KAMPALA, UGANDA, 17-20 JULY 2000
Convened by the Committee of the Civil Project in Sudan and hosted by the Pan African Movement, representatives of Sudanese civil society and the democratic political forces met together in Kampala, Uganda, to discuss the challenges of human rights, democracy and development in the coming transition to peace in Sudan.
The Conference welcomed strong contingents of participants from inside Sudan, including Khartoum and areas controlled by the National Democratic Alliance and Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army. In particular the Conference welcomed participants from Khartoum for the first time, and saluted their courage and commitment to human rights and democracy under extremely difficult circumstances Their views, expressed in an open and free forum after so many years of enforced silence, carried great weight in the Conference proceedings.
Participants expressed their views in total frankness. No topic was a forbidden zone. The desire to reach consensus was reflected in the success of the Conference on reaching agreement on even the most controversial subjects. Women participants were active in all sessions.
The Conference welcomed messages of support from some leaders of the Sudanese opposition who were unable to attend the Conference in person.
After four days of fruitful and extensive deliberation concerning human rights, democracy, development, civil society and peace in Sudan, the Conference adopted the following resolutions:
I. Reaffirmation of Kampala Declaration
The Conference reaffirmed the February 1999 Kampala Declaration on Human Rights in Sudan, especially reaffirming the importance of:
1. Adherence to international treaties and conventions of human rights as the foundation for human rights and democracy in Sudan. 2. The vital necessity of a process of full participation and democratic consultation in building a new democratic constitution for Sudan. 3. The need for full respect for freedom of expression. 4. Respect for women's rights as defined in international human rights conventions and protocols, should be stated in the new democratic constitution, and the mandate given to the Committee of the Civil Project to organise the Sudanese National Women's Convention. 5. The importance of full judicial accountability for past human rights abuses. 6. The necessity for wide-ranging judicial and legal reform. 7. Self-determination as a basic right for all Sudanese peoples.
II. Civil Society
The Conference applauded the efforts of Sudanese civil society forces inside Sudan, under the onslaught of the current government of Sudan, including incessant harassment, intimidation, repression, torture and killing to defend human rights and strive for democracy. The Conference also saluted the members of the democratic opposition inside Sudan and their struggle for a democratic government.
The Conference called upon the transitional government to do the following:
1. Cancel all laws that contradict basic rights in a way that ensures full rights for expression and association as well as women's basic rights.
2. Undertake radical transformation in the legal and judicial structures and amend laws in a way that enshrines the values of justice, equality and the rule of law and independence of the judiciary.
3. Abrogate any laws that are contrary to freedom of association, including the Voluntary Work Act 1999.
4. Establish an independent human rights commission or high council for civil society issues within the structure of the government to ensure the promotion of civil society.
Meanwhile, under the current circumstances, the Conference called for:
5. NDA, other democratic opposition parties and all civil society organisations outside Sudan to mobilise various material and human resources for enhancing and developing civil society inside Sudan with special attentions to the traditional sector.
6. Human rights activists, organisations and civil society should coordinate themselves in the collection and documentation of all evidence regarding human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed by governments and armed opposition forces since independence, to ensure that all responsible individuals and institutions are appropriately prosecuted. All organisations should condemn these abuses vigorously and without discrimination. The resolutions of Kampala 1 on this matter were discussed.
7. Civil society in all parts of Sudan, especially women, youth and others, should put pressure on the current Sudan Government to stop human rights violations, including aerial bombardment, in the war zones of Sudan.
III. Women's Rights
The Conference benefited from strong and vigorous contributions from women participants, from both political parties and civil society. The Conference noted the suffering of women in Sudan, South, East, West and North, on account of war, dictatorship and discriminatory, extremist laws and policies. The Conference reaffirmed the resolutions of Kampala 1 with regard to the importance of women's rights. In particular, the Conference resolved that:
1. A future transitional government should cancel any laws and policies that are incompatible with the rights of women as enshrined in international human rights conventions.
2. All political parties should ensure adequate representation of women at all levels including the highest.
3. There should be a National Women's Convention to address all issues of concern to Sudanese women in 2001.
4. Cultural exchange between Sudanese women and with regional and international women's organisations should be encouraged.
IV. Freedom of Association
The Conference affirmed and called upon the future transitional government to respect the following:
1. Freedom of association is a basic human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. The right to form political parties, trades unions and civil society organisations, is a fundamental right and a basic component of democracy in Sudan.
2. Any restrictions imposed on freedom of association should be confined solely to those areas cited in the above Conventions, in order to regulate the optimal enjoyment of these rights, and not to negate the fundamental rights of free association.
3. The current laws relating to freedom of association, trades unions, the bar association, the press and voluntary organisations of the Government of Sudan are a gross travesty of freedom of association and should be abrogated by the transitional government immediately on coming to power.
