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Home> Self Determination: International Law & Practice > Right of Self Determination: A Legal and Political Right for South Sudan

Right of Self Determination:
A Legal and Political Right for South Sudan

Professor David de Chand, Ph.D.
6 August 1995

[see also Sudan Peace Process]


South Sudan is the area of Sudan below the 13th parallel and comprises of Bahr-el-Ghazel, Equatoria and Upper Nile regions which is about 400,000 square miles or twice the size of the state of Texas in the United States. South Sudan has a kaleidoscopic population of more than 10 million of which major ethnic groups are the Dinka, the Nuer, the Azande, the Bari speaking, the Otuho- speaking, the Toposa-speaking, Luo-speaking, the Muru-speaking and the Maban-speaking (Chai). South Sudan is bordered by the so called Arab and Muslim North Sudan, Chad and Central Africa on the West, Zaire and Uganda on the South, and Kenya and Ethiopia on the East. Although South Sudan is a heterogeneous political culture, sociologically, historically, culturally, and politically constitutes a nation-state (wiec naath).

Europe's Scramble for Africa

During the scramble for Africa, the British, French and Belgium had a vested interest in South Sudan. In 1892, the French led by Major Marchand occupied Bahr el-Ghazel and Western Upper Nile up to Fashoda (Kodok). By 1896 they had established a firm administration in these areas. Unfortunately, the French expedition moving from Djibouti via Ethiopia to the Baro and Sobat Rivers failed to link up with Major Marchand expeditionary force in Fashoda (Kodok). Specific French interest was to annex South Sudan to French Soudan (Mali, Senegal, Niger, Chad Cameroon etc.) in West Africa. France colonial interest in South Sudan was aborted by Anglo-Franco conflict over South Sudan known as the Fashoda Incident in Upper Nile. The Belgian occupied Western Equatoria up to Mongalla and established the "Lado Enclave" as part of the Belgian Congo (Zaire) until the death of King Leopold of Belgium in 1910 when the enclave was handed over to Britain.

On the other hand, the Arab and Muslim North of Sudan colonized by the Turks and the Egyptians (el-Miseryuon) as early as 1821. In 1885, the Mahdist's dervish forces (el-Anasar) revolted and killed the British Governor-General Charles (Chinese) Gordon in Khartoum. The Mahdist Islamic state flourished until the establishment of an Anglo-Egyptian Condominium rule in 1898 in Northern Sudan. The Condominium rule lasted for nearly 60 years.

British Colonial Rule of the then Anglo- Egyptian Sudan...

The British colonial rule in Sudan administered the Arab and Muslim North and the South separately as a result of acute and irreconcilable geographical, political, cultural distinctions between the two regions of the then Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. For the British, per se, the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was not a colony to say the least. The North and South were administered separately. The North was ruled in the British colonial policy pattern developed in the Egypt and the Middle East (West Asia).

On the other hand, the South was ruled through the indirect rule that was predominate policy in imperial Britain African colonies devised by Lord Henry Lugard in the Northern Emirates of Nigeria in 1898. Thus, to ensure the effectiveness of separate administration, the British colonial administration enacted the Closed District Ordinance Act in 1920. In 1922, the Passport and Permit Ordinance Act was promulgated.

In essence, these ordinances strictly chartered the course for complete separate educational, socio-economic, political development as well as required strict code on the issue of passports and permits for travelling between the North and South Sudan. The immigration policy between the North and South was further consolidated by the issuance of Passports and Permits to the Arab traders in South Sudan.

In almost sixty years of British rule in the then Anglo- Egyptian Sudan, South Sudanese were never educated at Gordon College (now University of Khartoum). They were educated in British East Africa and Southern Africa. In fact, educational syllabi were equal to those found in British East Africa. So, I guess, any curious mind would enquire, what the hell in the world the British adjoined South Sudan and the predominantly Arab and Muslim North Sudan in 1947 ?

More importantly, prior to granting political independent to Sudan,  the British colonial administrators were wondering of what to do about South Sudan. Most of them   knew well enough that the South and North were distinct ethnic groups and nationalities, with diametrically opposed social, cultural, linguistics, and religious differences as well as historical animosities retrospect to the period of the ivory and slave trade period.  Without proper safeguards it be would be political suicide to administer it as a single state.  Nevertheless, to their dismay, they were let down by the Civil Secretary in Khartoum and the British government of Prime Minister Anthony Eden.

