October 4, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Chadian president Idris Deby failed to convince leaders of the three major armed groups in western Sudan region of Darfur to join the national dialogue conference scheduled to be held next week.
In a meeting held in Paris on Saturday, Deby conveyed to the leaders of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM), Minni Minnawi, and (SLM-AW) Abdel-Wahid al-Nur and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Jibril Ibrahim, Kharotum’s pledges to guarantee the safety of the rebel leaders participating in the dialogue conference.
The three rebel leaders in a statement released on Sunday said that Deby reminded the prolonged suffering of their people in the IDP’s and refugees camps and in Darfur in general, calling upon them to seek to achieve peace and to participate in the national dialogue “because Sudan’s issues couldn’t be resolved through military means”.
Ibrahim and Minnawi said they expressed desire to achieve peace and readiness to participate in the national dialogue if it meets the conditions stated in the roadmap issued by the rebel umbrella Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) in September 2015 which are in consistency with the demands of the rest of the opposition forces.
JEM leader Jibril Ibrahim told Sudan Tribune following the meeting with the Chadian president in Paris that the latter asked them to fly to Khartoum to participate in the national dialogue.
“He [Deby] said that Khartoum has pledged to offer all the necessary guarantees to protect the [rebel] leaders, pointing to the favourable opportunity that mustn’t be missed because solutions don’t come in one go,” Ibrahim said.
He said they told Deby that they are part of the Sudanese opposition and they can’t abandon their regional and international agreements and commitments, pointing to their desire to achieve a comprehensive peace that is based upon solid foundations.
For his part, the leader of SLM-MM, Minni Minnawi told Sudan Tribune that they told Deby that several steps must be achieved before to join the dialogue inside the country including ending the war, allowing freedoms, releasing political detainees, and holding the pre-dialogue meeting in Addis Ababa.
“We asked Deby to support those demands and to push for achieving them particularly as the crisis in Darfur impacts on N’djamena who shelters thousands of refugees from Darfur,” he added.
Minnawi further pointed that Deby pledged to continue his efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in Sudan. But Ibrahim said they felt that Deby does not want to involve himself much in the process because he fears to be accused of supporting this or that side.
Last week, Sudan officially requested Deby to persuade rebel groups in Darfur region to join the national dialogue conference.
“Sudan looks forward to the support of President Deby in convincing the holdout movements to sign the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) and joining the national dialogue process,” said Sudan’s presidential aide Ibrahim Hamid in remarks from the Chadian capital after his meeting with Deby Wednesday.
In an alternative roadmap for the national dialogue released on 14 September, SRF groups demand stopping the war to provide security, guarantee humanitarian access to all civilians affected by the conflict and create conducive climate for holding peace talks and dialogue besides allowing fundamental freedoms and holding the pre-dialogue meeting in accordance with AUPSC resolutions 539 and 456 to establish frameworks, modalities, and procedures for a credible, transparent, inclusive, and comprehensive dialogue.
They further declared their willingness to six a six-month cessation of hostilities with the government once these conditions are met.
SLM-AW leader Abdel-Wahid al-Nur, for his part, said that just and enduring peace couldn’t be achieved unless security is being provided to the citizens on the ground by adopting the roadmap offered by his movement.
He said the roadmap of his group requires the government to create a conducive environment to peace by stopping genocide, killing, displacement and rape besides disarming the Janjaweed militiamen and evicting the new settlers from the land of the IDP’s and refugees, and providing individual and collective freedoms before embarking on any peaceful process.
The SLM-AW says since several years they can only discuss with Khartoum the root causes of the conflict but before negotiations Khartoum must unilaterally repair the consequences of the 12-year conflict.
DIALOGUE BODY CONFIRMS REBELS PARTICIPAION
Mean while, Sudan’s dialogue coordination body known as 7+7 has disclosed Sunday that several rebel leaders would accompany Deby to attend the opening session of the national dialogue conference next Saturday.
Last week, several rebel factions including SLM- Abu al-Gasim Imam, SLM-Unity of Abdallah Yahia and SLM-Justice led Taher Hajer confirmed to Sudan Tribune they would travel soon to Chad for a follow-up meeting with the Chadian authorities on ways to achieve peace in Sudan but denied meetings with Sudanese officials.
