Initiative –the way out for Sudan

Sudan Centre for Conflict Resolution
Freedom and justice for all                                           
Date:15/2/2011                                                        
Initiative –the way out for Sudan                                                  

 This initiative is written by a group of Sudanese people who are journalists, writers, and civil society activists, from different perspectives and regions, seeking for a free and just new Sudan. On behalf of our people we have been standing against these consistent injustices and ongoing oppression which have been caused by this fascist Sudanese regime in Khartoum and also by the previous ethnocentric governments. These injustices have been placed endured by our people in all of the marginalized regions, such as: South Sudan, the Nuba Mountains, Darfur, Blue Nile,Eastern Sudan and Nubians in North sudan. This has gone on since independence was granted in 1956. Due to this we the people of Sudan have been living under threats and fear. There have been struggles against this injustice carried out by rebels movements and civil society to push for the rule of law, for freedom, for justice and for equality for each and every person of Sudan.

We have created this initiative in order to overcome the uncertainty and self-interest that exist among the educated political leaders of Sudan. We hope that we can create a bright future for all of us by building strong opposition and supporting politicians who can make decisive choices and stand up against constant injustice and oppression.

Our goals are:
1. Collective unified efforts against the current regime.
2. Sharing ideas and experiences to find our way out of the current problems.
3. Promote the adoption of these values in order to build a new Sudan with a new vision: freedom, the rule of law, justice, democracy, and the acceptance of each other as equal and valued partners.
 
Why are we suggesting this initiative now? We are at a difficult and crucial time in our country’s history. We have seized this moment to speak out because we are very worried about the way that things are going in Sudan. It is obvious that we have reached the point where the country’s future existence is in question. While we are writing this initiative, southern Sudanese are voting for self-determination and the result probably will be a separated country. Besides that, Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains should have the right of self determination and the result of such voting, if it occurs, would not be predictable.

Therefore, we seek to introduce some of the issues that have been controversial, such as:
-Identification.
This is a thorny issue because it deals with the people and their feelings and dignity, as well as their perspectives on who they are and who the other Sudanese really are. This social conflict seems to be historical, and the fate of the country hangs on it. because the importance of this matter is emphasized by the fact that our history has been characterized by this conflict, this history of abuse, injustice, blood shed, oppression, and violations of ethnic and personal identity.

We consider these items to be the foundation of many of the problems we have faced as a nation. The opposition party failed to solve these problems after independence. Instead of dealing with the real issues, the leaders of the country focused on adopting a system of government. In so doing they failed to establish a system based on diversities that would allow everybody to see himself as part of it. The country’s early leaders should have established true national unity, based on the diversity that we have in Sudan.

We therefore call upon all interested partners to work together to open a new door to deal with the issue of identity in the Sudan. We believe the interests of all Sudanese can be respected in a country with a unified, democratic, multicultural and multilingual foundation where all citizens feel that they have a common interest in the country’s prosperity and progress.

-Absence of the rule of law.
The absence of the rule of law has opened the door to the excesses and abuses in the ongoing conflicts in Sudan. One cannot talk about democracy and respect for human rights in the context of the absence of the rule of law. These conflicts are closely linked to democracy and human rights on the one hand and the rule of law on the other hand. A community with democracy and human rights is a community with the rule of law, and vice versa.

Simply making statements about the rule of law in the text of the constitution and in laws and regulations is not enough. These statements in theoretical text must be translated into practical application. If the leaders do not apply the theoretical text on the ground there is no value in the statements about the rule of law.
   
-War and Peace.

Social justice:
There is no doubt that the social justice issues are linked in one way or another to the clash of individual interests and the interests of the ethnic tribal social systems in Sudan. (Social justice is a very important issue for the DarFurians and is therefore being demanded by them.)
-Freedom.
-Equality and Justice.
-Discrimination.
 
The Role of the International Community:

How many friends and how much time do we need to make progress?
Find the observer of the situation in the Sudan. The Security Council Resolutions and the United Nations in general are still slow in making effective stability in Sudan. This is because the resolutions are very weak in terms of securing the implementation of them by the Islamic Government. The government seems to always be playing when it comes to implementing the resolutions suggested.

In Khartoum, despite the fact that the number of decisions issued regarding the Sudan has been more than any other state in the last ten years, these decisions unfortunately did not work and have not been effective.

