September 16, 2019

Situation in Sudan

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Specialized: United Nations Security Council

Topic: Situation in Sudan

Since 2011, the Republic of the Sudan has been in a state of economic turmoil, edging towards a collapse. As a consequence of the secession of South Sudan in 2011, the Republic of Sudan lost three quarters of its oil production. This loss precipitated political turmoil, which after nearly a decade resulted in a military coup d’état and the ouster of then-President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. The Bashir administration had implemented emergency economic measures, cutting subsidies down to living essentials, which triggered a series of widespread protests that drove the army to intervene. A Transitional Military Council (TMC) then assumed control of the government, and was met with demands for a civilian government by the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a coalition of civilian organizations which have been staging acts of civil disobedience in the pursuit of a civilian-led government, free of the influence of the previous president.

Though the terms for the formation of a joint military and civilian transitional government have been agreed upon, the negotiations between the TMC and FFC have been fraught with tension and tragedy. The most salient example is the June 3rd massacre of protesters by TMC forces, which was met with international condemnation. Currently, the military and civilian constituents have agreed to an approximately three-year transition period, during which military and civilian representatives will share governing authority. A sovereign council, cabinet, and legislative body will be comprised of military and civilian nominees, a prime minister will be elected by the pro-democracy movement, ministers of defense and interior will be elected by the military, and other positions will similarly be split between pro-democracy and military representatives. This governing body will pave the way for democratic elections at the end of the transitional period.

The political situation in Sudan, having been precipitated by years of economic and domestic turmoil, is still fragile. The economic future of Sudan in part depends on its relationships with international bodies, which have been tenuous. Heavy sanctions from abroad have hampered its ability to grow economically, and domestic military conflicts in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile regions, which have displaced millions, continue to raise questions regarding human rights abuses. International support to the region, in terms of both humanitarian aid and peacekeeper presence, remains minimal, with Sudanese officials themselves calling for the withdrawal of peacekeeping forces by 2020. Intermittent armed clashes in the South Kordofan, Darfur, and Blue Nile regions remain a constant threat to human rights and political stability in the country. The effects of these domestic crises ripple outward into challenges for Sudan on the international stage, as it attempts to recover economically in the face of damaged relations with the African Union (following the June 3rd massacre), and broader international bodies. Any plan for resolving the Sudan crisis must address all of these multifarious concerns.

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