Government, Rebels Agree To Make Sudan a Secular State

The government of Sudan has reached an agreement with a rebel leader laying out conditions for his faction to recognize the peace deal signed with rebel groups earlier this week.

The agreement which was signed by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and Abdul Aziz Alhilu, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North – SPLM-N -, was signed on Thursday, and its main focus was making Sudan a secular state.

It requested that the constitution of Sudan be based on the principle of separation of religion and state and be geared towards ending discrimination in the country.

“Sudan is a multi-religious, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural society. Full recognition and accommodation of these diversities must be affirmed,” the declaration document read.

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“For Sudan to become a democratic country where the rights of all citizens are enshrined, the constitution should be based on the principle of ‘separation of religion and state’ in the absence of which the right to self-determination must be respected.”

It read that “freedom of belief and worship and religious practice shall be guaranteed in full to all Sudanese citizens.”

“The state shall not establish an official religion. No citizen shall be discriminated against based on their religion,” the agreement read.

The understanding is expected to draw a strong reaction from supporters of former Sudanese ruler Omar al-Bashir’s, who have protested severally against what they say is the transitional government’s “failure and corruption.”

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SPLM-N is one of two factions that opted out of the peace deal between the rebel groups and transitional government signed in Juba, South Sudan’s capital on Monday.

The deal gives a share to the rebels in government institutions – 35% of cabinet ministers, 75 seats in the upcoming 300-member transitional legislative assembly, and three members in the 11-person Sovereign Council.

It also proposes a federal system for Sudan and grants autonomy to the South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions.

Under the agreement, the Darfur region, which was split into five states, will be reunified into one area after seven months and have its own governor.

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The deal also grants Darfur 40% of its revenue and 20% of civil service employment opportunities.

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