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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Sudan: Kampala Declaration

Sudan: Kampala Declaration
Date distributed (ymd): 000724
Document reposted by APIC

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Region: East Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+ +security/peace+ +gender/women+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains excerpts from the declaration of the Conference on Human Rights, Democracy and Development in Sudan, held in Kampala, 17-20 July 2000. The full text can be found at:

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Distributed by Sudan Infonet: An information and education service of the Sudan Working Group -- USA
Web Site:

Human Rights, Democracy and Development in the Transition in Sudan

Kampala, Uganda, 17-20 July 2000

Final Communique

Second Kampala Declaration on Human Rights, Democracy and Development in Sudan

[Excerpts only; for full text see]


Convened by the Committee of the Civil Project in Sudan and hosted by the Pan African Movement, representatives of Sudanese civil society and the democratic political forces met together in Kampala, Uganda, to discuss the challenges of human rights, democracy and development in the coming transition to peace in Sudan.

The Conference welcomed strong contingents of participants from inside Sudan, including Khartoum and areas controlled by the National Democratic Alliance and Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army. In particular the Conference welcomed participants from Khartoum for the first time, and saluted their courage and commitment to human rights and democracy under extremely difficult circumstances Their views, expressed in an open and free forum after so many years of enforced silence, carried great weight in the Conference proceedings.

Participants expressed their views in total frankness. No topic was a forbidden zone. The desire to reach consensus was reflected in the success of the Conference on reaching agreement on even the most controversial subjects. Women participants were active in all sessions.

The Conference welcomed messages of support from some leaders of the Sudanese opposition who were unable to attend the Conference in person.

After four days of fruitful and extensive deliberation concerning human rights, democracy, development, civil society and peace in Sudan, the Conference adopted the following resolutions:

I. Reaffirmation of Kampala Declaration

The Conference reaffirmed the February 1999 Kampala Declaration on Human Rights in Sudan, especially reaffirming the importance of:

  1. Adherence to international treaties and conventions of human rights as the foundation for human rights and democracy in Sudan.
  2. The vital necessity of a process of full participation and democratic consultation in building a new democratic constitution for Sudan.
  3. The need for full respect for freedom of expression.
  4. Respect for women's rights as defined in international human rights conventions and protocols, should be stated in the new democratic constitution, and the mandate given to the Committee of the Civil Project to organise the Sudanese National Women's Convention.
  5. The importance of full judicial accountability for past human rights abuses.
  6. The necessity for wide-ranging judicial and legal reform.
  7. Self-determination as a basic right for all Sudanese peoples.

II. Civil Society

The Conference applauded the efforts of Sudanese civil society forces inside Sudan, under the onslaught of the current government of Sudan, including incessant harassment, intimidation, repression, torture and killing to defend human rights and strive for democracy. The Conference also saluted the members of the democratic opposition inside Sudan and their struggle for a democratic government.

The Conference called upon the transitional government to do the following:

  1. Cancel all laws that contradict basic rights in a way that ensures full rights for expression and association as well as women's basic rights.
  2. Undertake radical transformation in the legal and judicial structures and amend laws in a way that enshrines the values of justice, equality and the rule of law and independence of the judiciary.
  3. Abrogate any laws that are contrary to freedom of association, including the Voluntary Work Act 1999.
  4. Establish an independent human rights commission or high council for civil society issues within the structure of the government to ensure the promotion of civil society.

Meanwhile, under the current circumstances, the Conference called for:

5. NDA, other democratic opposition parties and all civil society organisations outside Sudan to mobilise various material and human resources for enhancing and developing civil society inside Sudan with special attentions to the traditional sector.

6. Human rights activists, organisations and civil society should coordinate themselves in the collection and documentation of all evidence regarding human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed by governments and armed opposition forces since independence, to ensure that all responsible individuals and institutions are appropriately prosecuted. ...

7. Civil society in all parts of Sudan, especially women, youth and others, should put pressure on the current Sudan Government to stop human rights violations, including aerial bombardment, in the war zones of Sudan.

III. Women's Rights

The Conference benefited from strong and vigorous contributions from women participants, from both political parties and civil society. The Conference noted the suffering of women in Sudan, South, East, West and North, on account of war, dictatorship and discriminatory, extremist laws and policies. The Conference reaffirmed the resolutions of Kampala 1 with regard to the importance of women's rights. In particular, the Conference resolved that:

  1. A future transitional government should cancel any laws and policies that are incompatible with the rights of women as enshrined in international human rights conventions.
  2. All political parties should ensure adequate representation of women at all levels including the highest. ...

IV. Freedom of Association

The Conference affirmed and called upon the future transitional government to respect the following:

  1. Freedom of association is a basic human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. The right to form political parties, trades unions and civil society organisations, is a fundamental right and a basic component of democracy in Sudan. ...

