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UK Parliamentary delegation to visit Sudan, Darfur

September 6 - 2018 WESTMINSTER
The Houses of Parliament in London (File photo: london-pictures.com)
The Houses of Parliament in London (File photo: london-pictures.com)

A delegation of UK parliamentarians representing the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan & South Sudan will travel to Sudan from September 16 to 20.

A statement to Radio Dabanga from the Houses of Parliament in the British capital says that the delegation will be led by David Drew, Labour MP for Stroud, Vice-Chair, APPG Sudan and South Sudan, Liz McInnes, Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton, Shadow Foreign Minister, responsible for East Africa, James Duddridge, Conservative PM for Rochford and Southend, former Minister for Africa, and Baroness Sheehan, Liberal Democrat Member of the House of Lords and International Development spokesperson.

The statement says the trip is being organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan & South Sudan*, a cross-party group of UK parliamentarians raising issues of peace, social justice, and human rights in both countries.

The group will spend three days in Khartoum and one day in Darfur. They will meet with government officials, parliamentarians, and civil society activists in Khartoum, as well as UN officials, local government representatives and IDPs in Darfur.

Delegation leader David Drew MP, said:

“I’m excited to return to Sudan with parliamentary colleagues later this month, a decade after my last trip.

“As a parliamentary group, it’s vital that our work remains connected to the realities on the ground in Sudan. We will be hearing from those in government, parliament and civil society about what it’s like to live in Sudan today.

“Our two countries have a unique and enduring bond. I’m looking forward to renewing that relationship and reaffirming our commitment to peace and prosperity in Sudan.”

Relations

Last month a delegation from the United Kingdom led by the British Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, visited North Darfur and held talks with the state government in El Fasher. They also visited Abu Shouk camp for the displaced.

The British official said that the purpose of the visit is to see the overall security and humanitarian situation in the state, in addition to coordination with the state government in facilitating the provision of assistance and services to the returnees to their villages of origin, as well as building strong partnership between the Sudanese government and the United Kingdom in all aspects.

The stated aim of her visit to Darfur was “to emphasise the UK's calls for an end to ongoing conflict in the area”.

Protest

In July this year, 400 people took to the streets in London to protest increasingly friendly ties between the governments of the UK and Sudan.

According to Maddy Crowther of Waging Peace, an organiser of the protest, 400 people turned out on 30 June to walk peacefully from the Sudanese Embassy to the official residence of the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street in London. Other organisations involved were the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) and Stand UK.

The protest was held in light of the “strategic dialogue” which has opened up between the UK and the Sudanese government.

Opposition

Also in July, El Mahdi met with Minister of State at the British Foreign Office, Harriett Baldwin MP in London.

El Mahdi called on the United Kingdom to support an international conference to address the Sudanese crisis through the effective implementation of the road map and stressed that peace, democracy and justice are necessary for stability. El Mahdi also met with representatives of the British All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sudan and South Sudan on a separate visit to London in March this year.

Last year, the Group published a report on UK-Sudan relations, calling for human rights to be prioritised by the UK government. The report argued that the UK government was in danger of losing its reputation as a human rights standard-bearer due to competing concerns of tackling irregular migration and extremism in the region.

* The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan and South Sudan is a political campaigning group promoting the cause of peace, human rights, justice and development for the people of Sudan and South Sudan across Westminster and Whitehall. The Group was formed in 1998 in response to concerns raised by Sudanese diaspora groups about the political, economic and social situation in their country and as a result of the desire of UK Parliamentarians to highlight this situation. Based in Westminster, the group has established a growing membership of over 100 British MPs and Peers across political parties. Since its inception the Group has acted as the key forum in Parliament for actively debating and highlighting key issues on Sudan and South Sudan.


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