Sudan’s minister of information and member of the 7+7 mechanism, Ahmed Bilal Osman, stressed that rebel leaders would arrive in Khartoum to engage in the dialogue but he declined to disclose names of those leaders on the pretext that some armed movements had dismissed their members who welcomed the dialogue.
He told reporters on Sunday that the dialogue conference would convene on October 10th at 9:00 am (Local time), pointing that Deby will attend the opening session.
Osman said he doesn’t rule out that several rebel leaders would accompany Deby on his plane, stressing that a surprise would be announced during the first day of the conference.
The information minister further underscored that the international community supports the national dialogue, pointing that the African Union, Arab League and some European countries who wish to see a stable Sudan support the process.
September 11, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Eastern Sudan opposition group, the United Popular Front for Liberation and Justice (UPFLJ), discussed with the U.S. special envoy the failure of the government to implement the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA).
In a meeting held in Paris last Wednesday 9 September, Donald Booth participated in a meeting of the international envoys with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) groups to discuss ways to bring peace in Sudan.
UPFLJ’s leader Zainab Kabashi who is also a SRF deputy-chairman said they discussed with Booth in a separate meeting on Wednesday the political situation in eastern Sudan and the implementation of a peace agreement signed on 14 October 2006 with the government of President Omer al-Bashir.
“The (UPFLJ’s) delegation provided a detailed explanation about the issue of eastern Sudan, which is still at a standstill since long time. Also, the meeting dealt with the causes of the failure of Eastern Sudan agreement to achieve the aspirations of the people of the East in the removal of political, economic, cultural and social marginalization,” the group said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday.
The statement said they handed over to the American diplomat a memorandum including a detailed vision to resolve the issue of eastern Sudan within the framework of a comprehensive solution to the Sudanese problem.
The memo also dealt with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in eastern Sudan, the group further said.
The EAPA was signed between the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front a coalition of the Beja and Rashaidiya tribes. The head of the former rebel group Musa Mohamed Ahmed is appointed presidential assistant since the signing of the peace deal.
Recently Ahmed criticized the slow implementation of the East Sudan peace pact and the development projects in the region.
Mr. Waleed AlHussein has been released by Saudi Arabian Security Authority two months ago, without any accuse, nor presenting him for a fair trial.
Mr. Al Hussein is the founder and owner for AlRakoba website, which is anti Sudanese government policies, and free Sudanese using AlRakoba as alternative solution for the Muslim brotherhood regime in Sudan’s corrupted press.
Now Saudi Authority is intending to banish Mr. Waleed to Sudan, if this happen , his life will be in a critical hazard, as he received many threats from Sudanese Security informing him that they will kill him.
We, Mr. AlHussein’s family call upon Human Rights Organizations, World Press, and Human Rights and freedom defenders, concerns, and seekers to request the EU, USA governments and the UN to pressure on Saudi Authorities for banishing Mr. AlHussein to any other country that can accept him as a political Refugee, and not delivering him to Sudanese Government, or they will be responsible for any hateful incident may exist.
August 30, 2015 (KHARTOUM) -Sudan’s president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has officially rejected the call of the African Union (AU) to hold a pre-dialogue meeting in Addis Ababa, saying he wants the dialogue to be an exclusive Sudanese process.Last week, the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) reiterated its call for an urgent pre-national dialogue meeting of all Sudan’s relevant parties, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, to discuss and agree on procedural matters relating to the dialogue.
Bashir, who addressed the army officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers at the Wadi Siedna military compound on Sunday, said his government refuses to hold the dialogue abroad, stressing that the AU, United Nations and the United States can’t force the Sudanese government to hold the national dialogue abroad.
He said that doors are open for all parties to discuss ways for resolving Sudan’s problems without foreign tutelage, warning rebels groups against insistence on resorting to arms to resolve outstanding issues.
Bashir said the coming year would be the year for achieving a decisive peace, pointing they offer the full opportunity for all parties to engage in the dialogue.
“We are authorized to wage war against those who refuse to engage in the dialogue,” he added.
In the same context, Sudan’s foreign minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, told the Swedish ambassador to Khartoum, Mette Sunnergren, that his government would not accept to hold any dialogue conference abroad.