V. Religion and the State

The Conference unanimously and emphatically affirmed that religion must be separate from the state. Any attempt to build a religious state in Sudan can only result in the perpetuation of war, human rights abuses and the division of the country. Specifically, the conference affirmed that:

  1. Sudan is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic country in which it is vitally important to ensure freedom of conscience and tolerance of all religions. The basis for rights in Sudan must be citizenship alone, not adherence to any religion. ...

VI. Disarmament and Demobilisation

The Conference discussed the need for disarmament and demobilisation following the achievement of a comprehensive peace settlement in Sudan. The Conference was aware of the grave threat to human rights, democracy, development and peace that is posed by the militarisation of Sudan under the current government. Conference participants were deeply concerned by the proliferation of weapons in Sudan, and the multiplication of armed groups including militias and security forces. The Conference resolved that:

  1. The use of child soldiers and the forcible recruitment of youth and students, are an abuse of fundamental human rights. ...
  2. Disarmament and demobilisation should be governed by the provisions of a comprehensive peace settlement that will hopefully be in place when the transitional government comes to power.
  3. It will be important to 'demilitarise the mind' and create a culture of peace: i.e., remove militarism from the wider Sudanese culture, ensuring that there is a professional military force under civilian control. ...

VII. Self-Determination

The Conference affirmed that Sudan is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural country and that it is vitally important to ensure equality and respect for all nationalities, cultures and religions in the country. Participants in the Conference, who hailed from every corner of Sudan, stressed the importance of the devolution of power to the regions in a genuine federal system or comparable arrangement that empowers the disparate peoples of Sudan, to enable them to protect their traditions and cultures.

Specifically, the Conference resolved that:

  1. Self-determination is a basic right for all peoples.
  2. There is a political consensus among all Sudanese parties, that the people of Southern Sudan shall exercise the right of self-determination before the expiry of the interim period.
  3. The provisions in the Asmara Declaration (Article 7.3) relating to the right of self-determination of the marginalised peoples of the Nuba and Southern Blue Nile, require further elaboration in order to ensure that their rights are fully recognised.
  4. The transitional period should be an opportunity in which a democratic government can address and redress the structural and long-standing grievances that have divided the Sudanese people.

VIII. The Right to Food and Freedom from Famine

The Conference stressed that the right to food is a basic human right, and all Sudanese should be able to live without fear of famine. Participants agreed that famine is not only the outcome of adverse natural factors, but that political factors play an important role. Among the factors creating famine are actions by the current government including aerial bombardment, forced displacement and bans on humanitarian relief flights. Famines resulting from political incompetence and deliberate military action are crimes against humanity and their perpetrators should be prosecuted.

IX. Refugees, Exiles, Expatriates and Internally Displaced Persons

The Conference stressed the importance of addressing the wide range of issues that arise concerning Sudanese refugees, exiles, expatriates and internally displaced persons. ...

Concerning the future transition, the Conference agreed that:

  1. The problems of refugees, exiles, expatriates and IDPs can be resolved only on the basis of addressing the root causes of the problem, specifically the ongoing war and human rights violations, and impoverishment of the Sudanese people.
  2. The atrocities inflicted upon IDPs by the current government are completely unacceptable and any transitional government should ensure full respect for the rights of displaced persons including abolition of all relevant unjust laws. ...

X. Land Rights

The Conference affirmed that the special claims of the local inhabitants of marginalised areas to their land and other natural resources need special consideration and protection. However, the natural resources of Sudan belong to all Sudanese. Unequal and exploitative relations between traditional farmers and commercial farmers and landowners have been one of the factors in creating conflict, impoverishment and environmental crisis in Sudan, and there needs to be attention to the question of reforming land tenure to protect small-holder farmers and pastoralists, with particular attention to the rights of women. ...

Citizens adversely affected by oil development should be entitled to a just compensation during the transitional period. In the meantime the Conference called upon multinational companies exploiting oil in Sudan to suspend their operations with immediate effect and wait for a democratic government in Sudan with which they shall enter into new agreements taking into account the rights of the people. ...

XI. Economic Planning Strategies and Social and Economic Rights


The Conference, having taken note of the miserable and deteriorating economic conditions of the Sudanese people, strongly condemned the current government for having destroyed available economic resources and having created an unequal society. All foreign companies, including particularly international oil companies, should make accessible the details of their contracts with the government, especially as regards security arrangements and inputs, both financial and non-financial, to government forces and militias operating in oil development areas. ...