The lack of international response to the conflict in Sudan and the genocide in Darfur has resulted in the loss of about 350,000 human lives. This is in part because the international community has been divided and ineffective. We expect the international organizations and regional entities to listen to the elements of our concern and to assist in building stability in Sudan. The absence of such stability may impact the entire region including neighboring countries.

Therefore we suggest these recommendations:
To minimize the chance of further war and an increase in the number of victims:

1. The Security Council should endorse a new international plan of action to take action against the Khartoum government and to give the UNAMID (Mission in the Sudan) delegation the ability to continue its work more decisively.

2. The imposition of bans and sanctions aimed at members and leaders of the Islamic government in Khartoum who have been accused of certain crimes in Darfur. This should include a review of the processes involved in promoting the violation of human rights, and measures aimed at officials and the international companies owned by them.

3. A comprehensive ban on the travel of officials known to be responsible for crimes against humanity and a demand that Member States pressure the Khartoum government and promises that they will not receive Officials from the /Khartoum regime.
 
4. The Security Council should not be interrupted from dealing with the case of the Khartoum government regarding human rights violations and genocide in Darfur and of igniting a war of ethnicity by authorizing the use of military force over mere tribal matters.

To the United Nations, international donors, and international organizations we suggest these recommendations:

1. Increase the number and effectiveness of human rights monitors in Sudan and make that an ongoing part of the Mission in Sudan until Sudan’s stability is assured.
 
2. Negotiate directly with the government and other sponsors in the peace process in Darfur, and make it very clear to the Government of Sudan that it will not find favor with the international community in the light of continuing human rights violations.

3. Development of better plans logistical reinforcement for the emergency support for the Mission (UNAMID) and the World Food Programme. They both need to be supported well so they can effectively do their work.

4. Make sure the Member States of the International Criminal Court and donors understand the distinction between the political attitude of the government of Sudan and the universal principles of justice and peace that need to be applied in Darfur and other parts of the Sudan. Help the court in the arrest of war criminals and genocide in Darfur.

5. Urge the international organizations interested in Sudan such as: Amnesty International, the International Crisis Group, and the Carter Center ….. Etc. to establish campaigns. These campaigns must continue to be active for extended periods in order to resettle about 30 million people (of whom 2 million are displaced persons). Wen and threatened with war raging to come and the Hereafter is still ongoing for the refugees in the development of non-human, in order to pressure the Khartoum government and move the international community to stop the violations.

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1-there must be a crucial resolution from the security council which can target the leaders of this regime such as stopping some of the leaders who have been involved in the genocide  in Darfur from visiting EU  as well as America, Australia and Canada besides targeting their abroad business.

-The situation on the ground.
It is very important that the opposition in Khartoum and abroad should realize that the current regime can be brought down by a major political struggle. But the question remains about the structure of relationships and the social situation in the Sudan. This does not necessarily mean that the old opposition force is adequate. They did not  have a clear opinion in issues of the conflict  and they were not willing to support the process of structural change in the existing regime. All parties must be aware of the need for change in the structure of the existing system in all its height and depth. This will mean a decisive battle with those trying to maintain the old system. By “old system” we mean the system where the Islamic government and their allies from “the opposition” actually work together based on the social structure of old. As a result there is no true opposition in Khartoum. We believe that we now hold an effective key for change in Sudan. The current climate is ideal for change. Events in Sudan are moving at an accelerated pace. A storm is rolling over the country. There will almost certainly be change in the political and economic life of the country. Perhaps equally as important is the fact that our personal and family lives, as well as our moral values are being questioned and that sets the stage for change. The post-colonial accusation of historical laziness historical are perhaps more accurately based on the cheating and political game-playing of the past than true cultural values. In the past material benefit were the goal of daily political activity daily, of both the ruling Elite and the opposition parties.

Our awareness of what is happening in our daily lives in
particularl and our political and economic developments in Sudan in general, have caused some of us to think that perhaps the beginning of the euphoria of revolutionary change is at hand! Might we now see the end of religious and tribal labels? Hardly a day passes but we hear the announcement of some new “movement” in one or another of the regions of Sudan. Even as we write this we expect at any time that an armed movement from one of the old Khartoum parties will demand certain rights, namely, that new methods of expression become available, and the
well-being of the individual and the group are given priority rather than the old systems and mechanisms that have held us prisoners. Through a more efficient internet these activists and the new movements have become reality.