In a meeting held on Sunday, Ghandour informed the Swedish diplomat that his government wants the dialogue to be “an exclusive Sudanese process”, pointing that Sudan coordinates with the AUPSC and the AU High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) only as partners who offer opinion and efforts to ensure the success of the process.
In September 2014, the peace and security body endorsed a roadmap aiming to facilitate the national dialogue. It provides to hold a national dialogue preparatory meeting in Addis to agree on issues related to the process.
But before they have to negotiate a cessation of hostilities immediately followed by security arrangements.
Bashir launched the national dialogue initiative more than a year and a half ago in which he urged opposition parties and rebels alike to join the dialogue table to discuss all the pressing issues.
But the initiative faced serious setbacks in wake of the government’s refusal to create suitable atmosphere in the country leading several major participants to pull out.
OPPOSITION CONDEMNS GOVERNMENT STANCE
Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition Reform Now Movement (RNM), Ghazi al-Attabani, described the government refusal to participate in the pre-dialogue meeting as “irrational and unsustainable”.
Attabani, who spoke in a press conference held by the Alliance of National Forces (ANF) including the political forces which withdrew from the government-led dialogue on Sunday, said the government would be forced to change its position sooner or later, wondering why it drags its feet on accepting the pre-dialogue meeting while it engages in external negotiations on its entire affairs.
He called on the Sudanese government to stop political manoeuvring on the issue of holding the dialogue inside Sudan, accusing it of trying to portray the opposition forces as seeking to hold the dialogue abroad.
“On the contrary, all political forces are committed to hold an exclusive Sudanese dialogue inside the Sudan”, he added.
RNM leader pointed that some opposition forces agreed to initiate the dialogue by holding a preparatory meeting abroad, describing the AUPSC call for the dialogue as “historic and unprecedented”.
He said the government will be the losing party if it insists on rejecting the AUPSC call for holding the pre-dialogue meeting, warning against underestimating the African support for Sudan.
Attabani further pointed if Africa withdrew its support for Sudan, the government would be exposed to international pressures and would be forced to engage in the dialogue at a higher cost than any genuine dialogue among the sons of Sudan.
He pointed that the recent AUPSC communiqué shows that the regional body was visibly irritated by the procrastination of the Sudanese government in taking the right steps to conduct a genuine and comprehensive dialogue.
“[The AUPSC] is standing one step away from declaring that the ongoing dialogue is worthless because it doesn’t meet the minimum standards of political dialogue that have been implemented in similar experiences,” he said.
Attabani demanded the government to immediately respond to calls made by the “Sudan Call” forces for stopping the war, urging it to engage in serious talks to achieve a cessation of hostilities that leads to a comprehensive ceasefire.
“It would be futile to talk about political reform or national dialogue or to address Sudan’s economic or regional and international relations crises while the war is ongoing,” he added.
He added the alternative dialogue will be based on the consensus of the entire Sudanese people, saying its outcome would form the basis of the national constitution.
NFC CALLS FOR UPRISING
In a related development, the opposition alliance National Consensus Forces (NCF) issued a statement saying that past and current developments prove they prove right their long-standing position that the government is not serious in its call for a negotiated solution for the country’s issues.
“As the regime has rejected all the requirements and objective conditions for dialogue, the choice of the National Consensus Forces (…) is to overthrow the regime through a popular uprising, political strike and civil disobedience, and total rejection of any settlement aiming to maintain this system,” the alliance of the left forces said.
The statement underscored that in line with Berlin Declaration, the opposition forces have to stop seeking a negotiated solution and to work altogether in a popular uprising to topple down the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.
RNM DENIES CONTACTS
RNM deputy chairman Hassan Rizq denied they were being contacted by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to resume participation in the ongoing dialogue, accusing NCP leaders of turning a deaf ear to other political forces.
It is worth mentioning that the RNM pulled out of the dialogue last year blaming the NCP for its refusal to implement a number of confidence building measures aimed at creating a conducive environment before the start of the process.
Rizq called on the Sudanese government to listen to the voice of reason and avoid any confrontation with the AUPSC in order not to prevent transfer of the dossier to the UN Security Council.
“It is the duty of the wise men (within the government) to rein in those who seek to drag Sudan to this confrontation (with the AUPSC) ,” he added.
9, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army – North (SPLA-N) has retaken Torda area 45 km south to the Blue Nile state Ed Damazen in less than 24 hours after its capture by the Sudanese army, said the rebel group on Sunday evening.
“SPLA-N (fighters) have retaken control of the strategic area of Torda in Bau county of Blue Nile state on Sunday 9 August at 12:30pm ,” said the SPLM-A official spokesperson Arnu Ngutulu Lodi in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.
Lodi further said the purpose of the Sudanese government troops was to loot the mineral resources of the area.
He pointed they killed four soldiers and lost two fighters, adding they seized four Kalashnikov AK-47.
The fighting between the Sudanese government and the SPLM-N fighters in Blue Nile started in September 2011 three months after the start of hostilities in South Kordofan state.
In December of last year, the warring parties failed to strike a cessation of hostilities deal.
New report documents:
targeting of civilians, schools, hospitals and local relief organizations
indiscriminate aerial bombardments and ground offensives
use of cluster munitions and prohibited weapons
Government forces in Sudan have committed war crimes against the civilian population of South Kordofan, Amnesty International has definitively confirmed for the first time in a new report published today.
The report, Don’t we matter? Four years of unrelenting attacks against Civilians of Sudan’s South Kordofan State, chronicles the human cost of the conflict which has claimed hundreds of civilian lives and sparked a dire humanitarian crisis. It finds that indiscriminate aerial bombardments and ground offensives as well as the deliberate targeting of schools and hospitals constitute war crimes.
For years Sudanese Armed Forces have been raining down bombs and shells indiscriminately on civilian populations, destroying lives and livelihoods and triggering a major humanitarian crisis.
Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director.
“For years Sudanese Armed Forces have been raining down bombs and shells indiscriminately on civilian populations, destroying lives and livelihoods and triggering a major humanitarian crisis,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director.
“Targeting civilian infrastructure and civilian areas which have no legitimate military objective, using prohibited weapons and other weapons in an indiscriminate way are war crimes. It is time for the international community to stop averting its gaze from South Kordofan and take urgent action to end this conflict.”
Conclusive evidence of war crimes
Based on a research mission to the country, Amnesty International has found that Sudanese Armed Forces have targeted civilian areas and infrastructure which have no legitimate military objective.
The use of prohibited weapons – such as cluster bombs – launched from high flying aircraft, has resulted in civilian casualties. Amnesty International found cluster munitions at four sites in two separate locations in Dalami and Umm Dorain counties and heard testimony of how children have been killed playing with unexploded ordinance.
Between January and April 2015, the Sudanese Air Force dropped more than 374 bombs on 60 locations across South Kordofan under the control of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N). The aerial bombardments and ground shelling over this period resulted in the deaths of at least 35 civilians, injured a further 70 individuals, and damaged civilian buildings including schools.
Since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, 26 health facilities (hospitals, clinics and health units) have been bombed in SPLA-N controlled areas, some of which were clearly identified with flags and crosses on their roofs. Only two out of four hospitals in SPLA-N controlled areas are still functioning.
Alfadil Khalifa Mohamed described to Amnesty International how an Antonov aircraft bombing raid killed his pregnant wife and unborn child in an IDP camp where they sought refuge in Dalami county on 6 February. “The bomb fell, only about ten metres from where she was standing. I ran to where she was, but she was already dead. Our baby was still alive. But there was no medical treatment available to save the baby’s life.”
The bombing campaign has left many afraid to work in their fields with devastating consequences for food security. The intensification of bombings during harvest time and the planting season raises concerns that this might be part of a deliberate strategy by the Sudanese government to hinder people’s ability to cultivate their crops.
Salha, an internally displaced person in Kimli IDP site, told Amnesty International researchers: “We haven’t planted anything for the past two years. We couldn’t because we had to run away. We are too afraid to work in our fields.”
The Sudanese government has refused to allow humanitarian relief into areas controlled by the SPLA-N exacerbating a protracted humanitarian crisis and has leaving the population without access to vaccinations and essential medicines. Children in SPLA-N controlled areas in South Kordofan are excluded from an ongoing UNICEF/WHO immunization campaign against measles in Sudan. Between May 2014 and January 2015 an outbreak of measles claimed the lives of at least 30 of these children in one hospital alone.
