Since independence, Sudan has undergone a number of national peace agreements, some of which were observed and honored for short periods, others which were bypassed and dishonored. The net result of broken agreements has driven the country into deep conflict, leading to the secession of South Sudan in 2011, and creating a crisis which still threatens the country with further violence and dismemberment. Today, as never before, the country stands at a crossroads, and calls for change are coming from all quarters, even from inside the regime itself. Change seems to be the catchword for all actors, including the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), the armed groups of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), traditional opposition political parties, youth groups and the international community.
While this is clearly the time for Sudan to embark on a genuine internal dialogue and reform process that leads to a broad-based, democratic government and meaningful reconciliation among Sudanese, there is no consensus on the direction change should take: how far, how inclusive, how substantive? Agreeing on and developing a Shared Dialogue Framework for national dialogue is essential if key issues and modalities for negotiations, and a mechanism to oversee the overall process, are to be laid out to ensure a successful start of a process.
In a new report authored by the University of Khartoum’s Atta El-Hassan El-Battahani, National Dialogue in Sudan: Past Experiences and Current Challenges, the Sudan Democracy First Group considers the successes and failures of past national dialogue and peace processes in Sudan. In identifying the key lessons learned from these past processes, the report outlines prospects, obstacles, and challenges to undertaking a genuine, inclusive and accountable national dialogue in the current context, and provides options and recommendations for overcoming those challenges in order to address the root causes of Sudan’s crisis.
Full Report PDF