Conference on Human Rights in Sudan

The Second Kampala Conference on

Human Rights in Sudan

In the first Kampala Conference, the Umma Party has contributed a well researched statement on Human Rights in the Transition in Sudan titled: Second Birth in Sudan in the Cradle of Sustainable Human Rights, presented to the Conference by the UP President.

The UP appreciates the serious and sustained efforts of Committee of the Civil Project in Sudan to address Sudan’s current problems.

A summary of our position on the seven themes of Conference are outlined as follows:

  • The First Theme: Social and economic challenges facing the Sudan:

Sudan along with other Southern Hemisphere’s States suffers from underdevelopment and poverty. They are to a great extent pre-modern societies. The most important challenge they face is that of Modernization and Development.

However, there are certain social and economic challenges, which are unique to the Sudan:

 The first such challenge is that concerning resettlement of the displaced people, resettlement of the refugees and the elimination of all aspects of war damage. There are now several studies on the problems of displaced peoples and refugees. They should be updated and developed to include programs of voluntary resettlement and repatriation for both groups. As soon as peace comes, a technical commission should be entrusted with function of planning and carrying out a resettlement and repatriation Program. Repatriation and resettlement should be linked with a plan to eliminate the damage done by the war to the physical infrastructure.

The Second socio-economic challenge facing the Sudan is the issue of unbalanced development, which resulted in the deprivation of certain regions and social groups. This deprivation coupled with cultural injustices resulted in the Marginalzation of certain regions and their Peoples. This issue is a threat to social peace and should be addressed in Sudan’s programs for reconstruction and development.

The Third socio-economic challenge: The issue of which economic road to development to espouse has been decided in favor of the FREE MARKET. However, the Free Market does not exist as a natural gift. There are so many pre conditions, which have to prevail to lead to the emergence of a Free Market. To make the Free Market possible, and to promote development, the State must secure the following:

  • Create and maintain the rule of law to ensure the legal basis of society, protect rights of property, and guard the sanctity of contracts.
  • Establish and maintain sound macro-economic policies in the financial, monetary, trade, and investment areas.
  • Promote micro-economic policies conducive to economic activity.
  • Promote the development of physical infrastructure in transport, communications, and energy.
  • Promote the development of social infrastructure in health, education, and social security.
  • Seek to redress regional imbalances.
  • Protect the vulnerable sections of society.
  • Protect the environment.
  • Be mindful of positive association of development with culture.


The Fourth socio-economic challenge is how to relate to Globalization. Globality is a universal phenomenon, which represents the current phase of Human Development. All Human societies have to recognize this reality and prepare to participate in it. Globalism represents the fact that in the present distribution of economic and military power, Globality will be influenced by certain ideological and cultural factors favoring the West, particularly U.S.A. Globalization is that mixture of Globality and Globalizm, which, in the real World, faces the States of the World. It is necessary to seek ways and means of engaging in the Universality of Globality and sheltering from the particularity of Globalism. In this respect, two Challenges have to be addressed:

FIRST: The issue of which regional groupings should the Sudan belongs to? Geopolitically, the Sudan is part of the Horn of Africa, the NILE Basin, and North Africa.

SECOND: The issue of how to preserve Cultural Identity, Cultural Plurality, in the face of the acculturating impact of Globalization? The basic principles outlined here to face the Seven Challenges should be endorsed as a socio-economic charter for Sudan to be agreed by political and civil opinion in Sudan.


  • The Second Theme: Federalism, Nationalism and Self Determination
  • There is now universal acceptance by all Sudanese Political Opinion of the need for Federalism. The June 1995 Asmara Resolutions passed by the NDA Conference are, in reality, a vote in favor of FEDERALISM in Sudan. However, all previous plans to decentralize the Sudanese State have achieved that on paper. The decentralized units have not been economically viable. They became satellites of the center. The developed Federal Powers have got to be accompanied with financial credibility.
  • There are doubts about the Sudanese Nation/State. Particularly the South can maintain that the Juba Conference of 1947 took too much for granted. It did not constitute a proper participation for the South. It did not spell out the conditions for a United Nation State in Sudan, which the South could justly join. Therefore, the succeeding Nation State was built on the foundation of the culture of the center- the North, and Southern socio-cultural interests were supressed. This along with other factors precipitated the civil war. All Sudanese political opinion now accepts the need for redefinition of the Sudanese Nation/State to provide for the following conditions:
  • Equality if Sudanese citizens.
  • Recognition of Religious and Cultural Plurality.
  • Redistribution of National Wealth.
  • Just participation in Political Power.
  • Establishment of unity on a voluntary basis.
  • The redefinition of the Sudan Nation/State should be agreed by all the country’s political forces. To ensure fairness and transparency it should be observed and witnessed by our most concerned neighbors. It should be sealed by a National Plebiscite, which would give inhabitants of the South a choice between three alternatives: Federal Unity, Confederation and Separation.

The scenarios envisaged for this process are the June 1995 ASMARA scenarios, viz., a four-year period of transition during which the conditions for a redefined Sudanese Nation/State will be established.