Massive displacement has left around one-third of South Kordofan’s population of approximately 1.4 million people internally displaced, living in precarious and insecure conditions. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, close to 100,000 people have fled to refugee camps in neighbouring South Sudan, itself wracked by internal conflict.
“We have been telling the world but nothing changes”
Despite the ongoing conflict, now in its fifth year, and escalation of attacks in recent months, the regional and international response has all but ceased. There has been no UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution on South Kordofan since 2012. Recent UNSC resolutions and statements failed to address concerns in South Kordofan. African Union (AU) efforts to mediate the conflict between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N, facilitated by the AU High-Level Implementation Panel, ground to a halt in December 2014.
We have been telling the world for four years about what is happening to us. The facts are well known. But nothing changes.
Alfadil Khalifa Mohamed , a local school teacher.
Alfadil Khalifa Mohamed, told Amnesty International: “We have been telling the world for four years about what is happening to us. The facts are well known. But nothing changes.”
Amnesty International is calling on the UNSC and the AU Peace and Security Council, to put pressure on the Government of Sudan and SPLM-N to allow for unfettered humanitarian access in South Kordofan.
“This conflict has settled into a vicious deadlock and international bodies must urgently re-engage in order to end these grave human rights violations and war crimes and to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice,” said Michelle Kagari.
“War crimes cannot be allowed to be committed with impunity and a population facing a protracted humanitarian crisis can no longer be ignored by the world.”
The report is the outcome of a field mission carried out by Amnesty International researchers in May 2015.
Failure to distinguish between civilians and combatants is a breach of the fundamental “principle of distinction” under international humanitarian law. It is a war crime to intentionally direct attacks against civilians or civilian objects.
Kutum — Paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) reportedly shot dead eight villagers, wounded two others, and abducted one in Kutum locality on Wednesday.
According to a statement by the Wadi Hour Students’ Association, the RSF at about 5am attacked the villages of Anka, Amarei, Goz Kajo, Umbaro, and El Malha. They used heavy weapons, and were backed by the Sudanese Air Force.
A separate group of militiamen collected the livestock and belongings of the villagers, who fled the area, the statement reads.
The villagers fatally hit by bullets are Jamal Abakar Hasaballah, Waleed Eisa Ahmed, Mohamed Adam Hasabo, Salah Ahmed Karkour, Ali Kenedy, Suleiman Adoma Teiman, Hamed Sandal, and Mubarak Ahmed Azrag.
Ali Mukhtar Fadul and Ali Shomo were injured. The attackers took Mohamed Suleiman Adam with them.
The Students’ Association called on “each one with a conscience, in Sudan and the world, to firmly stand up against these attacks, and bring the perpetrators to justice”.
In January, villages in Kutum and the neighbouring Karnoi and Um Baru localities were attacked by large groups of RSF paramilitaries, commanded by the Sudanese security apparatus.
Mohamed Ahmed Minawi Digeish, independent MP for Karnoi and Um Baru localities, told Radio Dabanga Dabanga on 8 February that 63 villages had been attacked.
The Sudanese government formed the RSF mid 2013, to “eliminate the insurgency for once and for all”, the Defence Minister at the time said. End December, Khartoum began its second “dry season campaign against the rebels” in Darfur. Dozens of villagers were also attacked and plundered in the area of Jebel Marra, East Jebel Marra, and Tawila locality in North Darfur.
The National Beja Congress may take up arms again if the provisions laid out in the 2006 Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) are not implemented soon.
Sheiba Dirar, chairman of the Beja Congress, blames the ruling National Congress Party(NCP) for ignoring the stipulations laid out in the agreement, signed by the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front, an alliance of opposition forces, in October 2006.
“There has not been any progress in the implementation of the three main ESPA files,” he told Radio Dabanga.
“Instead of profiting from projects of the Eastern Sudan Reconstruction and Development Fund (ESRDF), getting our share of national government posts, and seeing our former combatants rehabilitated through the implementation of the security arrangements, as all stipulated in the ESPA, eastern Sudan has become more marginalised than ever before.”
Last year, Port Sudan witnessed several protests by ex-combatants of the EA, calling for the full implementation of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA). A number of them, attempted to publicly commit suicide, because of the dire conditions they are living in.
