Academia participating in the Constitution
for a permanent constitution which has started
following Sudan’s independence in
1956 has never been so imperative, given
the current political transition of the
country characterized by the recent secession
of the South and the launch of the Second
A nation’s constitution articulates
principles, rules and processes that define
the institutions of the State, their duties
and functions, the relationship between
such bodies and the citizens as well as
the rights and duties of citizenship itself.
That is why the nation’s constitution
is upheld as the highest and most supreme
law in any given country.
In Sudan, the Interim
National Constitution 2005 will continue
to be enforced until replaced by a new constitution
as stipulated in Article 226 (9) thereof:
“[t]his Constitution shall govern
the Interim Period, subject to any amendment
or review in accordance with Article 224
herein and shall continue in force until
a permanent constitution is adopted. ”
UNDP considers national ownership, inclusiveness,
participation and transparency as key elements
to the process of constitution-making in
any country and as central aspects of democratic
transitions and state-building in general.
To that effect, UNDP Sudan has entered into
a partnership with the Ministry of Justice
to organize a series of forums on constitution-making
in the 15 states of Sudan.
The main objective of these fora is to ensure
broad public participation in the constitution-making
process. The term Constitution -making covers
both the process of drafting of a new constitution,
or reforms made to an existing constitution.
Through these consultative workshops, the
constitution becomes more likely to better
reflect the needs and demands of the nation’s
citizens as a whole and therefore is more
likely to gain their respect and support.
The first round of fora
started in October 2011, were organized
in the Red Sea and Kassala, Gedarif, River
Nile and Northern States. The second round
of of were organized in Algaziera, Sinnar
and White Nile States from 14 to 20 December
2011. In the third round the forums will
be conducted in Darfur States as follows:
South Darfur, North Darfur and West Darfur
States on 7-8, 11-12 and 15-16 January 2012
consecutively. The remaining States will
be covered before mid-February as scheduled.
Sudanese representing a wide spectrum of
political and social opinions participated
in the workshops, including politicians,
members of the judiciary, students, academics,
traditional authorities, law enforcement
personnel and civil society representatives.
A number of papers were presented during
the workshops by Sudanese legal experts.
Participants stressed the importance of
legal reforms in Sudan (harmonization of
national laws with the constitution), the
need for separation of powers, federalism,
nationality issues, civil services, the
rights of minorities, having Sharia law
as a source of legislation, and the participation
of women in the constitution-making process.
Presenters are national experts in constitutionalism,
human rights and federalism. The papers
focused on main four themes; namely: constitutionalism
and Sudan historical constitutional developments,
public participation and human rights aspects
in the constitution, features of the constitution
with focus on federalism and democracy,
and standards of the constitution-making
with reflections on similar experiences.
In conclusion, these forums helped draw
attention of the public to their role in
the constitution-making processes, and it
is hoped that decision makers take into
their consideration the needs of the public
and reflect them in a widely agreed upon
constitution so as to reach stability and
In May 2011, UNDP helped organize a similar
Constitution Making Forum that served as
a platform for sharing of national and international
experiences in constitution-making processes
and for drawing lessons for constitutional
reform in Sudan. Inputs from wide-ranging
national experts were presented during the
two-day forum, in addition to special papers
on specific country experiences presented
by constitutional experts from Kenya, South
Africa and Malaysia.