4. Trades unions, professional associations, small farmers' and herders' associations, women's and other organised community groups play an essential role in the protection of rights and the promotion of civil society.
V. Religion and the State
The Conference unanimously and emphatically affirmed that religion must be separate from the state. Any attempt to build a religious state in Sudan can only result in the perpetuation of war, human rights abuses and the division of the country. Specifically, the conference affirmed that:
1. Sudan is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic country in which it is vitally important to ensure freedom of conscience and tolerance of all religions. The basis for rights in Sudan must be citizenship alone, not adherence to any religion.
2. The provisions of the Asmara Declaration (excepting Article 5), which recognise and accept basic human rights norms contained in international human rights covenants and instruments, should be a fundamental component of any future transitional constitutional arrangements.
3. The constitution and the so-called 'civilisation project' of the current government, and all laws, regulations and policy measures linking religion and the state must be abolished.
VI. Disarmament and Demobilisation
The Conference discussed the need for disarmament and demobilisation following the achievement of a comprehensive peace settlement in Sudan. The Conference was aware of the grave threat to human rights, democracy, development and peace that is posed by the militarisation of Sudan under the current government. Conference participants were deeply concerned by the proliferation of weapons in Sudan, and the multiplication of armed groups including militias and security forces. The Conference resolved that:
1. The use of child soldiers and the forcible recruitment of youth and students, are an abuse of fundamental human rights. It must be abolished and those responsible should be prosecuted. The International Convention of the Rights of the Child, to which Sudan is a signatory, should be activated and enforced.
2. Disarmament and demobilisation should be governed by the provisions of a comprehensive peace settlement that will hopefully be in place when the transitional government comes to power.
3. It will be important to 'demilitarise the mind' and create a culture of peace: i.e., remove militarism from the wider Sudanese culture, ensuring that there is a professional military force under civilian control. The culture of peace and human rights should be part of education.
4. Programmes for the removal of land mines will be required. In the meantime, all belligerent parties should refrain from using land mines. Existing programmes should be supported.
5. Reiterating the resolutions of Kampala 1, the Conference called for careful study and implementation of the future requirements for disarmament, demobilisation and the reintegration of former combatants. There should be long-term programmes for the disarmament and demobilisation of combatants and their reintegration into civilian life, including the provision of educational and economic opportunities, psychological rehabilitation, and welfare provision for disabled former combatants, and the widows and orphans of those killed during the war.
The Conference affirmed that Sudan is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural country and that it is vitally important to ensure equality and respect for all nationalities, cultures and religions in the country. Participants in the Conference, who hailed from every corner of Sudan, stressed the importance of the devolution of power to the regions in a genuine federal system or comparable arrangement that empowers the disparate peoples of Sudan, to enable them to protect their traditions and cultures.
Specifically, the Conference resolved that:
1. Self-determination is a basic right for all peoples.
2. There is a political consensus among all Sudanese parties, that the people of Southern Sudan shall exercise the right of self-determination before the expiry of the interim period.
3. The provisions in the Asmara Declaration (Article 7.3) relating to the right of self-determination of the marginalised peoples of the Nuba and Southern Blue Nile, require further elaboration in order to ensure that their rights are fully recognised.
4. The transitional period should be an opportunity in which a democratic government can address and redress the structural and long-standing grievances that have divided the Sudanese people.
VIII. The Right to Food and Freedom from Famine
The Conference stressed that the right to food is a basic human right, and all Sudanese should be able to live without fear of famine. Participants agreed that famine is not only the outcome of adverse natural factors, but that political factors play an important role. Among the factors creating famine are actions by the current government including aerial bombardment, forced displacement and bans on humanitarian relief flights. Famines resulting from political incompetence and deliberate military action are crimes against humanity and their perpetrators should be prosecuted.
Participants urge the United Nations and other donors to ensure that their assistance is effective and ethical. A serious relief dependency syndrome to the lack of development focus by international organisations including the UN was noted.
The leading role of women in food production was noted, along with their special vulnerability to famine. Food security policies need to be designed with the participation of women to address the needs of women. The Conference agreed that the establishment of a comprehensive democratic system in Sudan is the foundation for freedom from famine and the basis for effective humanitarian action. The Conference called for effective measures to be taken against actions and policies that create hunger and famine.
IX. Refugees, Exiles, Expatriates and Internally Displaced Persons
The Conference stressed the importance of addressing the wide range of issues that arise concerning Sudanese refugees, exiles, expatriates and internally displaced persons. These are problems of huge size and complexity that will provide huge challenges to a future democratic government in Sudan.
The Conference called upon host countries to take note of the risk to the lives of asylum seekers if they are forced to return home under the presentregime, and to grant them international protection as required by refugee law.
