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29 mei 2018

Femmes for Freedom demands justice in the case of Noura Hussein, a Sudanese women that defended herself against her rapist husband. Noura was forced by her father to marry her cousin. Upon hearing his decision, she fled and lived with extended family for three years. She was lured back home under false pretences and made to marry her cousin. When her now husband tried to forcibly consume his marriage, she resisted for six days. He then recruited three family members to aid him in raping Noura. When he tried to rape her again the next day, a struggle followed during which she defended herself with a knife and ultimately killed her husband. Now, Noura faces the death penalty because she defended herself against violence and rape.

The consumption of all forced marriages is rape. But spousal rape is not recognized as a criminal offense in Sudan. Under Sudanese law, men have financial responsibilities towards women. However, women are forced to obey their husbands and service them at all times, as the man has legal custody over his wife.

Self-determination is a fundamental human right. Noura Hussein has never been able to exercise that right because she is a woman and women are the property of their male guardian in Sudan, in Noura’s case her father. Femmes for Freedom urges the Dutch government to help Noura defend her rights. By pressuring the Sudanese government, the death penalty can be overturned. The Netherlands has a strong history of helping women abroad. When Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death in Sudan, because she converted to Christianity and married a Christian man, the then minister of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans, summoned the Sudanese ambassador to discuss the case. Because of international pressure Ibrahim and her child were released and found a save haven in the United States. We ask the Netherlands to follow in American footsteps and offer asylum to Noura Hussein. We urge the Dutch government to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Convention for the Elimination of All Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and stress the importance of both on an international level. No woman, or man, should be forced to have sex against their will, be forced to marry or to pay the ultimate price for freedom.

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