Official Language and Symbol: Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Chapter II: Power Sharing (Signed at Naivasha, Kenya on 26th May, 2004)

2.8 Language

2.8.1 All the indigenous languages are national languages which shall be respected, developed and promoted.

2.8.2 Arabic language is widely spoken national language in the Sudan.

2.8.3 Arabic, as a major language at the national level, and English shall be the official working languages of the National Government business and languages of instruction for higher education.

2.8.4 In addition to Arabic and English, the legislature of any sub-national level of government may adopt any other national language(s) as additional official working language(s) at its level.

2.8.5 The use of either language at any level of government or education shall not be discriminated against.

Implementation History

2005

Full Implementation

The language provision of the 2005 CPA was incorporated in the Interim Constitution. The constitution came into effect on 9 July 2005.1 As such, there was no discrimination against the use of any language at any levels of government. Nevertheless, it was only on 2 October 2005 that the Sudan’s National Unity Government that included the NCP, SPLM and other parties approved English as an official language, together with Arabic.2

  • 1. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, March 2006.
  • 2. "English Official Language of Sudan Unity Government," Agence France Presse, October 2, 2005.
2006

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2007

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2008

Full Implementation

The constitutional provisions as well as the adoption of English as the official language of National Unity government confirms the implementation of the CPA provision related to language. However, it was only in June 2008 that the National Assembly passed the National Council for Developing and Promoting the National Languages Bill.3

  • 3. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, February 2009.
2009

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2010

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2011

Full Implementation

No developments observed this year. With the secession of southern Sudan as an independent state on 9 July 2011, provisions related to language became obsolete.