21-24 NOVEMBER 2002

Recognising the importance of the role of civil society in achieving comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Sudan in general and in the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile in particular, the seminar of the civil society of the two regions was organised by Justice Africa and hosted by the Pan African Movement in Kampala on 21-24 November 2002, under the theme of “working together for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Sudan.”

The deliberations were conducted in an atmosphere characterised by responsibility, transparency and determination to contribute effectively to achieving peace through dialogue on all issues pertaining to it. The deliberations showed the importance of the participation of political activists and leaders of civil society of the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile in discussing the major political issues of Sudan to achieve comprehensive, just and lasting peace, as the two regions have suffered much from war, in a way that has made their citizens the most keen to encourage the peace efforts taking place in Machakos, Kenya.

The deliberations revealed different views on the issues under debate, and the participants have confirmed the importance of continuing dialogue on them at all levels throughout the peace process.

The participants expressed their dissatisfaction about the marginalising of the causes of the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile in the Sudan political arena and in the negotiations taking place in Machakos, which exposes these causes to the risk of either jeopardising the struggle of the people of these areas, or turning them into a stumbling block in the search for peace in Sudan.

In addition to the demand to fully respect the rights of the two region, the participants clearly expressed the determination of the people of the two regions to fully contribute to the peace process.

The Forum extends its thanks and consideration to the government of Uganda for welcoming the participants, Justice Africa for organising the Seminar, the Pan African Movement for hosting it; the British Department for International Development for financing it and the representatives of the government of Sudan, IGAD and its partners and the Joint Military Committee of the Nuba Mountains for attending the discussions.

The participants recalled the previous efforts in the road of political struggle that ended with the signing of a number of agreements in the two regions, particularly the Nuba Mountains Peace Agreement 1997 and the Southern Blue Nile Peace Agreement 2000.

The Forum on the other hand regrets the decision of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement not to participate and to prevent the civil society organisations in its areas from attending, and expresses the hope that the SPLM will participate in the coming Forums, because there is a need for serious dialogue as a prerequisite for achieving a comprehensive peace in Sudan.

The Forum expresses its determination to convey the opinions of the civil society organisations to all Sudanese citizens, the two parties and the international community.

As a result of the serious deliberations and dialogue, the Forum concluded the following resolutions and recommendations:

IGAD Forum
Participants acknowledged the IGAD forum as the basic umbrella for realisation of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Sudan, and appreciated the extended efforts towards the realisation of peace in Sudan.

Participants unanimously recognise IGAD as the most suitable forum for discussing the issues of the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile regions.

The participants welcomed the readiness of the parties (GoS and SPLA/M) to discuss the issues of the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile at a parallel and related forum within IGAD.

Participants expressed misgivings that neither the GoS nor the SPLA/M are willing to involve the people of these two areas when discussing their issues, and therefore called for fuller representation of political forces and civil society organisations in the two areas at the peace talks.

The participants call upon the GoS and SPLM to represent the people of the two areas in their delegations mandated to discuss the issue of these areas by two thirds.

Power Sharing
The power that will be shared should be comprehensively defined to include all official leading posts that enable their occupants to take decisions and exercise authority that affects public life.

In concordance with the nature of Sudan in its diversity and size, the constitution should provide for a true decentralised system of rule, that gives the regions the necessary powers to run their affairs and enables their citizens to exercise those powers through free elections for executive and legislative bodies.

In addition to the independence of the regions in exercising their constitutional powers, there should be equitable sharing of the federal power in all organisations and institutions, such as the organised forces, security institutions, judiciary, foreign service, civil service, etc. This should be according to objective criteria that guarantee justice between all regions and groups and prevent the domination of any particular region or group.

Recognising the just cause of the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile regions, and their particularities, each of the two regions shall enjoy autonomous rule in the interim period, that enables their citizens to run their affairs and freely elect their executive and legislative institutions. Such autonomous rule shall be part and parcel of the peace agreement with international guarantees and which shall be embodied in the interim constitution.

In addition to the autonomous rule during the interim period, equitable participation for the citizens of the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile in all central institutions shall be insured.

The peace agreements for the two regions shall detail the above mentioned general principles.

Wealth Distribution and Development
To realise equitable distribution of wealth, a national mechanism of experts shall be established with fair representation for the regions to define the wealth that will be shared. This should widen the definition from merely national income, to include all national resources of actual value such as public infrastructure, productive projects, public service facilities and qualified cadres.

