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Promoting Democracy in Sudan

To improve the overall conditions of the Sudanese state, and to realize the potential of your country, democracy must be promoted and encouraged. The ultimate goal of this proposal is to promote democracy and human rights for the citizens of Sudan. There are many facets of the current Sudanese government and economy that could be improved by the implementation of good governance. Good governance promotes democratic ideals and with democracy comes civil liberties, which have been long removed, from the people of Sudan.

The intention of this policy brief is to provide realistic suggestions to improve economic policies, political processes, judicial processes, national policies, security, and international relations through the means of good governance. The civil war has been going on since Sudan’s independence from Britain in 1956, with the exception of years 1972-1983, when the southern Darfur region of Sudan was autonomous. Unfortunately, under British rule Sudan had been divided between the north and the south, the borders were literally closed.

This physical barrier between the two groups seemed to polarize them even more and the civil war in Sudan was on its way after their independence from Britain. Southern Sudanese are predominately non-Arabic and non-Muslim, creating a clash with the Islamic government of Sudan. British occupation implemented an indirect ruling system in Sudan; allowing local governments to distribute powers, rather than having a strong federal system. Powers were scattered throughout Sudan, between religious leaders and village leaders.

This system of governance was introduced to them by the British and was cause for many disagreements. The lack of education and experience possessed by the national leaders of Sudan hurt the development of democratic values and the overall conditions of Sudan. Some historians and political thinkers believe the civil war in Sudan to be explained partly by foreign oil companies’ explorations and developments throughout much of the southern region.

It seems that the Sudan People’s Liberation Army became the armed opposition group that it is today because they had to defend their territory in the south. One of the reasons Sudan People’s Liberation Army began their violent campaign was because Chevron was going to make a pipeline from the southern region of Sudan, connecting to the ports along the northern border in 1984. The concerns of the global economy dominate political decision-making in Sudan, at the expense of the poor.

There is a link between human rights violations, from the Sudanese armed forces and various government aided militias, and foreign oil companies’ involvements. The government forcibly moves groups of villagers to allow oil companies the rights to extract oil. Foreign oil companies expect the government’s security forces to protect the oil fields and their staff from angry villagers and civilians. Oil companies need to be held responsible for creating hostile environments for innocent civilians, whose human rights are violated frequently by the government and foreign corporations.

Amnesty international provides suggestions to oil companies about how to effectively ensure the rights of citizens in regions being explored. Amnesty International encourages corporate accountability; although, there is a problem with both the government of Sudan and the foreign oil companies; neither group seems concerned about the well being of civilians. Militias and private security forces have hired children to protect the oil fields in Sudan, children need to be in school. The Sudanese Liberation movement is a violent struggle in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The centralized nature of the current government in Sudan does not protect citizens or provide many benefits to those citizens who live outside the capital, Khartoum. In February of 2003, the Sudan Liberation Army attacked government troops at the airport of Al-Fasher, the capital of the North Darfur state. The Sudan Liberation Army claimed this attack was their response to a number of disagreements they have with the current government of Sudan and the lack of leadership in their country.

The Sudan Liberation Army expanded on this by stating three distinct complaints: the government has failed to protect citizens from Nomadic groups that have attacked villages in the Darfur region; the economy in the Darfur region has also been ignored by the government, resulting in poverty and worse conditions than in other regions of the country; marginalization was the third complaint, confining Darfur citizens to the lower classes and poor social standings. Many victims of the ongoing acts of violence are innocent citizens who are bombed by the government of Sudan.

The government forces have bombed entire villages of people in the Darfur region; usually when they suspect a village of harboring Sudan Liberation forces. Many civilian casualties have resulted from the inhumane actions of both the Sudanese government and the Sudan Liberation Army. Many people have fled the country altogether because of the war or drought. Chad has become home to many Sudanese refugees who are seeking a more peaceful place to live. This conflict needs to be addressed in a more diplomatic way by the Sudanese government.

Changes in the governance of the region are necessary to end this conflict for good. Hopefully, the leadership of the Sudanese state will recognize the need to end this violent conflict. The longstanding civil war in Sudan has recently improved after the signing of the cease-fire agreement, however there is much work left to do in order to permanently and peacefully resolve this situation. By separating the Islam religion from politics, religious freedom would benefit many people in the country. The civil war could end if religious freedom and tolerance were achieved in Sudan.

The civil war and the predominately Islamic-controlled government have alienated the non-Muslim, non-Arab citizens in the Southern regions of Sudan. Putting an end to the longest war in the world should be a priority of the government. The civil war must be stopped in order to provide peace and representation for all citizens. This would also be easier with the separation of the Islamic religion from politics in the country. It is speculated that religion lies at the heart of the disagreements fueling the civil war, this in only partly true.

