Sudan Military and Civilian Protesters Sign Constitution; No Mention of Religious Freedom

08/05/2019 Sudan (International Christian Concern) – Sudan has been a military dictatorship for more than 30 years, as the head of state was President Omar al-Bashir, a general who helped overthrow the previous government in the late 1980s. He then led a ruthless and bloody regime until April of this year, when he was ousted during an overnight coup.  Since then, protesters and military leaders have been in talks about a transition to a civilian led government. On Sunday, August 4, Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) and Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), initialed a constitutional agreement that could be the start of democracy.

This move follows after months of crackdowns on protesters that have left more than 100 people dead. Following pressure from the US, Egyptian, Saudi and other governments, the TMC started working to compromise with the protesters. Though the constitution does include many new guarantees for rights, there is a glaring hole: it does not mention religious freedom.

Sudan has, since 2011, fully been guided as a government and a country by Sharia law. Though this does not mean outright persecution of other religious groups, it does set them as second class citizens, and has been used as a way for the government to justify persecution. The Rapid Security Forces in Sudan have long arrested pastors, Christians, and other minorities who gather to worship because they are seen as threats to security. Due to the guidance of Sharia in Sudan, Bibles have been stopped at ports for years, and proselytizing has been illegal. Without a guarantee added to the constitution for religious freedom for all, Christians may continue to suffer as second class citizens in Sudan despite democracy growing.

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