It is clear that social conflict now exists between groups that are
keen on saving the social and political systems of the past and the patient efforts of groups, who constitute a new coalition. This new coalition is between the marginalized peoples (the black masses) and the young intellectuals of the new left. There are so many ideals held in common between the old “opposition parties” and the current regime that the opposition is not really a true opposition. No matter what the old “opposition” has said in the past about the government of Khartoum, there really has never been much difference between the opposition and the regime. There is no real battle between them. the glue that held the “opposition” and the regime together was the common ideal of “what will reap the most selfish, personal benefit. However, the new coalition mentioned above could become a true and effective opposition movement, if allowed to survive and grow and function.

We must, as a people and as a nation, review all of our old alliances that were based on ethnic groups and religion. We believe that the time is right for the emergence of a “new elite” and leaders who are able to
create new alliances that will serve all Sudanese. It is the time for creativity and innovation based on justice and freedom. It is time to safeguard the interests of the Sudanese people and to defend their multi-cultural and multi-religious makeup.

The old political elite has failed to understand the changes taking
place in the Sudanese society. It does not know that life around them has changed. This change is in terms of infrastructure, relationships, and values. The result has been self-determination for the people of South Sudan and the emergence of new or stronger movements in Darfur, the East, the Nuba Mountains as well as other movements and groupings and alliances. We have also seen new ideas and new movements of people who had been displacement within the interior of our country. Many have moved to the cities. In the cities people have learned new ways of thinking.  The migration of rural youth to the outside world has allowed them to acquire concepts and methods to create new lives. Through increasing access to large databases of knowledge, these youth in exile have adopted new ideas and spread them among their people and other people groups. They have sent home news about the better life they can find. They have fallen in love with the idea of progress, and of living a decent life. They embrace the ideals of human rights. Today we find that the Kalma refugee camp residents in Darfur understand the international writings and universal ideals of human rights more than any political leader from the old parties of the previous regimes or the opposition. These new thinkers have a clearer position on secularism and the separation of regligion from state than many of the secular communities of the past, even those outside of Sudan.

It is not to forgotten that leaders should be an expression of popular will and that no modern or legitimate leader holds his position by divine right.
 
-The issue of Darfur.
Suggestions to promote constitutionality and the rule of law:
It is well known that every compromise that is based on negotation must consider the all elements and issues regarding the main causes of the conflict. All of these issues be given deep thought and discussion. If attention is given to stopping the conflict only, it is doubtful that sustainable peace will be achieved.

-Social justice.
Why must we face the past?
Few must deal with past injustices and crimes for the sake of the victims and survivors so they can be sure that the future is bright and there will be no re-emergence of war.

In order to achieve these worthy goals we need to focus on:
Strengthen the understanding democracy among all Sudanese.
Consider the various methods of implementing transitional justice to confront all human rights abuses of the past as we move towards the future.
Persecutions.
-find out the truth
-promote institutional reform
– facilitate the collective memory in a healthy way
– consider the building of monuments so future generations understand the pitfalls of the past

The concept of conflict resolution demands a sustainable solution. That requires that there is a solution acceptable to all parties. Otherwise, any party might be inclined to continue fighting until one side or the other grows too weak to continue to struggle, but the issues of conflict have not been resolved and will re-emerge. Always the people pay the cost for unresolved conflict. If, on the other hand, some type of “solution” is accepted without solving the root causes, the conflict will probably soon return.  The case of Darfur is very complicated because there are so many parties involved in the conflict.  A good and lasting solution will be difficult, but possible! It is obvious from what is going on now that those involved in seeking to find a solution for Darfur have very little knowledge of the leading the issues in Darfur. They seem  only to see the political side of the problem. It is much more complex than that.

Therefore, in order to create a road map for resolving this conflict, these issues must be clarified:
-Who is involved in the conflict?
-What are the main issues in the conflict?
-What external groups do they belong to?
-What areas do they represent?
-What peripheral issues also fuel the conflict?

Moreover, there needs to be a clear differentiation between the self interests of powerful individuals and/or groups and the true public interest.

This table will help address the issues:
-social- Is it a weak community? Are there hidden cultural division and ethnic imbalances?
-economical- Is the area or ethnic group weak economically? Are they deprived of the resources of the region and nation? Is there unequal distribution of wealth?
-political- Is the regional or local government a weak government? Is there bias in the existing government? Is it perhaps an illegal government?
-the elite  Who are the individuals and groups motivated by self-interest? Is there dishonesty individually or institutionally? Is the abolishing of existing policies necessary?

