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Sudan ‘manipulating Dialogue Committee recommendations’

February 23 - 2016 KHARTOUM
A consultation session of the National Dialogue in Khartoum (file photo)
A consultation session of the National Dialogue in Khartoum (file photo)

The deputy chairman of the National Dialogue Committee on Public Freedoms has accused members of the National Congress Party (NCP) of manipulating a number of recommendations in the outcomes of the Dialogue.

The remarks have prompted the Dialogue’s 7+7 Steering Committee to annul the former outcomes and review all recommendations in order to agree on them and pass them again on Wednesday.

Deputy Chairman Dr Ammar El Sajjad told Radio Dabanga in an interview for Milafaat Sudania on Monday that he was surprised to hear the Dialogue’s secretary-general announce the receipt of the recommendations of the Committee on Public Freedoms at a time when the chairman was abroad and he himself was not informed.

He explained that after elaborate discussions over four months, the Committee agreed on a number of recommendations that can be divided in four sections. The first section calls for amendments of the Bill of Rights in the 2005 Interim Constitution. The second recommends the adjustment of laws restricting freedoms. The third part concerns the implementation mechanisms of the recommendations, and the fourth section contains general recommendations including matters that are not related to judicial amendments.

The members of the Public Freedoms Committee reached a number of conclusions after thorough discussions. “We all agreed on the recommendations and signed the outcome. The NCP however mobilised its forces and deleted about three-quarters of our recommendations,” he said.

El Sajjad is a member of the Popular Congress Party, founded and chaired by Dr Hassan El Turabi.

Solution

President Omar Al Bashir called for a broad National Dialogue in January 2014, in an attempt to to discuss and resolve the various crises in the country. The Dialogue should include all political parties and armed movements, in addition to civil society organisations.

A steering committee was formed of seven pro-government and seven opposition parties. However, the most prominent opposition party, the National Umma Party, withdrew after its president, El Sadig El Mahdi was detained by security officers in May 2014 after branding the formation of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, “unconstitutional”.

Other Sudanese opposition parties shunned the National Dialogue from the start. Ibrahim El Sheikh, the former head of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), said that they will not join any dialogue unless the government abolishes all laws that restrict freedoms in Sudan, restores the constitutional amendments, and all involved in the killing of demonstrators during the September 2013 uprising are brought to justice.

Allied under the Sudan Appeal (a two-page document calling for regime-change), the Committee proposed to hold a broad constitutional dialogue under the auspices of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in Addis Ababa. Khartoum however categorically refuses this, as it insists the Dialogue remain ‘national’.

The National Dialogue was finally launched on 10 October last year. The NCP has repeatedly called on the armed movements and the holdout opposition parties to join the process. For this reason the Dialogue was extended for an indefinite period of time. The various Dialogue committees however, presented their conclusions during the past weeks.


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