British decision to unify North and South Sudan on independence was a betrayal of the people of South Sudan...

The decision of the civil Secretary to unify the North and South contributed first to a total sell out and betrayal of the African people of South Sudan that precipitated the ongoing chronic 40 year old civil war that has no end in sight and scrapped the so called "British Southern Sudan Policy". Moreover, the issuance of passports and permits between the Arab and Muslim North and South Sudan strengthened and protected the very existence of South Sudan cultures and heritage.

Furthermore, they strengthened the inter-state commerce and Trade Ordinance Act enacted in 1925. For instance, any Jallabas (Arabs) doing business in the South must and ought to have proper permits to conduct business in South Sudan. It is worth mentioning that South Sudanese were not encouraged to become merchants and producers rather consumers. British policy was to keep African people of South Sudan discriminated  in all spheres of political economy.

Thus, even the ongoing treacherous civil war is a British creation in South Sudan. Had the British colonial administration provided equal opportunity in education, economics, management and administration as well as social services today, the South would not be at this current precarious situation which it has been now for the past forty years. In 1970s- 1980s when South Sudanese asserted themselves in business and education, the ongoing civil war broke out against and thus disrupted the anticipated gains in these endeavors.

Finally, but not least, the British colonial government enacted a language policy at the Rejaf Language Conference in 1928. The Rejaf Language Conference approved English as the official language and the indigenous South Sudan languages such as Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Latuka, Shilluk and Zande as lingua franca. Arabic language was completely rejected. Thus, the ordinances coupled the language policy were designed to maintain the South as separate political entity from the Arab and Muslim North. In actual fact, colonial governors in South Sudan had nothing to do with North Sudan and used to conduct official business with British East Africa.

Given, the preceded synopsis and analysis, one would not hesitate to enquire prophetically, what on earth united the North and South Sudan in the first place? What happened with the so called "Southern Sudan Policy" in the post-war era? Was it a racial conspiracy against the African people of South Sudan? Thus, today the ongoing armed struggle is an inalienable democratic, legal and political right to demand the right of self-determination without any questions from North Sudan. Succinctly, imperial Britain had drawn the lines for separate development between the North and South.

Afro Arab Schism...

Afro-Arab schism goes back to more than 200 years of direct confrontation,   harmonious synchronization, and a love and hate relationship between the North and South Sudan.

Now, for forty years the people of South Sudan have been engaged in a protracted war for legal and political recognition and the right of self-determination.

At the end of the Second World War II, the British Empire where it was commonly said that "the Sun never set over the Union Jack" had experienced many cracks and political turbulence which led to its demise.

It was faced with a depleted exchequer or treasury despite the massive Marshall Plan from the United States for a war-torn Europe, the rise of Afro-Asian nationalism with the slogans that "Asia for Asians", "Africa for Africans" and "Europe for Europeans", significantly helped Britain to convince itself that the wind of political change was impossible to stop throughout its African colonies. This sentiment was echoed in the 1960s by the British Prime Minister Mr. Harold MacMillan. The wind of political change was blowing across black Africa.

Certainly, in Sudan which was not a colony, underdeveloped, poor and desolated, it was not worthy for the British to remain in this vast and backward land without specific vital British security national interest to rule the North and South Sudan.

The Sudan Administrative Policy held in Khartoum in 1946 created and Advisory Council for the North. The same resolution advocated the continue colonization of the South for another 10 to 15 years if the North was ready for independence. In actual fact, Southerners were not represented in the conference. Thus, all resolutions, of course, were decided without the South presence.

This episode characterized the cardinal principle of the Berlin Conference in 1884-5 when Africa was sliced like a birthday cake without the consent of the African people.

Interestingly, none of the British colonial officers in South Sudan were either invited to attend the said Administrative Conference. As far as South Sudanese were concerned, it was pure British charm and racial conspiracy with the Arab and Muslim North backed by Egypt against the African people of South Sudan.

British policy in South Sudan in 1946, could only be compared to the British policy in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Southwest Africa (Namibia) at the end of world War I. Without a doubt, such a diabolical and sell out policy provoked bitter reaction from the South Sudanese nationalists, sympathizers, including some Britain.

Run up to Independence and thereafter...