The Conference condemned the mass displacement, maiming and killing of innocent civilians in the oil-producing areas, calling on this to be brought to the attention of the international community. It also condemned the allocation of settled land to foreigners in Southern Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan and Darfur. Concerning the future transition, the Conference agreed that:
1. The problems of refugees, exiles, expatriates and IDPs can be resolved only on the basis of addressing the root causes of the problem, specifically the ongoing war and human rights violations, and impoverishment of the Sudanese people.
2. The atrocities inflicted upon IDPs by the current government are completely unacceptable and any transitional government should ensure full respect for the rights of displaced persons including abolition of all relevant unjust laws.
3. The needs of refugee and displaced women and children deserve special consideration.
4. The future transitional government should enact policies for resettlement, repatriation and rehabilitation of refugees and IDPs, linking these activities to development.
5. The UN specialised agencies should increase their efforts to provide protection and assistance to IDPs and refugees. 6. The participants took note of the high taxes levied by the current regime on Sudanese expatriates working abroad, and the fact that those monies collected are not directed for the public good, and called upon the transitional government to review and streamline those taxes with a view to removing the hardships falling on those expatriates to enable them to interact more smoothly with their mother country.
7. The subject of refugees, exiles, expatriates and IDPs requires much further dialogue, discussion and analysis.
X. Land Rights
The Conference affirmed that the special claims of the local inhabitants of marginalised areas to their land and other natural resources need special consideration and protection. However, the natural resources of Sudan belong to all Sudanese. Unequal and exploitative relations between traditional farmers and commercial farmers and landowners have been one of the factors in creating conflict, impoverishment and environmental crisis in Sudan, and there needs to be attention to the question of reforming land tenure to protect small-holder farmers and pastoralists, with particular attention to the rights of women. Many of the land laws adopted by the successive governments are contrary to basic principles of equity and justice, and undermine the interests of poor people and must be repealed. There should be attention to agricultural reform and protection of the rights of agricultural labourers in both mechanised and irrigated schemes, and smallholders and pastoralists. The rights of both the people from western Sudan known as Fellata and pastoralists should be addressed to avoid future conflicts.
Citizens adversely affected by oil development should be entitled to a just compensation during the transitional period. In the meantime the Conference called upon multinational companies exploiting oil in Sudan to suspend their operations with immediate effect and wait for a democratic government in Sudan with which they shall enter into new agreements taking into account the rights of the people.
The Conference called for the study of land use and existing land laws including rental laws, with a view to a comprehensive reform of land law in Sudan with the view of addressing injustices and directing land resources for better and more environmentally friendly use.
XI. Economic Planning Strategies and Social and Economic Rights
The Conference discussed the numerous social and economic challenges facing Sudan in the future. Recognising the enormous economic potential of Sudan, residing in its natural resources and the skills of its people, the Conference stressed that there needs to be a collective national commitment to national plans for economic rehabilitation and development. It noted also the challenges facing Sudan in the context of globalisation.
The Conference, having taken note of the miserable and deteriorating economic conditions of the Sudanese people, strongly condemned the current government for having destroyed available economic resources and having created an unequal society. All foreign companies, including particularly international oil companies, should make accessible the details of their contracts with the government, especially as regards security arrangements and inputs, both financial and non-financial, to government forces and militias operating in oil development areas. Concerning the future transitional government, the Conference noted the importance of the following elements:
1. National economic development. The Conference stressed the importance of a bottom-up participatory national plan for the development of Sudan, with the emphasis on rural development so that all the peoples of Sudan benefit from the country's resources. Current regional imbalances in wealth should be redressed. The adverse economic situation of women needs special attention. The nation's oil wealth should be utilised for collective national benefit. Military spending must be reduced and made transparent.
It will be necessary to create a better environment to attract more capital for investment in Sudan, including local capital which left the country. There is a responsibility on international donors and creditors to ensure that Sudan's unsustainable external debt is cancelled, and aid assistance provided in such a way that Sudan can overcome its basic economic problems.
2. Poverty alleviation. Overcoming the poverty suffered by the majority of Sudanese is an essential component of achieving human rights, democracy and peace. The current life conditions for most Sudanese, especially in the rural areas but also including many urban dwellers, are unacceptably poor.
Women are the backbone of nation building. Yet they form the majority of the poorest in Sudan and require special attention in development programmes. There should be a greater emphasis on rural development to strengthen the productive base of the rural economy and minimise rural-urban migration. The National Development Plan must address itself to the provision of (i) safe and sufficient drinking water; (ii) sanitation, (iii) basic education and (iv) primary health care.
3. Foreign aid must focus on programmes for poor people, the protection of the vulnerable, and the protection of the environment.
4. A conference on economic issues should be convened to address all pressing economic challenges that will face Sudan during the transition.
