Minority Rights: Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement
Chapter II: Power Sharing (Signed at Naivasha, Kenya on 26th May, 2004)
2.4.6 A special commission shall be appointed by the Presidency to ensure that the rights of non-Muslims are protected in accordance with the aforementioned guidelines and not adversely affected by the application of Sharia Law in the Capital. The said commission shall make its observations and recommendations to the Presidency.
The 2005 CPA contained provisions for the establishment of a special commission to ensure that the rights of non-Muslims were protected in the capital. On 18 October 2005, a joint ad-hoc committee, composed of ten members representing the NCP and the SPLM, was formed to discuss issues related to administering the capital during the interim period. The committee was unable to agree on the implementation of the CPA provision guaranteeing rights of non-Muslims in the capital.1 The interim constitution contained provisions for the specialized commission to protect the non-Muslims in the nation’s capital.
- 1. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, March 2006.
In August of 2006, the Presidency issued a decree for the establishment of the Commission on the Protection of the Rights of Non-Muslims in the National Capital. The commission’s mandate and function, among other things, was to protect the rights of non-Muslims in “accordance with the human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Interim National Constitution as well as the principles stated in the CPA guiding judges and law enforcement agencies ‘in dispensing justice and enforcing law’ in Khartoum.”2 The commission received a mandate to ensure that non-Muslims were not affected by the application of the Sharia law in the National Capital. The members of the commission were not appointed in 2007.
- 2. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, December 2009.
By a presidential decree on 15 February 2007, the members of the commission were appointed. The commission contained five Christians and five Muslims, ten community leaders, two traditional and customs experts, and one representative each from Khartoum State, the Judiciary, the Ministry of Justice, the Police and National Security.3 With the establishment of the commission, several important changes took place. The head of the commission revealed that a number of courts for non-Muslims were formed in the capital. It was also reported that the Judiciary released 858 non-Muslim female prison inmates accompanied by 147 children.4
Under the sponsorship of the Interior Minister, the Commission for the Rights of Non-Muslim organized a workshop and discussed the rights of non-Muslims in relation to law texts and the reality of their practice.5 Criticizing the composition of the non-Muslim commission which contained only five Christians, the SPLM called for a special court for non-Muslims.6
Little information is available on the non-Muslim Commission. Nevertheless, it was reported that the Commission planned to propose to the Presidency the establishment of special ministry for dealing with issues of national unity and a center for unity and integration following the Malaysian experiment in that respect.7
- 7. "Sudan: Non-Muslim Commission Proposes Formation of Unity, Integration Ministry," BBC Monitoring Middle East, May 30, 2009.
The Non-Muslim Commission briefed the first vice-President and the president of the GoSS on the commission’s activities and operations. The commission’s future plan included programs related to peaceful co-existence between citizens of various religions and culture in the capital Khartoum.8 In September, the non-Muslim Commission had proposed amendments to the rights of non-Muslims, which was criticized by Sudan’s Muslim scholars.9 But, the Non-Muslim Commission said that the proposed law would not affect the constitution.10 No further information available on whether the proposed law was approved by the National Assembly.
- 8. "Sudan's Kiir Briefed on Activities of Non-Muslims Rights Commission in Khartoum," BBC Monitoring Middle East, August 30, 2010.
- 9. "Sudan's Muslim Scholars Slam Proposed Changes to Non-Muslim Rights Laws," BBC Monitoring Middle East, September 1, 2010.
- 10. "Non-Muslim Rights Commission Says Proposed Laws Not to Affect Sudan Constitution," BBC Monitoring Middle East, September 3, 2010.
No further information available. With the secession of southern Sudan on 9 July 2011, the provision became obsolete.