PM of Sudan signs an accord to separate religion and state
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Prime Minister of Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok, signed an accord to separate religion and state. In a nation led by Islamic Sharia law for decades – and that ultimately led to the division of Sudan with the creation of South Sudan – then this is a brave step to take.
Hamdok signed in principle to alter the political and legal landscape of Sudan. He agreed on this after meeting Abdel-Aziz Adam al-Hilu (leader of the SPLM-North faction).
The conflict that led to the division of Sudan failed to bring peace to either. Hence, in Sudan major ethnic, political, and religious tensions remain in the Blue Nile region, Darfur, and South Kordofan. Similarly, ethnic and political tensions blight South Sudan.
Equally important, Sudan and South Sudan are blighted by corruption, mismanagement, and a network of powerful connections. Thus, with rapid developments emerging in Sudan, it is clear that documents alone aren’t a guarantor to peace.
Islamist forces in Sudan clearly won’t be happy by reverting to the separation of religion and state. Hence, if any volatility occurs internally in Sudan – or instigated by forces unhappy about events – then a vacuum could easily occur.
The accord signed says, “Sudan is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural society. Full recognition and accommodation of these diversities must be affirmed.”
It is hoped that the path of democracy and reconciliation will continue. However, like independent South Sudan and ethnic and political tensions, nothing is guaranteed in Sudan based on recent events in history. Therefore, the international community should support events in Sudan – while remaining cautious.
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