Sudan parliament approves controversial ‘Freedoms Bill’

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Sudan’s parliament on Tuesday approved a number of constitutional amendments ostensibly intended to guarantee public freedoms.
The so-called “Freedoms Bill”, however, ended up dropping several amendments proposed by the opposition that would have seen the power of the country’s security organs drastically reduced.
Along with security issues, the new legislation also establishes the bases for a new consensus government expected to be drawn up in coming days.
The legislation also defines Sudan’s “regular forces” as the national army, security and police apparatuses, suggesting the possible dissolution of the country’s many unofficial militias.
According to Badria Suleman, head of parliament’s legal committee, the legislation leaves considerable power in the hands of the National Intelligence and Security Services with a view to combatting terrorism, money laundering, human trafficking and illegal migration.
Suleman also pointed out that the new legislation would allow for the formation of “special courts” to ensure that members of the security agencies would be held to account.
The amendments, she added, would also allow children under the age of 18 to be married.
‘Oppressive’
Much of the Sudanese opposition, however, has rejected the amendments, describing the new legislation as “oppressive”.
Khalid Omer, secretary-general of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, told Anadolu Agency that the ruling party had “exploited its parliamentary majority to pass the legislation without any genuine debate”.
He went on to say that his party planned to resist the new legislation, using all peaceful means available to it.

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