Berlin — During the Sudan Partnership Conference, co-hosted by Germany, the European Union, the United Nations and Sudan, in Berlin on Thursday, the international community pledged a total of $1.8 billion in support Sudan's economic reforms. Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the donors to press Sudan to prioritise justice and legal reforms as well.
In a joint press release, the co-hosts state that "Sudan is at a historic turning point: On its way to peace and democracy, many challenges lie ahead. To sustain the momentum and make the political and economic transition a success, the High-Level Sudan Partnership Conference, today gathered around 50 countries and international organisations.
"During the conference, the participants took stock of the achievements of the Sudanese transition so far, and discussed the challenges ahead. Building on the progress made by the Transitional Government in putting in place political and economic reforms, a strong political consensus emerged to support Sudan and its transition in building peace, democratic governance and inclusive economic recovery as well as in progressing towards debt relief.
"Participating delegations agreed on a Joint Communiqué, which underlines the necessity of this political partnership and economic support as well as outlines the way forward to support Sudan in its transition.
"To support Sudan's economic reforms and mitigate their social impact on its population, international partners pledged a total of USD 1.8 billion, to which the World Bank committed to providing an additional pre-arrears clearance grant of up to USD 400m. This includes support to improving macro-economic stabilisation and the Sudan Family Support Program, which will provide vital assistance to millions of vulnerable people, direct help to enhance Sudan's capacity to respond to COVID-19, and more generally, humanitarian assistance and development cooperation.
"This Conference marks the start of a process, which will be followed by subsequent engagement by the international community to take stock of the progress made by Sudan in implementing reforms and to allow its partners to adapt their support accordingly."
The need for justice
In advance of the conference, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the donors to press Sudan to prioritise justice, and legal and institutional reforms, even as they focus on the country's pressing economic concerns.
"Human Rights Watch detailed the importance of justice for past crimes and the need for reform in Sudanese law and practice that hinder holding those responsible to account. It urges donors to discuss the expertise and assistance they may have available to support Sudan's efforts to bring accountability for past crimes committed across the country and to press Sudanese authorities to directly engage with the International Criminal Court (ICC) without delay to discuss specific steps toward progress on prosecution of the court's Darfur cases," HRW said in a statement on Tuesday.
The International Crisis Group stated in a briefing on Tuesday that the foreign partners should opt for financing a cash transfer programme to offset price rises following Khartoum's decision in January to lift fuel subsidies. At the same time, the Council of Ministers should introduce new controls to safeguard these funds and begin outreach to build popular support for such changes.
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