Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (18 May) on the death sentence imposed on 19-year-old Sudanese woman Noura Hussein:
I am shocked by the death sentence imposed on 19-year-old Sudanese woman Noura Hussein.
According to media reports, she was married against her will at the age of 16 and raped by her husband while others held her down. She killed her husband when he attempted to rape her again. She has now been convicted of murder by a court in Khartoum.
This case highlights the many incidents of young girls and women who are married against their will, often as minors, not only in the Sudan, but also in many other countries. Forced marriage violates Article 16, paragraph 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which also applies to the Sudan.
In December 2016, the members of the United Nations General Assembly, including the Sudan, adopted a resolution calling for an end to the practice of forced marriage and to protect those at risk.
I call on the Sudan and all other countries to fulfil this obligation.
The death penalty is an inhuman and cruel form of punishment. The German Government rejects the death penalty under all circumstances and is campaigning with its European partners for its worldwide abolition.
In the Sudan, marriageable age commences with puberty. With the permission of a judge, ten-year-olds can also be married, provided they are Muslims. Non-Muslims must be at least 13 (girls) or 15 (boys) years of age. Marital rape is not a punishable offence. According to estimates by the United Nations, one in three girls in the Sudan is married before the age of 18. Resolution A/RES/71/175 of the UN General Assembly calls on all states to prevent early and forced marriages.