الله الرحمن الرحيم
SECOND BIRTH IN SUDAN IN THE
CRADLE OF SUSTAINABLE HUMAN RIGHTS
Post-independence Africa made a
false start. Some African states have actually collapsed.
Sudan is in the threshold of such
a calamity. The civil war, which started in 1963, was a limited
local conflict in its first decade up to 1972. Its second decade was
one of cold peace up to 1982. Its third decade was that of a
regional conflict. However, from the mid nineties up to this day, it
raged into a full scale National civil war with continent wide
repercussions. The wounds it caused in terms of a million plus dead,
hundreds of thousands disabled, three million displaced, a million
plus refugees and the destruction of the social and material
infra-structure in many parts of the country is a chamber of
economy was in the eve of independence viable producing enough to
satisfy National consumption, and to pay for the National imports.
The internal financial balance realized enough surpluses to finance
a program of moderate Development. The external balance was in favor
of the Sudan producing a healthy reserve. Income per capita was
$550, which equals $3700 in 1998 Dollars.
The Sudanese pound was $3.3 compared to its dismal current value of
0.04 of a cent.
All economic indicators about the
Sudanese economy have registered staggering negative figures. The
internal budget deficit sustained by losses in revenue due to a
continuous fall in production, and due to huge extra expenditure to
finance the extended civil war, and to pay for the numerous security
organizations continued to rise throughout the
decade. The government continued to cover these huge deficits by
borrowing and printing more currency. Consequently, the volume of
money, which was 17 billion pounds in 1989, has shot up to 1600
billion Sudanese pounds in 1998. The external balance which was $700
million Dollars in deficit, sustained deficits of about $2 billions
per annum throughout the decade. They were financed by dollar
purchases from the black market, and expatriation of the gold
possessions of Sudanese society.
One of the economic legacies
of the second despotic Regime in Sudan (1969-85) is the elimination
of the Sudanese budget surplus which resulted in making development
dependent on external aid which came from the West, the East and the
Gulf. For various reasons, all this external aid dried out during
the “salvation” decade. The regime benefited from $1.5billion
obtained by the democratic predecessor and disbursed during the
despotic regime. Humanitarian aid from the various foreign sources
actually increased despite the ungratefulness of the regime.
Therefore, development in the Sudan
came to a stand still. Inflation continued to rise in treble
figures, so that prices rose on the average about %4000 during the
decade. Incomes, on the other hand, rose by an average of %500.
Another legacy of the second
despotism (1969-85) is the external debt, which was $8 billions at
the time, and grew through arrears and accumulated interests to
become $20 billions to day. As a direct result of these
developments, living conditions have become intolerable, employees
have seen their pay shrink to about 3% of their necessary
expenditures, and the percentage of the population living below the
poverty line climbed to 95%.
Consequently, large numbers of Sudanese citizens left the country by
legal and illegal means to seek economic asylum. This is only one of
the reasons for the unprecedented Sudanese citizen flight from Home.
The “Salvation” Regime had
established an oppressive Police State, which treated all citizens
who do not support it as the enemies of God and the Nation. To
sustain its aggressive military policies, the Khartoum regime gave
top priority to military expenditure on the official armed forces,
plus six more para- military organizations. Further, the regime
encouraged the formation of tribal militias numbering now fifteen.
To support the Police state, the
regime went beyond the Official Police Establishment. It formed five
extra- Police security organizations to “wage war” against the
In response to this oppression, the
civilian victims have resorted to armed resistance. All political
parties and regional political formations have established their own
armies. The Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army, which was formed in
1982, has grown in numbers and combat commitment, to stand up to the
enhanced military aggressiveness of the regime. Henceforth, the
regime declared that its war effort is a JIHAD war in which the
warriors had only two options: to vanquish the infidel enemy or to
die in martyrdom. All opposition to the regime has acquired a
military dimension to resist it.
As a result of these developments,
there are now four military combat areas in the Sudan: In the South,
the West, the North East and the Southeast. The coercive machine had
not cowed the civilian population down. Their valor was “rewarded”
with cruel punishments. That is how the record of human rights abuse
in Sudan is so dismal: 8 condemnations by the UN commission of Human
From its inception, the Khartoum
regime saw itself as a vanguard of Islamicist assertion. Therefore,
its regional and international policies were closely linked with the
forces of militant Islam.
Regionally, the regime supported
the JIHAD organization in Eritrea, the Oromo Liberation Front, and
other Ethiopian dissident groups, the Lord’s Liberation Army in
Uganda (arguing that there is similarity between, them by reason of
a common religious zeal), and numerous militant Islamicist groups,
in East Africa, West Africa, and the Horn of Africa.
Internationally, the regime’s
policies identified it with all the perpetrators of the radical
Islamicist agenda, namely, the Iranian regime’s policies of militant
Islamic assertion in the pre- Khatimi phase, the IRAQI regime’s
Islamicist pretences when the BA’THIST regime decided to identify
with Islamic slogans, and the whole wide numerous violent
organizations, which decided to adopt terrorist policies to advance
their causes. The regime’s expansionist policies went further. It
formed the so-called Islamic and Arabic Peoples Congress, as a forum
for International intervention.
These developments made the Sudan
a virtual minefield of violence. The Sudan became a regional and
international nursery for the culture of violence. Sudanese society
paid the price.
There are, to- day, about 5 million
refugees in Africa (This figure does not include the African
refugees outside Africa, who have grown in numbers in the last
A refugee - according to O.A.U.
definition- is a person driven by a justified fear, because of
religious, ethnic, gender and/or political oppression. Added causes
of human flight into refugee status, are foreign aggression, and
The number of displaced people in
Africa to day is a staggering plus or minus fifteen million.
The Sudan alone account for three million refugees in Africa and
others parts of the World! It accounts also for five million
displaced people. One reason why the Sudan has been chosen as Venu
for the O.A.U. ministerial conference in 1998, in spite of the
prohibiting Security Council Resolutions, is the questionable
distinction of the Sudan, being involved with a huge number of
refugees and displaced persons.
By any standard, the Sudan to day
is Venu to the worst humanitarian tragedy in the World.
How did it happen?
What is the way- out?
erudite study of History, Arnold Toynbee maintained that challenge,
which is strong enough, could produce a response in the society,
which is creative and constructive. If, however, the challenge is
too light, that response will not be forth coming. If it is too
strong, it could destroy the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Sudanese political experience could boast of an intensity and a
variety, which is second to none. The challenge, which it faces
currently, is intensive. It may manage to live up to it
successfully, and in the process make creative history. It may
crumble in the face of the challenge.
presentation is my contribution to the conference on Human Rights
in the Transition Period expected in the Sudan.
Survey the modern history of the Sudan
from a Human Rights point of view.
Outline the legacies of seven regimes,
which governed the Sudan in modern history.
Propose policies and institutions to
deal with these legacies to achieve justice and safe guard Human
Introduce the concept of sustainable
Human Rights, and suggest how to realize them for a born again