Monday, July 6, 2009

Sudan Conference Communique

Sudan Conference
June 12-14 2009 in Hermannsburg, Germany
“Visions of Transition 3: Transformation from War to Peace or Protection of Prejudices and Privileges?
organised by Sudan Forum e.V., Church Development Service and Sudan Focal Point-Europe


We, 150 participants of the Sudan Conference from 19 countries, representing Sudanese civil society and political parties, Faith based Organisations from inside the Sudan and outside, International Non Governmental Organisations and Institutes, Governments and Government agencies, after lengthy and frank discussions of the current socio-political situation in the country, and particularly prerequisites for a process of nation building, make the following statement:

Regarding the challenge of nation building, we note with concern the serious challenges including prevailing armed conflict, endemic tribalism, entrenched prejudices, lack of visionary leadership and the lack of peace dividends. We see the urgent need for a people centred process that is focused on realising equality, through genuine public debate, involving women and youth as important agents of change. Genuine national reconciliation is a prerequisite for sustainable peace. It is a process requiring commitment from political leadership and further reform of the armed and security forces as well as the judiciary. We call on the government of National Unity at all levels to launch the national reconciliation and healing as stipulated by the CPA and enshrined in the Interim National Constitution as a prerequisite for ensuring “Unity in diversity”. Regarding transitional justice and building sustainable peace, we recommend that further consideration be given to deal with the crimes which were not granted amnesty by the CPA, in a way that would help to heal a society deeply divided by war.
Regarding the current social, political and economic situation, we note with concern and recommend that action is taken to end the violence, killings and displacement and to address the root causes. We note the destabilising effects of decreasing oil revenues, especially in Southern Sudan, and the inability of the Government, both national as well as in Southern Sudan, to provide vital services, such as security and education. We call for greater transparency and accountability in government administration.
Regarding the potential for change through elections, we note the difficulties in ensuring that the elections are free and fair, given the short timeframe available. We recommend broader discussion about the elections, and to allow for thorough preparations. We urge that the repressive national laws on security are repealed; much greater emphasis is put on civic education of the electorate and on capacity building of political parties.
. We ask the Government of Sudan and the armed groups in Darfur to enter into genuine peace dialogue. To lay the foundation for sustainable peace, a conducive environment for dialogue and reconciliation among the struggling Darfurian tribes must be guaranteed by the Government of Sudan. Civil society needs to be given a real chance to be politically active, to gather and to express itself. We ask the Government of Sudan to stop area bombardment and all forms of violence targeting civilians; to stop the settlement of people from outside in the villages and on the land of the displaced Darfurians, and to facilitate the return of displaced people to their villages so that they can regain their dignity. We want the government to allow the return of the expelled relief organizations and to facilitate their work in order to alleviate the suffering of the displaced Darfurians. For the common good of the people, we urge the armed groups in Darfur to overcome fragmentation and to avoid any harm to civilians. Finally, we call for the release of the prisoners of war, as already agreed upon.