Sudan Confirms Religious Freedom with Nuba Mountains Rebels


First agreed between SPLM-N rebel group and civilian prime minister, peace deal provision to separate religion and state gets cemented with military signature.

Sudan has taken another step toward religious freedom.

This time, it is a confirmation.

On Sunday, the joint military-civilian Sovereign Council signed a peace agreement with the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), based in the Nuba Mountains, where there is a significant Christian population.

“Freedom of belief and religious practices and worship shall be guaranteed to all Sudanese people,” stated the Declaration of Principles, “by separating the identities of culture, religion, ethnicity, and religion from the state.”

Prior to the revolution which overthrew 30-year dictator Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, Sudan was governed by sharia law. It also imposed an Arab identity on its multiethnic population, contributing to longstanding conflict in Darfur.

The region’s Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), led by Abdel Wahed el-Nur, is now the last remaining rebel holdout.

Three other armed groups signed a peace deal last September. In February, these were integrated into an expanded Sovereign Council and afforded places in the still to be formed parliament.

Abdelaziz al-Hilu, leader of the SPLM-N, refused to join without a religious freedom guarantee. But he did commit himself to peace, and won a promise from the civilian prime minister, Abdullah Hamdok, that Sudan’s constitution would separate religion and state.

The three rebel factions, however, signed their agreements with General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sovereign Council.

“This is an excellent step forward for comprehensive peace in the country,” said Ezekiel Kondo, Anglican archbishop of Sudan. “And of religious freedom, having the general [Burhan] sign is confirmation.”

Kondo previously told …

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