Khartoum — The Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North faction headed by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) says it has not signed the Declaration of Freedom and Change, because the declaration did not include a number of demands that the movement has with regard to secularity and the identity of Sudan.
Ammar Daldoum, secretary-general of the movement said in an interview with Radio Dabanga to be broadcast today that the movement has sufficiently studied the document after contacts with the Sudanese Professionals Association.
He said the movement asked them to include some clauses that it deems important. "We asked for a paragraph in the declaration to talk about the abolition of Islamic Sharia law and the inclusion of the issue of the right to self-determination in the event of any government's insistence on the application of Islamic law.
'Abolish Sharia law'
He said, "We did not succeed to include the points we raised in the document with the Sudanese Professionals Association and therefore, while we have retained our unlimited support of the Sudanese revolution and also support the leadership of the Sudanese Professionals Association in the uprising, we maintain our demands to face the upcoming government in negotiations, when we will propose these aspects that are not included in the Declaration of Freedom and Change.
He stressed that if the Declaration of Freedom and Change explicitly includes the right of self-determination for all states and peoples of Sudan and the abolition of Islamic law, the movement will certainly sign it.
National Umma Party
In Khartoum, El Sadiq El Mahdi, President of the National Umma Party, said Omar Al Bashir's regime has now three options: "The first option is for the regime to continue to be a loser, uselessly shedding more blood. The second option is to hand over power to a selected military leadership that is qualified to negotiate with representatives of the people to build a new system to achieve peace and democracy. The third option is for the president himself to negotiate with the popular forces to establish a new national and non-exclusionary system.
In a press conference yesterday, El Mahdi said that the best solution is to respond to the demands of the people by the step-down of the regime and its president and achieving the demands called for by the signatories of the Declaration of Freedom and Change.
The Sudanese Professionals Association was formed years ago by groups of medics and lawyers. They have been actively, although quietly, involved in protests against the government's policies in former years, and repeatedly demanded improvement of their work environment in sit-ins and strikes. Many of them have been dismissed and detained for their actions.
When the Sudanese took to the streets in December last year, the leading members of the Sudanese Professionals Association "were happy to have an organised body already to join the protests together with other opposition groups", and called for a big protest march in Khartoum on 25 December, the first of many that led to other protest actions and strikes.
On January 1, the Sudanese Professionals Association secretariat announced the Declaration of Freedom and Justice in a video message, one hour after it was posted on the website of the Sudanese Professionals Association. The declaration was signed by the Sudanese Professionals Association, the Sudan Call forces, opposition parties allied in the National Consensus Forces, and the Unionist Gathering.