“In my many travels to Sudan over the years, I have been inspired by the resilience, courage and vision of civil society leaders and activists,” writes Ambassador Princeton N Lyman (left), the US Special Envoy to South Sudan and Sudan.
“I am impressed by the commitment of these non-partisan Sudanese citizens to advancing the interests of their country through open public consultations on creative proposals to resolve long-standing national problems,” which is why he is especially “concerned that the government has recently been increasingly engaged in a ‘crackdown’ on civil society organizations and leaders,” he writes for Al-Jazeera:
In addition to the recent arrests and closures of NGOs, the government of Sudan has launched a campaign of censorship and reprisal against newspapers critical of the government. This crackdown on civil society, the media and opposition parties worsened last month after the signing of the so-called “New Dawn Charter” between the movements making up the Sudan Revolutionary Front and the non-violent opposition political parties gathered in the National Consensus Forces. The government of Sudan has further arrested six opposition politicians for signing the Charter; five of them remain in arbitrary detention without charge.
“The UN’s Independent Expert recently expressed his regret over the government of Sudan’s failure to respect the fundamental freedoms of its people,” notes Lyman, a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy.
“As my tenure as Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan draws to a close, I regret deeply that peace has not yet been the reward for the people of Sudan who have searched for it so long. It is achievable, however, not by suppression of dissent, but by embracing an open and fruitful dialogue that leads to democracy and inclusiveness for all Sudanese,” he concludes.