We think that it is very important to learn from Sudan’s previous experiences. That will be essential to arrive at a truly comfortable and thus sustainable solution for all parties. It will be necessary to insure that government officials and other leaders cannot be bought and that no fake positions exist.

The transition period must be based on:

Breaking the economic gaps and the imbalances in the Darfur region and the other marginalized regions.
Building development projects for the short term transitional period as well as long term projects.
Both sides, all sides, must  commit to implementation, including budget preparation and time tables. To help guarantee the implementation of development projects, we prefer the international companies and NGOs in these fields :
-health. To build hospital and clinics all over the regions.
-education. It must be free and accessible to all. The number of the schools and qualified the teachers must be increased and the curriculums must be modified.
-infrastructures.  There must be new, quality roads linking all three Darfur state capitol cities with the national capital city, Khartoum.
-compensations projects. There must be rebuilding of all villages that vanished during the war. These villages must be built according to the new specifications for health, peace, education and must include the involvement of local community leaders.

Steps must be made towards self determination of all the marginalized regions in order to establish the peace and sustainability needed in our country.

The road map must specify the means and the level at which the implementation of the agreements will take place, as well as secure practical guarantees based on new active methods that will stop the previous constant cheating and playing of political  games.

The structure of government and constitutional framework:

In the division of the central government’s responsibilities and powers, Darfur states should be given the privileges of “affirmative action” within a period of time of not more than ten years .

Moreover the government must be based on the principles of rule of law, respect of human rights of all, separation of powers, and the public accountability (nobody is above the law). There must be decentralization of authority nation-wide.

Accordingly, Darfur should be dealt with as its own region. It must be given a truly workable structure including the framework of local government. The parliament should consist of two parliamentary bodies: one the representation of which should be on basis of a general election, and the other a senate in which the representation is on the basis of tribe. The functions of each of them must be separately identified and defined.

Security arrangements:

We should take advantage of the previous agreements. This must include first of all the disarmament of the Janjaweed and all the Militia that do not belong to any of the agreement parties.

The way forward:

We believe that the Sudanese people, both in and out of Sudan, have different perspectives and ways of thinking which will be useful in implementing this initiative. No one should think that they have the divine right. Those who do so are pushing themselves far away from the interest of the Sudanese people. The issues and problems of Sudan are continuously changing and out-of-date religious answers have not and will not work to establish a bright and secure future for all of Sudan.

We believe that the divergent views from all sectors of Sudanese culture could be an entrance toward a solution which will be practicable and will express views from each part of the conflict scenario in Sudan. These divergent views will be the real and legitimate challenges that we will face together after the removal of the current regime.

For further development of this initiative and the issues that have not yet been addressed, we encourage all the academics and experts, writers and researchers  to contribute by publishing papers and proposals on the urgent issues. We urge all to expand this discussion of the real issues that this initiative has raised.

As for politicians, leaders of civil society, students, and the trade unions we suggest these:
-outline. Prepare outlines of the political context of the future government and deal with national unity and representation.
-define ways to break the gap between all the social and ethnic groups
-initiate discussions and suggestions including both traditional justice but also what others in the world have learned in how to uncover the facts and move forward.
-educate people and youth on the meaning of rights and how to achieve them, as well as their role and responsibility in the work of change and supporting the public and open public discussions about the future.         
Therefore, we, the people of Sudan, regardless of our differences, together, as equals, countrymen, and brothers, adopt this initiative, and we pledge our selves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.
  

Therefore, we suggest these:

All the national parties, civil societies and rebel groups must work to achieve good communication and coordination, and must seek to build strong relationships among themselves.

All the Sudanese people be mobilized to be ready for real and historical action.

All Sudanese people work together to organizing an open hunger strike all over Sudan  All Sudanese people should go on this hunger strike in and out Sudan.

All Sudanese people work together to organize marches in all the states of Sudan .

All Sudanese people should turn off their electrical power from 10pm to11pm for 10days.

All of these suggestions should be conducted under the universal laws of nonviolent resistance. Besides the rule of law, justice, peace, and freedom should also be emphasized during this event.

The government must realize that Sudan is on the brink of grave danger. All members of the government must put the national interest above their own.

The government must acknowledge that it is in an impossible position and nothing of lasting value for the people and the nation can be done without the help of all Sudanese people. Therefore, the government officials need to contribute positively to prevent Sudan from total collapse.
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