The Juba Conference of 1947, was a window dressing organized to dictate to South Sudan leaders that the political developments though painful, they must accept as irreversible decision to hand over the South to the new Arab and Muslims masters from the North. The British government then established the Legislative Assembly for internal self-rule in the North. Thirteen (13) delegates from the South were hand picked as an act of "tokenism" or the "uncle toms" to represent the South. The Cairo Agreement of 1953 was no exception to the rule.

Finally, the British and the Arab and Muslim North political parties such as the Umma of Mahdi Sect and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) masqueraded as the legitimate representatives of the political parties with support from the Egyptian government to grant self-determination to the so called Sudan without the participation of South Sudan. The South was precluded on the self- determination talks on the pretext that it lacked political parties and organizations. This was a political ploy manipulated by the DUP and Umma Parties which now formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and are now in league with the SPLM/A for the establishment of a secular united and democratic Sudan. The so called traditional political parties have proven to be politically incorrect, corrupt and dysfunctional.

In fact, they are inter alia, the agents of sociopolitical and economic malaise in the country. Moreover, the traditional political parties are in a state of disarrayed, malfunctioned, mismanaged and above all, lack a comprehensive and coherent policy agenda for resolving the human and political crisis in Sudan. More importantly, they do not have the political will and muscles to topple the NIF regime monopoly of political and economic power, religious extremism and intolerance, forced Arabizationand Islamization of non-Muslim population and political repression and democratic constitutionalism.

The Umma and the DUP do not have the political credibility for having oscillated in providing a new and dynamic paradigm for unity in diversity based on the principles of democracy, liberty, equality and justice for all citizens regardless of their background, creed and religious belief. Actually, they have failed in charting the course for governance; democratic pluralism; accountability and transparency; participation and democratic constitutionalism in a heterogeneous society. As a matter of fact, leaders of the traditional political parties in the Arab and Muslim North are not technically opposed to the NIF advocacy for the creation of a theocratic state.

Although they might disguised to be in disagreement with the NIF superimposition of Shari'a (Islamic Law) to become the law in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-political Sudan, they do not possess the right to repeal the Shari'a whenever they assume power. Under Islamic Law, this would be an act of apostasy.

Thus, no matter what the so called traditional parties do, they do not have the trust and confident of the South for their deception and unilateral abrogation and dishonored of many agreements. The SPLM/A alliance with NDA is a repeat of the past which SPLM/A should not fail to understand its future implications for the South once the so called NDA gets the grip of the wheels of power in Khartoum. However, it ascension to the call to the right of self-determination at the Asmara Conference which it had rejected in the past remains to be seen as an appeasement of the Eritreans or as a recognition of the political reality in South Sudan remains to be seen. In short, a word from the wise is that those who seeks association with the NDA should take it easy. They must not repeat history. But let's make history as a people with a legitimate cause.

The political decision a priori independence in 1956, was regarded as the final act of the British colonial government and Arab and Muslim North conspiracy, the Southern Corps mutinied in Torit on August 15th, 1955 in protest of the illegal unification of the North and South without the consent of its inhabitants, the order of transferring the Corps to the North and to be replaced by the Arab and Muslim North troops in the South. The British role in the Southern rebellion was significant. The Royal Air Force (RAF) planes transported more than 8,000 Arabs troops to the South to quell the situation

Additionally, the British promised the Southern Corps to lay down their arms and assured them the administration of justice and that the order for transfer be given serious consideration. When they did as commanded and given assurances of safe conducts, they were mobbed up and tried in mock courts in which many of them were executed by firing squad and thousands more were imprisoned for life, unfortunately. In this incident, however, the British gave a cold shoulder and did not even care about human rights that many European countries,including the United States and the United Kingdom are bugging the developing countries as a string attached to foreign policy and economic aid programmes.

Thus, the 1955 Torit mutiny, marked the beginning of the 17-year old bush war that was ended by the defunct Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972. The people of South Sudan are "internally colonized" people in the land of their birthright and the most oppressed and exploited people in Africa. They have suffered physical indignities, massacres, humiliations and have endured treacherous atrocities under Islamic extremism of all the regimes in Sudan since 1956, including the National Islamic Front (NIF) regime in Khartoum. Henceforth, given all the preceded analysis, it is impossible for the North and South to co-exist as one heterogeneous political culture.

