Sudan separates church and state
Sudan’s transitional government has agreed to separate ‘church and state’, ending three decades of Islamic rule in the North African nation.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu, a leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North rebel group, signed a declaration in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on September 3, adopting the principle.
“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,” the declaration proclaims. “Sudan is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society. Full recognition and accommodation of these diversities must be affirmed.”
The declaration comes less than a week after the government initialled a peace deal with opposition forces that has raised hopes of an end to fighting that has ravaged Khartoum, Darfur and other parts of Sudan under ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir. The larger of two factions in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, which has fought government troops in the nation’s border states, said it wouldn’t sign any agreement that did not ensure a secular state.
Sudan is emerging from international isolation that began soon after Bashir seized power in 1989 and introduced a strict interpretation of Islamic law that sought to make the country the “vanguard of the Islamic world”.