The criteria shall be identified for wealth distribution between different regions and the central government and a technical national committee of experts shall be established to work out criteria which may include population size, level of development and growth and the contribution of the region in the source of the wealth.

A national council with fair representation for the regions, assisted by a technical committee of experts, shall be established by law to take the responsibility for wealth distribution in accordance with the specified criteria which will be revised in the light of economic changes.

Due to the civil war that erupted in the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile regions and as a result of marginalisation, and which caused huge material and human losses, there must be a political commitment to compensate the two regions in rehabilitation and development.

To realise the objective stated in the above point, specific ambitious development programmes should be drawn up for each region with concentration on basic infrastructure as a prerequisite for economic modernisation, and developing the basic social service facilities including education, health, water and sanitation, etc. The development programme for each region shall be part and parcel of its peace agreement.

A proposal for power sharing and wealth distribution is attached.

Constitutional Principles
The constitution should be based on the following basic principles:

Full equality of citizens where rights and duties are solely based on citizenship without any discrimination.

Guarantee of basic freedoms and rights.

Insuring decentralised system of rule (real federalism).

Fulfilment of equality between different cultural components of the Sudanese nation and protection of cultural and linguistic rights of all groups with balanced expression for these components in the mass media, national curricula and cultural institutions.

All political forces and civil society should participate in the formulation of the constitution.

Religion and the State
The constitution should guarantee equal rights for all people of different faiths and there should be no legislation that discriminates on the basis of religion.

The constitution should guarantee freedom of belief, worship, and evangelism through practice, publication, education and nobody should be forced to practice or learn any religion.

The constitution should guarantee the right of any citizen to assume leading constitutional positions and senior posts in the civil services based on citizenship and qualification alone.

The Right of Self Determination
Participants expressed their will to safeguard the unity of Sudan as the priority, and therefore they should work for the preservation of unity based on new principles including equality, justice and respect for basic human rights.

Participants acknowledged self-determination as the right for all people in accordance with international conventions.

Since self-determination includes among other options, secession, and taking into consideration the fragile national formation of Sudan, and to safeguard the unity of Sudan in the time when other communities of nations are heading towards greater unity, participants resolved that the choice of a united Sudan should remain the priority. Accordingly, the participants resolved that they will work together to create a new democratic Sudan, in which all regions and communities are fairly represented, particularly in view of the fact that the peoples of the two regions are the indigenous peoples of Sudan.

The Boundaries of the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile
Participants strongly concurred with the political and administrative map of Sudan of 1-1-1956 in which Southern Sudan included the three regions of Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria, while the Northern Region was specified by the six regions of Kordofan, Darfur, Kassala, Blue Nile, Northern and Khartoum.

Southern Blue Nile region is defined as the present South Blue Nile State (wilaya).

The Nuba Mountains region is defined as the present South Kordofan State (wilaya), Lagowa Province in Western Kordofan State and Jebel al Dair area.

Security Arrangements
Participants welcomed the Nuba Mountains ceasefire agreed by the parties at Burgenstock, Switzerland, and supported its continuation. They thank the governments and individuals that are participating in the Joint Military Commission and commend them for their work.

Participants called for the formation of a Military Committee and a Military Technical Committee, composed equally of representatives of the two parties, and with the participation of the international community to organise and supervise security arrangements and the future of the military and organised forces.

The participants strongly recommended that the model and experience currently taking place in the Nuba Mountains should be replicated in Southern Blue Nile, starting from negotiating a ceasefire agreement, formation of Joint Military Commission, delivering of humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation, and looking forward to a final peace agreement within a comprehensive peace settlement in Sudan.

The Role of Civil Society in the Peace Process
Participants acknowledged the importance of the role of civil society in supporting the peace process in Sudan.

Participants acknowledged the importance of providing a conducive and suitable environment for the formation of civil society organisations in order to exercise their role in a free manner.

Participants acknowledged the importance of regulating civil society’s functions to ensure that organisations play their role most effectively.

Participants recognised the importance of the participation of a wider spectrum of grassroots and women in the formation of civil society, and the implementation and evaluation of their activities.

The participants formed a Committee to ensure the submission, coordination and follow up of this Declaration to the Government of Sudan, SPLA/M, IGAD and its partners, Sudanese civil society and the international organisations concerned.