The Plebiscite will then either confirm the status quo or the other alternatives to it. Any attempt to expedite and/or internationalize the process of Self-determination will be counter productive and create conditions for continuing the war under different labels.

  • The Third Theme: Children’s Rights:

Progress in any society could be measured in terms of the way it treats the weaker segments of society. Many traditional societies are either negligent of their children or down right cruel to them.

Universal Religions and enlightened secular schools of thought have been vocal in the recognition of Children’s Rights. This along with other factors contributed to two important relevant documents, viz. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the Resolutions of the World Summit on Children’s Rights (1990).

The children of Sudan have suffered enormously from the experiences of displacement, expatriation, resettlement in foreign countries, war conditions, drought and refugee status.

The present Kampala Conference should set up a workshop to study the problems of Sudanese Children under the six extra-ordinary conditions herein outlined. The workshop should recommend a program to be adopted by a future Democratic Sudan.







  • The Fourth Theme: Refugees and Displaced People:

The Sudan suffers from conditions, which led to many Sudanese seeking refuge in other countries. However, the same conditions have led to even more Sudanese citizens’ fleeing the war zones and taking residence inside or in the out-skirts of major Sudanese cities particularly the Capital.

A social survey of these Peoples is necessary. The social survey would contribute to a program for repatriation of the refugees, and resettlement of the displaced people. It is necessary to link repatriation and resettlement to development so that the programs should be described as: Repatriation for development, and resettlement for development.. This will have the double effect of providing an incentive for the peoples concerned, and the enhancement of the development effort in the country.


  • The Fifth Theme: Disarmament and Demobilization:

The culture of violence spread in Sudan by the policies of the current Regime in Khartoum, and the Peoples’ reaction to them, has resulted in the creation of a militarist Sudan. This mutilation of Sudanese society will have to be rectified in favor of a tolerant civilian Sudanese Society. The shift from the militarist to the civilian Sudan requires an elaborate program, which the National Conference will have to address. It is also incumbent upon the National Conference to decide the optimum size and national composition of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Police, and security forces.

When the composition and optimum size of these forces has been decided, the present armed forces of both government and opposition will have to be co-opted in terms of the new setup.

The remaining armed forces will have to be disarmed and demobilized. The disarmed and demobilized elements should be absorbed in the development schemes so that the whole process could be described as disarmament and demobilization for development.


  • The Sixth Theme: Freedom of Association, Including laws governing Political Parties:

Sudanese political experience in Democratic conditions have demonstrated that the democratic and healthy development of Political Parties, Trade unions, Press Freedom, and all the different aspects of basic freedoms can not be taken for granted.

Freedom of association along with other freedoms are necessary conditions for Democracy.

In 1998, the UP has organized a workshop in which the issue of Basic Freedoms and the Sudanese democratic experience was discussed. We attach here the relevant study, which described the lesson learnt from the Sudanese experience in the pursuit of Sustainable Democracy. The study outlined that the lessons drawn for the organization of Political Parties, Trade unions and the Press, are building blocks for Democracy. Without their orientation for Sustainable Democracy, it could not be achieved. It is necessary to have political parties, which are National and Democratic to contribute to Sustainable Democracy. A National Charter to request commitment to certain National imperatives plus legislation to impose certain conditions for the registration of political parties should be endorsed.


  • The Seventh Theme: State and Religion:

Religion has played a vital role in Sudanese history. The archaeology of the ancient kingdoms of Sudan in MEROE and NABATA shows the sense of their religious zeal.

Then the Christian kingdoms of ALWA, and MACOURA ruled Sudan. Then the Islamic kingdoms of FUR, FUNG, TAGALI, and MUSABBAAT.

Then comes MOHAMAD ALI’S conquest of the Sudan in 1821.

One of the main reasons for the NATIONAL Religious revolution in Sudan – The MAHDIA – is the religious violations of the outgoing government – so called TURKYA.

Then in 1898 came the so-called Anglo-Egyptian Conquest of the Sudan. At independence, Sudanese identity reasserted it self in terms of the policies of the political parties.

Religious identity loomed large in the programs of the mass political parties. That religious Islamic association alienated non-Moslems who had their own Christian and African religious beliefs.

Sudanese political opinion began to appreciate the need for an agreement to accommodate religious plurality. Just when a constitutional conference was envisaged in September 1989 to settle the issue among others, the June 1989 coup d’etat put the clock back.

The Sudanese are a deeply religious people, and even when they start with an anti-religious position, they soon move in the opposite direction, for example, the SPLM/A expressed Marxist Leninist tendencies at the beginning. However, at a later date, in 1992, Dr. John Garang took a positive attitude to religion and called the New Sudan Church Council addressing the general assembly of the NSCC: ”The spiritual wing of the movement.” [1]

Statements such as the separation of religion from State, and the separation of religion from politics emerged in European history at a time when emergent democratic society faced Church backed obstruction.

As European Statehood matured since the peace of Westphalia in 1648, and since European and American Democracy developed and matured in the 19th century, Western democratic societies found a pragmatic balance between Religion and State, Religion and Politics. Churches and Religious organizations are very powerful in western societies. Almost all-European flags have the Cross in their symbolism.

