CHANGES IN SUDAN

Sudan ends alcohol ban for non-Muslims

Sudan has also banned female genital mutilation (FGM).

In Summary

• Women will also no longer need permission from a male relative to travel with their children.

• A raft of new laws were passed last week but this is the first public explanation of their contents.

Sample of alcohol bottles in a liquor shop
Sample of alcohol bottles in a liquor shop
Image: COURTESY

After more than 30 years of Islamist rule, Sudan has outlined wide-reaching reforms including allowing non-Muslims to drink alcohol, and scrapping the apostasy law and public flogging.

"We [will] drop all the laws violating the human rights in Sudan," Justice MInister Nasredeen Abdulbari said.

A raft of new laws were passed last week but this is the first public explanation of their contents.

Sudan has also banned female genital mutilation (FGM).

Women will also no longer need permission from a male relative to travel with their children.

The reforms come after long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was ousted last year following massive street protests.

The current government is an uneasy mixture of those groups which ousted Mr Bashir and his former allies in the military, who ultimately staged a coup against him.

What is the new law on alcohol?

Non-Muslims are now allowed to consume alcohol in private, however the ban on Muslim drinking remains, Mr Abdulbari told state TV.

Non-Muslims could still be punished if they are caught drinking with Muslims, the Sudan Tribune reports him as saying.

He explained that the government was trying to safeguard the rights of the country's non-Muslims, who constitute an estimated 3% of the population.

They are now allowed to drink, import and sell alcohol.

"We are keen to demolish any kind of discrimination that was enacted by the old regime and to move toward equality of citizenship and a democratic transformation," he said.

The laws were initially approved in April but the BBC's Mohamed Osman in Khartoum says they have only now taken effect.