On September 13, NOOW partner The Enough Project Senior Advisor Suliman Baldo testified before the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sudan and South Sudan. This inquiry, UK-Sudan Relations – Consequences of Engagement, examined changes in UK engagement with the Government of Sudan, as well as “the drivers of these changes and their likely ramifications.” The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) held this inquiry with the goal of producing “an independent, balanced, and forward-looking review of oral and written evidence to inform the appropriate form of UK-Sudan relations.” The inquiry format allowed government officials, academics, civil society members, and NGOs from the UK, Sudan, and various other countries the opportunity to present written testimony. The APPG requested testimony on four topics: conflict areas, migration and the Khartoum Process, extremism, and humanitarian issues and human rights.
Enough Project Policy Analyst John Hursh prepared the Enough Project’s written testimony, which urged the UK government to maintain a principled and human-rights driven approach towards engaging with the Government of Sudan. The testimony also called for international support for a comprehensive and inclusive peace process and argues that until the Government of Sudan feels pressure to participate in these peace processes in good faith, peace will remain illusory. As noted in the Enough Project testimony: “The Government of Sudan has succeeded in undermining and manipulating numerous peace processes because it faces little pressure to act in good faith during these processes and subsequent negotiations.”
Although conventional peacemaking and diplomatic efforts have not ended conflict in Sudan, a reinvigorated diplomatic engagement coupled with targeted financial pressures could move the Government of Sudan to make meaningful concessions and to reach a lasting peace with its armed and political opposition. This approach is especially promising as the Sudanese economy continues to falter due to the government’s mismanagement, thereby increasing the regime’s vulnerability to these pressures. Thus, in its written testimony, the Enough Project states:
[I]ncreasing financial pressure on regime elites and key government officials can supply this pressure, adding the missing leverage to move the government to enter negotiations with the aim of compromising to reach peaceful solutions to the country’s several crises, rather than undermining these processes and continuing conflict, serious human rights abuses, and a repressive society that tolerates little dissent.
Enough Project Senior Advisor Suliman Baldo also presented written testimony, arguing “Sudan’s instability and worsening economic crisis are the direct results of the government’s expensive and brutal wars against its own citizens, state-enshrined grand corruption, and ill-advised economic policies.” Baldo called on the UK to use its leverage with the Government of Sudan to press for “comprehensive and just political solutions for Sudan’s protracted conflicts and chronic political crisis.” He also called for the UK to pressure Khartoum to address corruption and to invest more of its resources towards productive economic sectors rather than “its bloated military and tribal militia forces.” Finally, Baldo noted that the Government of Sudan now relies on tribal militias to combat irregular migration, raising serious risks of international donors assisting these abusive militias through their support of Sudan’s migration containment practices.