A Communiqué from the All Nuba Conference of 2 nd - 5 th December 2002
Historic Political Developments in Nuba Mountains Region

The first All Nuba Conference was held last week in Kauda, an area of the Nuba Mountains Region controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). It brought together over 380 representatives of Nuba civil society from all points of the Nuba political spectrum in order to discuss the future of the Nuba people. Over 160 of the participants traveled from Khartoum and other cities under the jurisdiction of the Government of Sudan (GoS) to participate in the Conference, plus a further 15 Nuba from the diaspora - from Europe, USA and Canada.

In addition to the Nuba leaders from the SPLM/A controlled areas, including Abdel Azziz Adam Elhilu, (Regional Secretary) and Musa Abdel Bagi (Secretary General of the Regional Council), many influential Nuba figures now living in GoS controlled areas were able to attend, including:
- Bishop Phillip Abbas Ghaboush - leader of the Free Sudan National Party FSNP
- Professor Elamin Hamouda - leader of the Sudan National Party (SNP)
- Mohamed Hamad Kuwa - leader of Sudan National Party - Collective Leadership
- Yussif Abdalla Jibril - leader of General Union of Nuba (GUN)
- Awad Salatin Darfur (ex Lt. Gen. of Sudan Police)
- Baballa Breima Baballa (ex. Governor of Kadugli State)
- Abdu Rasuwl Kujur (ex Member of Parliament of Sudan)
- Haroun Idris (ex Member of Parliament of Sudan)

The coming together of such a wide and inclusive range of Nuba representatives to discuss their ideas and opinions on key Nuba and Sudan issues in an open and transparent forum was, in itself, a remarkable occurrence the like of which has not been seen before in the Nuba Mountains.

The importance of the event was further highlighted by the visit of the SPLM/A Chairman, Dr John Garang de Mabior, on the first day and other leading figures of the Movement associated with marginalised areas, including Malik Agar (Regional Secretary of Southern Blue Nile) and Edward Lino.

International observers, facilitators and journalists were also present at the four day conference, including Dr Kjell Hodnebo - Advisor to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Observer Team in Machakos - and General Wilhelmson, the Chairman of the Joint Military Commission (JMC).

Among the many significant outcomes of the Conference were:
1) The unequivocal commitment of the SPLM/A leadership to the centrality of the Nuba Mountains Region (and South Blue Nile and Abyei) in all on-going peace process negotiations under IGAD. As Dr John Garang said in his address to the Conference: “I want to reiterate the commitment of the SPLM/A to these areas. We will not let you down. Whatever agreement we reach in IGAD we’ll include you.”
2) The dissolution of all four Nuba political parties and formation of one new “United Sudan National Party” (USNP), under the Presidency of Bishop Phillip Abbas and the vice-presidencies of Mohammed Hamad Kuwa, Elamin Hamouda, and Yussif Abdalla Jibril.
3) The endorsement of the IGAD process as the means to negotiate a just and secure peace for the Regions of Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile and Abyei, but only as part of a comprehensive settlement for the whole of Sudan..
4) The clear mandate given by the Conference to the SPLM/A to negotiate on behalf of the Nuba people in the IGAD peace process, and for the new USNP also to play an active role in all such negotiations.
5) A strong recommendation for the unambiguous alignment of the Nuba people with the SPLM/A during the interim period as the only means to create the opportunity for a democratic and unimpeded process of self-determination
6) The strong commitment of all participants to an on-going process of unification among the Nuba people aimed at further developing both their shared vision of a just future and their capability of achieving it in practice.
7) A wide range of additional resolutions were generated aimed at articulating what would be the essential conditions of a just and secure peace settlement for the Nuba people and the means of achieving it. Among them the following are particularly noteworthy:
– Nuba self-determination and an autonomous and representative Government for the Nuba Mountains Region accountable to, and elected by, the Nuba people
– Regional control of economic concessions and land rights for all Nuba people coupled with the development of sustainable land use practices
– a society characterized by full civil liberties, including: religious freedom and tolerance, cultural diversity, human rights protection, equal rights for women, an independent judiciary, freedom of speech and a central role for civil society
– whilst recognizing the benefits of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) and the monitoring role played by the JMC, there was an interest to see it renewed (preferably for 12 months), but with a strong request to the Friends of Nuba that more pressure be brought to bear on the GoS to honour all aspects of the CFA
– the importance of initiating and maintaining a process of dialogue between the Nuba and other ethnic groups in the Nuba Mountains (e.g. Bagara, Hawaza, Misseriya) to develop the opportunities for peaceful coexistence
– the importance of appropriate international support for assisting all displaced Nuba to return to their homes by ensuring full freedom of movement, equitable provision of basic services and conditions conducive to return are created
– all international aid to focus on strengthening self-reliant development through local capacity building and to adhere to the principles and coordination mechanisms defined in the Nuba Mountains Programme for Advancing Conflict Transformation (NMPACT)
– the importance of a full and independent investigation into the human rights violations perpetrated against the Nuba people and a means to bring any criminals to justice

Because of their expressed concern as to possible recriminations from the GoS, a full list of all participants returning to Khartoum and GoS controlled areas was circulated so that the JMC and international observers could monitor their situation after the Conference.

A more detailed and comprehensive report will be circulated by the Conference Committee in the coming days.
For more information and any comments please make contact through allnubaconference@yahoo.com

Monday, December 09, 2002