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‘Changes to Sudan’s Interim Constitution annul Bill of Rights’

February 2 - 2015 ADDIS ABABA
Rapid Support Forces (RSF facebook page)
Rapid Support Forces (RSF facebook page)

The recent constitutional amendments definitely annul the Bill of Rights of the Interim Constitution and the civil rights stipulated in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), according to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

Yasir Arman, SPLM-N Secretary-General, commented to Dabanga that the constitutional amendments were passed in the parliament on 5 January “destroyed all the gains the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, RD) achieved in the CPA”. The CPA was signed by the Sudanese government and the SPLM in January 2005, after years of negotiations, ending the 22-year civil war between the southern Sudanese SPLM and the government in Khartoum.

Arman warned that the amendments “will have a direct negative impact on the attempts of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to broker a peace agreement between the Khartoum regime and the SPLM-N, as the negotiations are based on the CPA, and the 2011 framework agreement between the SPLM-N and the government”.

The amendments concern the appointment of state governors, the status and powers of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), and the inclusion of the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur in the Constitution.

The 2005 Interim Constitution, based on the provisions laid down in the CPA, granted the Sudanese states a measure of self-government. State Governors were elected, and the states’ parliaments had the right to dismiss a governor with two thirds of the votes. According to the amendments, the Governors will be appointed and dismissed by the President.

The amendments also stipulate that the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) will become a full part of Sudan's regular forces, instead of being a state institution tasked with the “collection and analysing of information and data”. The Rapid Support Forces, a large militia commanded by the NISS, has thus been legitimised.

The 2011 framework agreement, signed by Malik Agar, head of the SPLM-N, and Nafi Ali Nafi, Presidential Advisor at the time, laid out the basic principles for a peace agreement concerning the Two Areas. A few days after the signing, on 28 June, President Al Bashir cancelled the agreement after intervention by hardliners within the regime.

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