people of Sudan, because they need your help. Let’s come together and work for the values of solidarity and support among our nations.

Long live the struggle of women everywhere!

Thank you.