The Nobel Women’s Initiative welcomes the news of Sudanese activist, Jalila Khamis Koko’s release from prison in Sudan. A Nubian from South Kordofan, Ms. Koko courageously spoke out against the daily aerial bombardments of civilians of her home community by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). Ms. Koko was so moved by the plight of those displaced by the conflict, her home became an unofficial refuge to more than two-dozen internally displaced people. Ms. Koko’s activism did not stop there and in June 2011, Koko publicly denounced the conditions in South Kordofan in a YouTube video, calling for humanitarian assistance and an end to the conflict. The Sudanese authorities were so outraged by the video that on 14 March 2012, the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services arrested Ms. Koko.
Ms. Koko’s charges included “waging war against the state” and “undermining the constitutional system,” both of which carry the death penalty. In light of the gravity of the situation, activists around the world quickly responded the news of Jalila Khamis Koko’s arrest and launched a campaign to push for her release. In a hearing of her case, her defense team – organized by local Sudanese activists – forced the Sudanese court to acknowledge that there was no basis for the charges against her. After 10 months in prison, Ms. Koko was released on 20 January 2013. On that day, crowds of people – gathered both inside and outside of the court building – celebrated Ms. Koko’s freedom.
Rape as a weapon of war has featured prominently in the conflict in South Kordofan. This situation is of great concern to the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. Beginning on Sunday 27 January 2013, a delegation of women activists – including Sudanese activists Zaynab El Sawi; Walaa Salah Mohamed Abdelrhman; Nahid Gabralla, Director of the SEEMA Centre for Training; and Alice Oleya, Gender and Planning Officer of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization – will be meeting with African Heads of State and representatives of the African Union to discuss the situation in South Kordofan while advocating for better prevention, protection and prosecution of rape in conflict.
To learn more about the delegation, follow the International Campaign to Stop Rape and Gender Violence’s website.
History repeats itself in Sudan, Women Under Siege, 12 November 2012.
South Kordofan: activism, resilience and sacrifice, Open Democracy, 29 November 2012.
Sudanese teacher faces death penalty, Amnesty International, 14 December 2012.
A non-violent victory in Sudan, Foreign Policy, 24 January 2013.