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Posted on Monday, 20 April 2015 11:35

Can Sudan survive another term of Omar al-Bashir's rule?

By The Africa Report

Opposition and rebel groups hope to derail April elections in Sudan, where a new wave of violence has forced an estimated 50,000 to flee their homes in 2015 and President Omar al-Bashir still faces charges of genocide.

 

Yes Foreign investment from Sudan's economic allies including China and an uninterrupted flow of oil through Sudan's pipelines suggest the country's economy will survive but international sanctions and domestic instability will continue to batter it. Further fractures may emerge among ruling elites, and Bashir's health and the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant for genocide will limit his travel. However, during the past quarter-century Bashir's government has developed a far-reaching security and military apparatus designed to last. The Sudanese people will not emerge unscathed if Bashir succeeds to an unprecedented 31st year in office in 2020, but their struggles for justice will survive. Civil society organisations, including women's, youth, and legal aid groups, will keep fighting to promote equality and the rule of law. The United Nations and Western governments will keep pressuring the Sudan government to make political accommodations that reflect human rights obligations and Sudan's diversity. And aid agencies will keep venturing into Sudan to provide reprieve from the violence and the poverty that have plagued the nation since its 1956 independence. These socioeconomic, political and legal challenges are likely to remain, continually testing Bashir's rule and the people's endurance. ● MARK FATHI MASSOUD: Award-winning author of Law's Fragile State

 

 

 

No The question is not whether Sudan can "survive," but rather under which conditions. History tells us that unless Sudan's leaders end abuses and make deep reforms, people will continue to face violence, repression and assaults on their dignity. In the conflict zones of Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, government forces will continue to attack populated areas, killing, maiming and raping civilians. Even in the capital city, protesters face excessive and lethal force. More than 170 protesters were shot dead in cold blood in September 2013, and not one of the victims' families has seen justice. Across Sudan, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) will continue to arrest and detain journalists, students, activists, lawyers and other perceived opponents of the ruling National Congress Party, such as the three high-profile political activists detained since December after signing an opposition declaration, the Sudan Call. The number of others languishing at often unidentified sites remains unknown. NISS routinely censors the media, seizing papers and blacklisting journalists, such as in mid-February 2015 when officials raided 19 newspapers. These are hardly conditions for free, fair and credible elections, much less a country in which basic rights are respected. ● JEHANNE HENRY: Senior researcher, Africa division, Human Rights Watch



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