The civil war has been going on for much too long; it painfully and inefficiently divides the country into two. Unwanted involvement from neighboring countries would subside if there were a more effective national effort at ending the war peacefully. 2 million people have been killed as a result of this war, enough blood has been shed, and the war needs to peacefully end. International relations, political groups, legal system, and information media are discussed in this article. Since the 1989 military coup, the US terminated all economic aid to Sudan.

Prior to the coup, the US had maintained strong relations with Sudan. The US still provided citizens of Sudan with aid. Many citizens have been thrown out of their villages and homes and necessitated humanitarian aid. The United States Agency for International Development provided US funded aid to victims of the devastation of the ongoing civil war and droughts. The Bashir presidency did not look so kindly on these US actions. The government began confiscating aid in Khartoum and distributing it to Sudanese armed forces.

There were also French and British humanitarian organizations, which were providing aid that was being intercepted. Then the US, France, and Britain began publicly criticizing the nature of the Sudanese government. In 1991, Sudan sided with Iraq in the Persian Gulf War; the US consequently evacuated its embassy in Khartoum. This article discusses US – Sudanese relations in the more recent past. The US has been worried about terrorist activity for many years. Khartoum has been the home of Osama Bin Laden as well as other dangerous terrorists.

Sudan has Islamic links to terrorism. In 1993 the US designated Sudan as a “state sponsor of terrorism. ” In 1997, the US imposed economic, trade, and financial sanctions against Sudan. In 1998, East Africa embassy bombings called for yet another diplomatic pull out. The US responded by sending cruise missiles into Khartoum. No new ambassadors have been assigned there since. In May of 2000, Sudan has also taken new approaches to reducing terrorism. However, their efforts have fallen short and the United States continues designate Sudan as a state that sponsors terrorism.

Democracy is a developing and expanding type of governance, in the last thirty years democratic societies have emerged almost everywhere. “Good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development” – Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations. Good governance is important not only in individual countries but also in the international community. Since the 1970’s, democracy has become a much more widespread form of government, currently two-thirds of the world’s population lives in democratic societies. Protecting human rights is an important aspect of democracy.

Protecting the rights of citizens is an ideal that needs to be incorporated into many MENA regimes. Legal and justice systems are not objective or independent in many areas of the world; other branches of the government are able to infringe on the powers of the justice system. Citizens lack knowledge of their basic rights, if they are provided any at all. Police also lack knowledge of laws, boundaries, duties, and responsibilities. Globalization has left many countries at a disadvantage because their economic policies are dated and cooperation efforts are not typically successful.

There are many conflicts in ideology between the private sector leadership and the public sector leadership in MENA countries. Trade policies need to be revised to stop protectionism. Protectionism hinders a countries ability to develop and thrive economically but allows oppressive regimes to stay in power. There are many services offered by the United Nations Development Programme that could benefit Sudan. The UNDP supports “good governance. ” The UNDP network of 132 countries works towards promoting democracy and improving human rights.

The UNDP focuses on strengthening governing institutions, such as legislatures, judiciaries, and electoral bodies. They also support decentralization of governments and allocating local resources in a more equitable fashion. Reducing poverty is also a concern. A main function for the UNDP, is providing timely and accurate data to countries requesting assistance in creating new policies. The UNDP wants its members to benefit from the wealth of knowledge they possess and to learn how to create a strong international community.

The Millennium Declaration of the United Nations in the year 2000 is committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015. The goals of the Millennium Development Goals are: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality rates; improving maternal health; combatting HIV/AIDs, malaria, and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; developing a global partnership for development. My main concern is to define the concept of good governance.

The UNDP definition of good governance: “the exercise of economic, political, and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. It compromises mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences. ” —-(From the UNDP paper: Governance for Sustainable Human Development, p. 2-3. ) The World Bank definition of governance: “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development. page 5 of Abdellatif article). The elements of Good Governance (as defined by the UNDP report: Governance for sustainable human development): participation; rule of law; transparency; responsiveness; consensus orientation; equity; effectiveness and efficiency; accountability; and strategic visions. Good governance can be a hard practice to find in the Arab world. The empowerment of women is being advocated by many international organizations, along with civil societies lacking violence. This article focuses on Arab countries, more specifically, how governance could be improved in these regions.

The article also provides some model Arab countries, such as Morocco and Bahrain whose recent reforms have been helping them achieve better governance. The levels of civil and political liberties have been evaluated on the Freedom House scale; which makes the claim that Arab regions score the poorest out of any other type of governments. In the early 1990’s most of the world experienced higher levels of freedom scores, however Arab countries tended to decline, with few exceptions. “Arab countries, on average, continued to evince the lowest levels of freedom among the world regions compared” (AHDR 2003, page 29).