In Britain, the Queen is both head of State and Church.

The House of Lords, which is part of the British legislative and judicial process, has a large number of Church’s Lords. Many powerful western political parties include the description “Christian “ in their name.

Even in the most glaringly secular State, the U.S.A, the political clout of religious institutions is considerable. The current domination of the American Houses of Congress by the Republican Party owes so much to the powerful support of the Christian fundamentalist groups, pushed into action by the Clinton administration’s too  “Liberal “ policies especially on abortion. Disgusted by the fall out from the MONICA GATE, Christian fundamentalist leadership, which has in the first place insisted on impeaching Clinton and expelling him from office, has moved in the opposite direction. Pat Robertson, the prominent Christian fundamentalist leader has had enough, he declared that America had other priorities than to deal in scandal. His opinion was an important factor in making the Senate settle for an alternative to a full-blown trial.

The American President is required to take an oath upon taking office.

Oath taking is required by the constitution for many transactions. President GEORGE WASHINGTON said:” Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice “.[1]

The most mundane of U.S. articles, the dollar, bears the inscription:” In God we trust”. How can religion be separated from State?

The State is people, territory, and powers: executive, legislative and judiciary. The State has to recognize the religious beliefs of the people. The State has to legislate to regulate some aspects of a national religious community. The courts have to adjudicate in such matters. Constitutional legal and judiciary procedures involve extensive oaths, which have a religious content, and so on.

How can politics be separated from religion?

Genuine religious beliefs influence the political opinions and principles of citizens. Those who can separate them are those who really have no religious beliefs. It is not a question of separation, but of discarding religious beliefs.

To speak about secularism is also unacceptable, because in essence, secularism is a philosophy which confines meaning in This Time and This Place, i. e, worldly significance. It is a word with very rich connotations, which invite and perpetuate controversy.

What we are really looking for is not a reduction of religion, but an elevation of citizenship identity, and protecting it from the encroachment of any extra-citizenship considerations. We seek to establish:

  • Citizenship as the basis of constitutional rights and duties.
  • No political party, which seeks power to the exclusion of others on religious grounds, should be permitted.
  • There shall be no discrimination on grounds of religion, race, gender, or culture.

In Summary: Citizens should be free to pursue their religious beliefs so long as they do so democratically, and seek no political or constitutional advantage for themselves as believers, and recognize the principle that the Nation/State is for all its citizens, without discrimination. What we shall seek to establish and protect, are the rights of believers. However, there are some sections of Sudanese political society, which feel it necessary to devalue the rights of believers. In May 1998, in Pennsylvania University, SAYED STEPHEN WANDU, made the following cute observation: “Some of the Northern elites, which call themselves secularists, seek to enhance their position under the umbrella of identity and cultural pluralism. After they have failed to find a mass base for their ideology, they turned their attention Southwards to look for a cover for their ideology or to persuade Southern elites to accept their ideology to fight for it on their behalf. Those Northern elites always express their ideology in extremist terms. They seek to question and vilify Islamic Arabic civilization, and look for an alternative to it, it is a counter productive stratagem, because it leads to extremism in the opposite direction”


For the first time since the 1989 coup, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Sudanese Political scene enjoys a margin of freedom. Within it, it is possible to see several competing agendas:

  • The National Agenda which requires the following aspects:
  • A peace Agreement based on the 1995 Asmara Resolutions.
  • A program for Democratic Transformation.
  • A National Transition Government to implement the following:
  • To replace the Partisan State with the National State.
  • To carry out the Peace Agreement.
  • To run the free and fair General Elections.
  • The Totalitarian Agenda favored by many elements within the Regime and some elements in the armed forces. They seek to fish in the current troubled waters and reassert the Totalitarian State.
  • The Internationalization Agenda. This is supported by Sudanese and foreign elements which find the current Humanitarian Tragedy in Sudan intolerable, have no confidence in the Sudanese Political elite’s ability to resolve its differences, and look up to the Security Council to find a Political Solution over the heads of the Sudanese.
  • The War Agenda espoused by Sudanese armed elements which have emerged in the Tradition of War Lords of Africa, for example, SAVIMBI, found war a profitable industry, and may talk peace, but pursue war. They declare political aims, which cannot be achieved by fair negotiation. They are the terms, which the victorious would dictate upon the vanquished.


We look up to all Patriotic Sudanese and their friends everywhere to support the National Agenda and help defeat the other Agendas.

The mechanism to negotiate the National Agenda is an all Party National Conference observed by our neighbors in North Africa, and in the Horn of Africa, plus Sudan’s friends, the IGAD .Partner’s Forum IPF.

The first item in the National Conference should be a Declaration of Principles for a Comprehensive Political Resolution of conflicts in the Sudan. That Declaration would then constitute the Agenda for the conference.

The Regional and International observers would witness the Political Agreement, and observe its proper implementation.

After the signature of the Comprehensive Political Agreement, a Round Table Conference of Sudan’s African, Arab, Asiatic, European, American and Canadian neighbors and friends should be convened to help Sudan’s reconstruction, rehabilitation, and development program.