18 March 2017

Sudan: 'Sudanese Partners Open to Dialogue On Religious Diversity' - EU Envoy

Khartoum — Jan Figel, Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the European Union, who visited Sudan from the March 14 to 17, says that the exchanges he had during his visit "demonstrated readiness of Sudanese partners to engage in continuous and constructive dialogue on religious diversity in Sudan, Horn of Africa and globally".

In a statement issued today, the EU Delegation to Sudan says that the European Envoy met with members of the National Assembly and the Government including the ministers for Foreign Affairs and Endowments and Guidance. Figel also met representatives of religious, political and civil society organisations. He gave a lecture at the Ahfad University for Women. He visited the National Human Rights Commission and Council of Islamic Fiqh, Nour Mosque, a Coptic Church and the Sufi ceremony in Omdurman.

The visit is to support cooperation in intercultural and interreligious dialogue, and to promote freedom of religion or belief and peaceful coexistence of different communities.

Figel said that the exchanges demonstrated readiness of Sudanese partners to engage in continuous and constructive dialogue on religious diversity in Sudan, Horn of Africa and globally. The Envoy discussed the constitutional amendments and their compliance with international human rights law, highlighting the importance that the legislative framework also reflects these standards. "A fair state must be organised around equal citizenship for all. Diversity enriches while uniformity weakens societies," said Jan Figel.

The Envoy called for the pardoning of the two Sudanese pastors, sentenced along with the released Czech Missionary Peter Jašek. Also, Jan Figel was allowed to visit and meet with Dr Mudawi Ibrahim who is in detention.

Jan Figel announced that he will brief the EU Parliament and other EU institutions about his visit.

As reported by Radio Dabanga on Friday, the Slovakian former European Commissioner discussed issues related to religious freedom and the situation of Christians in particular.

Position of Christians

The chairman of Sudan's Legislation and Justice Committee at the National Assembly, Ahmed El Tijani, reported in a press statement that Figel asked about the demolition of several churches. El Tijani told him that the freedom of belief is sanctioned by the Sudanese constitution, and the state does not impose any religious belief or practice on its citizens. He said the churches were demolished for land-ownership reasons.

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