Out of the ten worst freedom scores in countries throughout the world, five were Arab. In addition to Bahrain and Morocco being commended on their strives towards more democratic governance, Sudan was also mentioned since the President is now permitting “opposition parties to engage in political activity” as long as it remains peaceful (AHDR 2003, page 30). The international community has seen this as a positive change in Sudan. This new policy exposes Sudan’s potential to improve the governance and to develop in a more democratic manner. The Nile River Basin could benefit from many of the economic remedies offered by the IMF.

Agriculture and subsistence farming are good ways to help the poor. Unfair laws threaten to hurt the poor more so than anyone else. By creating a hierarchy of farmers and landowners, a more stable economy could be created by the rural poor. This could create a competitive market and help reduce inflation. The government of Sudan should encourage economic development through the liberalization of economic policies and laws. New technologies could also help create a stronger economy, in the area of irrigation and farming. Jump start the economy and begin reaping the benefits of free trade.

Educating the poor would also help develop the economy and agricultural industry. Give people the right to land and water and they will begin to take care of themselves. Basic elements of the infrastructure (transportation, communication) could be improved with a more educated country. The population of the world is expected to increase by 2 billion people in the coming 30 years. This growth is expected to occur in the developing nations of the world. If governance is not improved upon in this region, Sudan may not be a safe or prosperous place to live in the future either.

Threats of famine are not preposterous; running out of food is a valid concern for certain nations. Poverty is also already rampant in these developing nations, what is going to happen when there are millions more people without jobs. Pollution also threatens the well being of the future. Air, water, and land have become devastated in many areas of the world; ecological conservation measures must be adopted and enforced to preserve the world for generations to come. There is also poor health care in developing nations and lacking preventive care.

The healthcare industry has made much advancement in surgery technologies and pharmaceuticals; developing countries need to update their healthcare systems. Education needs to be available to the masses, even in developing countries. Better governance, healthcare, ecology practices, education agendas (independent from Religious studies, practical/pragmatic education, basic skills and knowledge), and economic policies are necessary to bring developing countries up to par for the coming surge in population. Improving democracy could be an easy transition by providing a fair voting system, a fair party system, and equity in representation.

Citizens and foreign investors would both favor a stable governmental process that relies on fair elections. Reevaluation of the current voting system is necessary to provide a greater sense of liberty and equality for citizens. The fact that Sudan currently holds elections shows that it has the ability and desire to have a fairly elected government by its peoples. After a fairly elected government has been elected, it is important that a Constitution is drafted or revised in order to provide protection for the citizens of Sudan, a fair judicial system, and representation for the citizens.

A constitution would also provide stability for the country; an outline of how the government works and the goals and values of the state would encourage foreign investment. Government officials and citizens alike would benefit from the promotion of democracy. Improving the economy goes hand in hand with democratic ideals. The creation of a stronger economy from foreign investment, national investment, and foreign aid is achievable. Countries that provide information to everyone, citizens, officials, and foreigners, tend to see greater development in their economies.

This is true because foreign investment firms are skittish when making large ventures in foreign markets. Information that should be available to everyone includes the progression of the Civil War, elections, political parties, foreign affairs, justice (punishments included), the judicial process, the state of the national bank, and pending government activities and initiatives. Economic development and foreign aid would benefit the country of Sudan; foreign aid and economic development from foreign investors increase with the prevalence of information.

The amount of information the government of Sudan is willing to share with the public is vital to improving their economy and attract investment. The political wisdom of switching to democracy is the political returns offered by a democratic government. Political favors from the United States and the international community could be expected if you were to change the government to democracy. By democratizing Sudan, it will consequently become modernized. Encourage the wealthy individuals of your country to invest in the Sudanese economy.

The stock market, labor force, and tax revenues would benefit the government, wealthy individuals, and working families. Foreign direct investment would follow these actions and benefit the country of Sudan. A stronger economy would provide tax revenues to strengthen the government and the benefits provided to your citizens. There is much land to develop and cities to improve. There is the potential for more money for everyone. Increased equity and equality will be the means of achieving a stronger economy and stable, informative governance. Religious oppression needs to end to attract foreign monies.

This policy brief is intended to promote the value of a more democratic Sudan through good governance and effective policymaking. Ending the civil war, by allowing religious freedom, decentralizing the government, and maintaining fair elections would be an improvement for most citizens of Sudan. The creation of a revised constitution would also provide many benefits to the country of Sudan as a whole. These suggestions for improving Sudan are based on a desire to see the country succeed in international communities and provide equal benefits to its citizens.

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