Dirar warned that the situation in eastern Sudan has deteriorated to the extent that the Beja fighters may take up arms again. “This time, the armed resistance will not be launched from Eritrea or Ethiopia, but from the mountains of eastern Sudan,” he stressed.
He added that revealed that the NCP is aware of the developments. “We have raised the delay in the implementation several times, however to no avail.”
The ESPA was signed by the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front rebel alliance, consisting of the Beja Congress, the Rashaida Free Lions, and the Democratic Party of Eastern Sudan in the Eritrean capital of Asmara on 14 October 2006.
In the agreement, the social, political, and economic marginalisation of the people of eastern Sudan was given as the core reason for the armed conflict in the region. It covered political issues, economic, social, and cultural issues, and security arrangements for the Eastern Front’s ex-combatants.
It also provided for a national conference to address the administrative structure in Sudan, with the aim of identifying the inequalities in the employment of the eastern Sudanese in civil service and other structures.
The ESPA further required resources to be allocated to development through the ESRDF.
According to a prominent Beja member and professor at the Faculty of Administrative Sciences of the University of Khartoum, the Fund, since it assumed its duties in 2007, has implemented only 20 percent of the projects in the region, while it has received millions of dollars from donors.
The Geneva-based Small Arms Survey (SAS) said in its report, Development Deferred: Eastern Sudan after the ESPA, issued in May that the ESRDF appears to have been systematically underfunded, and much of the funding it received has been allocated to national dam-building projects.
SAS warned for “voices in the Beja Congress calling once more for self-determination and, now, the secession of eastern Sudan.”
“Although an outbreak of armed conflict in the region is relatively unlikely, given the good relations between Asmara and Khartoum, small arms are widespread, and some of the forces in the region are likely to join armed resistance in other parts of Sudan,” the report read.
July 19, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – A member of the dialogue coordination body known as 7+7 has expressed readiness to hold a pre-dialogue preparatory meeting with the political forces and armed groups refusing to join the process abroad.Last April, the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) announced that it has indefinitely suspended the pre-dialogue preparatory meeting that was scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa after the government and its affiliated political parties refused to attend.
The panel led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki had invited parties participating in the national dialogue process launched by Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir as well as non-participants that include rebel groups.
However, the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) declined to participate in the meeting blaming the AUHIP for not extending an invitation to the 7+7 committee and saying they would not take part in such a meeting before the general elections.
Since then, the Sudanese government and the dialogue political parties insisted that dialogue must be held inside Sudan in order to avoid foreign interventions.
But the chairman of the National People’s Alliance (NPA) and co-chair of the 7+7 subcommittee for creating conducive climate for the dialogue from the opposition side, Osman Abu al-Magd, stressed that the dialogue opposition parties wouldn’t mind engaging in a consultative pre-dialogue meeting with the opposition forces and rebel groups abroad.
He said the meeting would be held within the frame work of creating conducive environment for holding the dialogue and in order to determine positions and visions to launch the dialogue, stressing the dialogue must be held inside Sudan.
Abu al-Magd said the upcoming meeting of president Bashir with the 7+7 committee would set the starting date of the dialogue, noting the dialogue’s body will submit to the president its proposed date for the beginning of the dialogue in order to approve it.
He pointed that the meeting between the leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) Hassan al-Turabi and the dialogue opposition parties had discussed ways for pushing forward the dialogue process and implementing its outcome, adding the dialogue committees would contact the armed groups to join the peace process.
The 7+7 member further asked the various political parties and rebel groups to abandon their narrow personal and partisan interests and come to the negotiating table to discuss all Sudan’s issues in order to achieve peace, stability and development.
Meanwhile, the PCP political secretary and member of the 7+7 committee, Kamal Omer, expected that dialogue would be resumed at the end of this month, saying all procedures pertaining to the launch of the dialogue have been completed.
He told the pro-government Ashorooq TV website that the names of the 50 national figures and conciliators of the dialogue have been determined, saying that reports of the dialogue subcommittees were also approved.
Omer stressed the need to release political detainees and convicts and offering guarantees for the rebels’ delegates who would participate in the dialogue, noting that Bashir’s address on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr has enhanced the call for dialogue.
The 7+7 member also pointed that the previous days saw positive moves pertaining to contacts with the armed groups in order to secure their participation in the dialogue.
