Members of the Sudanese parliament have decided to fight the imposition of the State of Emergency in North Kordofan and Kassala by filing a complaint to the country’s Constitutional Court.
On Monday, a majority in the parliament agreed on the imposition of State of Emergency for the period of six months in North Kordofan and Kassala in order to facilitate the collection of illicit arms and unlicensed vehicles in the two states.
According to the authorities, the measure is needed for the implementation of a comprehensive disarmament campaign in the country, announced by Khartoum in July. Ther following month, paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces and army soldiers were employed in the five states of Darfur, and South and West Kordofan where the campaign would start.
In January, the arms collection was to be extended to North Kordofan, west of Khartoum, and Kassala in the eastern part of the country.
Politicians and activists in both states doubted the reasons behind this “heavy measure”.
“In reality, Khartoum wants to further restrict our fundamental rights and freedoms under the pretext of collecting,” a North Kordofani activist commented. “They just need the State of Emergency to suppress renewed protests against the sky-rocketing prices.”
“The Sudanese Constitution conditions a declaration of a State of Emergency with disasters and epidemics or foreign intervention,” lawyer Osman Saleh told Radio Dabanga on December 30.
Opposition parties in Kassala as well rejected the linking of the State of Emergency with the campaign against illicit weapons, drugs trade, and human trafficking.
Parliamentary Emergency Committee
In a report to the parliament, the head of the Parliamentary Emergency Committee, Ahmed El Tijani, justified the imposition of the measure in North Kordofan by saying that it has been imposed “to successfully complete the illegal arms collection”.
In Kassala, the imposition of the State of Emergency serves reasons related to security threats, the collection of weapons, the fight against human trafficking, smuggling of goods, he said.
He noted that the six-month period is reasonable, and consistent with the requirements for information collection and analysis.
On January 2, the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) proposed a reduction of the six-month-period of the State of Emergency and the number of paramilitary forces deployed to implement the disarmament campaign to the Parliamentary Emergency Committee that deals with the subject.
The leader of the PCP, MP Kamal Omar, announced in a press statement on Tuesday that a coalition of MPs of the National Dialogue group and eastern Sudanese political parties have decided to lodge a complaint to the Constitutional Court against the measure.
Mahmoud Abdeljabbar, MP for the Union of the Nation’s Forces, considers the imposition of the State of Emergency in Kassala and North Kordofan a “flagrant violation” of the Constitution.
“The Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code are sufficient for the procedures required to collect weapons and combat the smuggling of goods across the border, and human trafficking,” he told this station.
The MP pointed to “the great damage of the State of Emergency for the image of the country.
“If Khartoum wants to convince the international community that the country is safe, and to attract more foreign investors as well, it should not take such heavy measures for their disarmament campaign,” he said.
“As for the people living in the states, the State of Emergency definitely restricts their freedoms,” he added.