The Conference discussed the different peace activities and processes in Sudan. The Conference noted the onerous responsibility facing the NDA's Committee for Comprehensive Political Settlement Initiatives, and especially recognised the challenge of merging the Libyan-Egyptian initiative with the IGAD peace process. In particular:
1. The Conference stressed the importance of a comprehensive and just peace for Sudan and rejected incomplete or partial agreements that do not resolve the enduring causes of the war and address the demand for human rights, democracy and equitable sustainable development. If the current war is to be the last in Sudan's history, it is imperative that the war is resolved in a manner that ensures that the legitimate demands of all of Sudan's peoples are met, and the rights of all are respected.
2. The Conference welcomed the opportunity for open and constructive dialogue between the democratic political forces in Sudan and civil society organisations
3. In this regard, the Conference asserted that the NDA's Asmara Declaration (excepting articles 5 and 7.3) and the IGAD Declaration of Principles form the foundation for the achievement of peace in Sudan. The Conference called upon all democratic forces in Sudan to ensure that these principles remain the basis for a comprehensive and lasting settlement.
4. The Conference strongly supported the 'People to People' peace process under the aegis of the New Sudan Council of Churches and other civil society groups in Southern Sudan, as embodied in the Wunlit Covenant and Resolutions and Liliir Covenant. The Conference also endorsed the extension of 'People to People' peace processes to cover the whole of the South and, where and when feasible, to the interface zone between South and North Sudan and within North Sudan.
5. The Conference welcomed the 'Engendering the Peace' process and applauded the inclusion of women in all aspects of peace processes and the struggle for, and sustainability of, a just and comprehensive peace.
6. The Conference urged that civil society should be part and parcel of the peace process.
7. The Conference calls upon the transitional government to entrench in the laws of Sudan all the values and practices which encourage co-existence and the peaceful resolution of tribal, regional and personal conflicts.
8. The Conference proposed a good leadership workshop, conflict resolution and peace building in Sudan. Organisations of civil society, democratic forces, experts and regional and international monitors should participate. Conclusion
The Conference on Human Rights, Democracy and Development in the Transition in Sudan was a landmark and a success. The discussion, debate and recommendations were wide-ranging, an accurate reflection of the realities of Sudan. The spirit of the Conference was truly democratic and pluralistic.
The Conference was an historic opportunity in which Sudanese civil society met with itself and with the leadership of the democratic opposition in order to join forces in shaping the future of the country and ensuring that, in a future transition, the opportunity to achieve a just peace, democracy, development and human rights is taken and not squandered.
It is the responsibility of Sudanese civil society to continue dialogue within itself and with the democratic political forces in Sudan to help achieve this Declaration. Information flow and networking among civil society and political forces is of crucial importance.
The Conference called upon the Committee of the Civil Project to continue with the Kampala Forum.
The Conference thanks the people and Government of Uganda for their welcome and the Pan African Movement for hosting this Conference, and the Committee of the Civil Project in Sudan for preparing and organising the Conference, and the donors for funding it.
The Conference on Human Rights, Democracy
and Development in the Transition in Sudan
21 July 2000
The Conference was attended by the following:
Civil society organisations
Beja Relief Organisation
Centre for Documentation and Advocacy
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Civil Society Support Programme
Economic Society of New Sudan
General Council of Trade Union Federations
Horn of Africa Centre for Development and Democracy
International Nuba Coordination Centre
Al Khartoum Newspaper
National Women's Democratic Alliance
New Sudan Council of Churches
New Sudan Indigenous NGOs Network
New Sudan Women's Association
New Sudan Women's Federation
New Sudan Youth Association
Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad
Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organisation
South Sudan Law Society
Sudan African Women in Action
Sudanese Committee Against the Violations of Women, Youth and
Sudan Centre for the Study of Human Rights
Sudan Human Rights Association
Sudan Human Rights Group
Sudan Human Rights Organisation
Sudan Human Rights Studies Centre
Sudan Journalists' Union
Sudan Legal Aid Consultancy Centre
Sudanese Martyrs' Families Organisation
Sudanese Victims of Torture Group
Sudanese Women Crying out for AIDS
Sudan Women's Association in Nairobi
Sudan Women's Peace Initiators
Sudan Women's Union
Sudan Women's Voice for Peace
Sudanese Writers' Union
Widows, Orphans, Disabled Rehabilitation Association of the New
Communist Party of Sudan
Democratic Forces Front (JAD)
Democratic Unionist Party
National Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy
Sudan Federal Democratic Alliance
Sudan National Alliance/Sudan Alliance Forces
Sudan National Party
Sudan People's Liberation Movement
Union of Sudan African Parties
Human rights activists
Elected members of parliament from the last democratic parliament
in Sudan (5)
Action of Churches Together
Human Rights Watch
National Democratic Alliance (Khartoum)
National Democratic Alliance Legal Secretariat
National Democratic Alliance Committee for Comprehensive
Pan African Development Education and Advocacy Programme
Pan African Movement
Sudan Focal Point
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