He renewed his party’s call for all parties refusing to engage in the dialogue, urging them to join the process in order to achieve the national consensus.
Bashir launched the national dialogue initiative in January 2014 in which he urged opposition parties and rebels alike to join the dialogue table to discuss all the pressing issues related to peace and constitutional reforms.
But the initiative faced serious setbacks after the government refusal to create suitable atmosphere by releasing political prisoners, ensuring freedoms, and postponement of elections.
RENEWAL OF THE GENERAL AMNESTY
The secretary-general of the council of the national unity government parties, Aboud Jabir, has appealed to president Bashir to renew the general amnesty for the arms bearers and exiled opposition leaders.
Jabir, who is also a member of the 7+7 committee, told the official news agency SUNA that the Sudanese people need to achieve national consensus more than ever, saying it is the only available option to resolve Sudan’s problems.
He pointed out that the comprehensive national dialogue became a reality, demanding all parties to make major concessions to serve the national interests.
The member of the dialogue coordination body further called upon the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi, to return to the country to work with all political forces to achieve the national consensus.
The NUP leader left the country in August 2014 after a month in jail over remarks he made against the government militia known as the Rapid Support Force (RSF).
Since then he has remained abroad based in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. The Sudanese president vowed to arrest him after the signing of Paris Declaration with the Sudanese rebel groups in Paris on 8 August 2014.
Recently al-Mahdi said he intends to gather opposition forces and civil society groups in a new coalition called Future Forces. The new formation will be committed to the “Sudan Call” declaration signed with the rebel umbrella Sudanese Revolutionary Forces and the left groups of the National Consensus Forces.
Jabir called upon Bashir to renew the general amnesty for the armed bearers and external opposition, praising his recent call for resuming the dialogue and achieving the national comprehensive consensus.
He asked the dialogue coordination body to redouble its efforts to convince those boycotting the dialogue including the rebel groups and external opposition to take part in the process.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Union of the Nation’s Forces (UNF) and member of the 7+7 committee, Mohamed Abdel-Jabar, said the roadmap approved by the committee has set the foundation and created a conducive environment for the dialogue.
He saw that the call for overthrowing the regime would lead to a civil war, underscoring that his party doesn’t support regime change but seeks to complete the dialogue process in order to secure the future of the country.
The authorities in Sudan must immediately release and drop charges against 10 women who were arrested in the capital, Khartoum, charged with ‘indecent dress,’ said Amnesty International today.At the time of the arrest, the women – who are Christian student aged between 17 and 23 from the war-torn Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan – were wearing either trousers or skirts. The Public Order Police stopped 12 women in front of the Evangelical Baptist Church where they had attended a ceremony on June 25. Two of the women were later released by police. The remaining 10 were charged and will be appearing in court next week. If they are convicted, the women could each face 40 lashes.
Amnesty International East Africa Deputy Director Sarah Jackson said:
“It’s outrageous that these women face a risk of being flogged simply for choosing to wear a skirt or a pair of trousers.
“The public order law is imposed in a way which is hugely discriminatory and totally inappropriate and violates women’s rights.
“Sudan must drop the charges and release these women immediately.
“A hem-line is not a crime.”
Amnesty International is also calling on the authorities in Sudan to repeal this ‘crime’ of ‘indecent dress’ set out in Article 152 of Sudan’s 1991 Criminal Act.
Names of women
The names of the ten women are as follows:
19-year-old Fardos Al Toum, (appeared in court on July 6 wearing another dress deemed indecent by the judge who immediately sentenced her to a fine of 500 Sudanese pounds or a month in prison
17-year-old student (unnamed) – has been transferred to the Juvenile Court
20-year-old Ishraga James
22-year-old Uthan Omer Eljaily
19-year-old Diana Yagoub
20-year-old Seema Ali Osman
23-year-old Inas Mohamad Elkomani
18-year-old Rehab Omer Kakoum
20-year-old Nasra Omera Kakoum
Wigdan Abdallah Salih
With the exception of the 17-year-old student – whose case has been transferred to the Juvenile Court – the next scheduled court dates for the women are July 13, 16 and 17.
Article 152 of the 1991 Criminal Act gives the Public Order Police extensive powers to arrest any person for indecent dress, and the punishment if found guilty is 40 lashes, or a fine, or both.