On August 31st, the government of Sudan and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), agreed on a peace deal. The agreement follows ten months of negotiations in Juba, South Sudan, and promises to end 17 years of fighting in the Western region of Darfur and the southern regions of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile.
“The peace agreement presents a ray of hope for millions of Sudanese people in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa. The SRF is a coalition of nine political and armed parties from different parts of Sudan including Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where many conflicts have taken place since February 2003 in Darfur, and since 2011 in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The conflicts followed unresolved issues from Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war.
Muchena said the people of these Sudanese regions have endured over a decade of horrific violence and systemic violations both at the hands of the government of former President Omar al-Bashir and the rebel groups involved. According to the United Nations, about 300,000 people have died and more than 2 million displaced in the 17 years of conflict. In a joint statement the United States, United Kingdom and Norway said that the peace deal is an “Important step in restoring security, dignity, and development to the population of Sudan’s conflict-affected and marginalized areas.”
Groups that signed the agreement include the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Minawi’s Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) from Darfur. Rebel members of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) refused to take part.
In the ten months of conversations, negotiations have been halted several times. According to Al-Jazeera, many groups have been reluctant to come together.
Juba, the capital of South Sudan, has hosted and helped mediate negotiations since late 2019.
This final peace agreement covered issues of security, land ownership, transitional justice, power-sharing, and the return of displaced peoples. It also addressed the absence of accountability and justice for human rights violations committed since independence and during Omar al-Bashir’s presidency.
Al-Bashir has been since charged with five counts of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Part of the agreement also covered the dismantling of rebel forces and the integration of their fighters into the national army. “The parties to the peace agreement must make all efforts towards a sustainable peace that will deliver justice and stability to the country,” said Muchena.
The peace agreement is a historic step towards peace that Sudan deserves, but work must still be done on the parts of the Sudanese government and the groups involved.
- Historic Sudanese Peace Agreement Signed In Juba, Sudan - October 15, 2020