XII. Peace

The Conference discussed the different peace activities and processes in Sudan. The Conference noted the onerous responsibility facing the NDA's Committee for Comprehensive Political Settlement Initiatives, and especially recognised the challenge of merging the Libyan-Egyptian initiative with the IGAD peace process. In particular:

  1. The Conference stressed the importance of a comprehensive and just peace for Sudan and rejected incomplete or partial agreements that do not resolve the enduring causes of the war and address the demand for human rights, democracy and equitable sustainable development. If the current war is to be the last in Sudan's history, it is imperative that the war is resolved in a manner that ensures that the legitimate demands of all of Sudan's peoples are met, and the rights of all are respected.
  2. The Conference welcomed the opportunity for open and constructive dialogue between the democratic political forces in Sudan and civil society organisations
  3. In this regard, the Conference asserted that the NDA's Asmara Declaration (excepting articles 5 and 7.3) and the IGAD Declaration of Principles form the foundation for the achievement of peace in Sudan. The Conference called upon all democratic forces in Sudan to ensure that these principles remain the basis for a comprehensive and lasting settlement.
  4. The Conference strongly supported the 'People to People' peace process under the aegis of the New Sudan Council of Churches and other civil society groups in Southern Sudan, as embodied in the Wunlit Covenant and Resolutions and Liliir Covenant. The Conference also endorsed the extension of 'People to People' peace processes to cover the whole of the South and, where and when feasible, to the interface zone between South and North Sudan and within North Sudan.
  5. The Conference welcomed the 'Engendering the Peace' process and applauded the inclusion of women in all aspects of peace processes and the struggle for, and sustainability of, a just and comprehensive peace.
  6. The Conference urged that civil society should be part and parcel of the peace process. ...


The Conference on Human Rights, Democracy and Development in the Transition in Sudan was a landmark and a success. The discussion, debate and recommendations were wide-ranging, an accurate reflection of the realities of Sudan. The spirit of the Conference was truly democratic and pluralistic.

The Conference was an historic opportunity in which Sudanese civil society met with itself and with the leadership of the democratic opposition in order to join forces in shaping the future of the country and ensuring that, in a future transition, the opportunity to achieve a just peace, democracy, development and human rights is taken and not squandered.

It is the responsibility of Sudanese civil society to continue dialogue within itself and with the democratic political forces in Sudan to help achieve this Declaration. Information flow and networking among civil society and political forces is of crucial importance.

The Conference called upon the Committee of the Civil Project to continue with the Kampala Forum.

The Conference thanks the people and Government of Uganda for their welcome and the Pan African Movement for hosting this Conference, and the Committee of the Civil Project in Sudan for preparing and organising the Conference, and the donors for funding it.

The Conference on Human Rights, Democracy and Development in the Transition in Sudan

Kampala, Uganda 21 July 2000

The Conference was attended by the following:

Civil society organisations

Beja Relief Organisation
Centre for Documentation and Advocacy
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Civil Society Support Programme
Economic Society of New Sudan
General Council of Trade Union Federations
Horn of Africa Centre for Development and Democracy
International Nuba Coordination Centre
Al Khartoum Newspaper
National Women's Democratic Alliance
New Sudan Council of Churches
New Sudan Indigenous NGOs Network
New Sudan Women's Association
New Sudan Women's Federation
New Sudan Youth Association
Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad
Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organisation
South Sudan Law Society
Sudan African Women in Action
Sudanese Committee Against the Violations of Women, Youth and Students' Rights
Sudan Centre for the Study of Human Rights
Sudan Human Rights Association
Sudan Human Rights Group
Sudan Human Rights Organisation
Sudan Human Rights Studies Centre
Sudan Journalists' Union
Sudan Legal Aid Consultancy Centre
Sudanese Martyrs' Families Organisation
Sudanese Victims of Torture Group
Sudanese Women Crying out for AIDS
Sudan Women's Association in Nairobi
Sudan Women's Peace Initiators
Sudan Women's Union
Sudan Women's Voice for Peace
Sudanese Writers' Union
Widows, Orphans, Disabled Rehabilitation Association of the New Sudan (WODRANS)

Political forces

Beja Congress
Communist Party of Sudan
Democratic Forces Front (JAD)
Democratic Unionist Party
Haq Legitimate Command
National Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy
Sudan Federal Democratic Alliance
Sudan National Alliance/Sudan Alliance Forces
Sudan National Party
Sudan People's Liberation Movement
Umma Party
Union of Sudan African Parties


Human rights activists
Elected members of parliament from the last democratic parliament in Sudan (5)
Action of Churches Together
Human Rights Watch
Justice Africa
National Democratic Alliance (Khartoum)
National Democratic Alliance Legal Secretariat
National Democratic Alliance Committee for Comprehensive Political Solutions Initiatives
Pan African Development Education and Advocacy Programme Pan African Movement
Sudan Focal Point

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC provides accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and international policies toward Africa that advance economic, political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.

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