The pillars of the bridge for nation-building, unity in diversity, democratic pluralism and heterogeneous democratic society where the constitution and the rule of Law are supreme, have not been constructed on the premise of social equality, liberty, due process of the law and "democratic constitutionalism". On the contrary, the premises for constructing a diverse democratic society,the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law, have been built on perpetual foundation of social inequities, injustice and persistently denied access to equal opportunity and participation in the body politic of Sudan.

The deliberate injection by the state of religion in the mainstream of socioeconomic and sociopolitical phenomenon is a sensitive issue which has drawn the lines of separate development in the country. The concept of forced Islamization and Arabization of Christians and religious groups, is an ambitious and unjustiable paradigm that created a backlash that even its proponents would have to agree as a doom and unattainable social construction. Thus, the denial of democratic values, equal justice for all, superimposition of Shari'a (Islamic law) to be the law of the land in 1983; the abrogation of the Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972; the annulment of secular democratic institutions and replacing them with sectarian system based on Islamic percepts have immensely attributed to the continuous paranoia and irreversible institutional paralysis in the country and negated any concept of unity in diversity in a united Sudan.

Based on the political history of the North-South relations, many South Sudanese have come to conclusion that the political marriage between these two opposing political cultures and socialization should be annulled without delay. It is impractical for the North and South to live harmoniously in a united country. History, per se, repeats itself in many different ways and those who forget it are bound to repeat it.

The extermination of more than 1.6 million people in South Sudan between 1983-1995, with the world and African nation-states in particular remaining silent, has taught South Sudanese they would have to fan out for themselves.

The world and Africa in particular does not give a dawn about them as other human beings. Additionally, more than 5 million people are internally displaced from their traditional habitat. This constitutes one-fifth of the 25 million people internally displaced worldwide. Many have fled to the neighboring African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Zaire as refugees. Moreover, hundred of thousands- a great potential manpower- have been admitted for resettlement in the United States, Canada, Britain, Nordic, Europe, including Australia.

Therefore, this unfortunate displacement of massive people from their traditional habitat has created an irreversible biological, ecological, environmental and sociological problems which would obstruct futuristic sustainable socioeconomic development. Thus, the prima facie policy of the NIF regime, ipso facto, is a design to displace South Sudan population from their traditional lands, to disrupt their traditions and cultural values and to occupy their fertile lands once they are forced into exile or dead.

Therefore, the NIF actions in South Sudan tantamount to "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" against a specific racial ethnic groups in Sudan. The NIF Popular Defense Forces (PDF) raped women and girls and kidnapped large number of young people as slaves who are employed as indenture workers in the North and some of them have been transported to be sold as slaves in open market in Libya. Many women are being exploited has prostitutes and concubines.

This is a serious crime against humanity in which the world community, the United Nations and Sub-Saharan Africa in particular should never remain silent. The year 1995 marks the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, the people who will not celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations as an organization entrusted with maintenance of peace and international security and to end scourge of all wars, has failed to do right thing in resolving the injustice and human tragedy in South Sudan. The United Nations has passed many resolutions on Palestinian Arabs but not a single resolution on South Sudan. What a big hypocrisy that is in the United Nations organization. However, the people of South Sudan shall overcome this tragedy some day.

Present situation in South Sudan in 1995 is clearly a reminiscent of Nazi Germany extermination of more than six million Jews...

In short, the present situation in South Sudan in 1995 is clearly a reminiscent of Nazi Germany extermination of more than six million (6,000,000) Jews and other minorities in Europe during the Second World War with the knowledge of allied powers of the defunct League of Nations which did not do anything to save them, Cambodia genocide under the Khamer Rouge regime in the 1970s and the carnage in Rwanda which the United Nations did not do anything to save the Tutsi minority being exterminated by the Hutus majority in 1994. Thus, without a doubt, Sudan is a perfect case for the United Nations and the World community, including Africa to undertake some actions if the world is going to avert another holocaust in Africa.

The ongoing armed struggle is a quest for total separation between the North and South Sudan. It is a demand whose time has come and could no longer be ignored or remains in incognito in the real politick of Africa and the international system. The South, per se, has a legal and political right to demand the partition of Sudan into two independent and sovereign states. The Arab and Muslim North with its hidden agenda has persistently dishonored too many agreements it signed with the South. Thus, based on the historical experience for the last four decades of the North-South volatile relations with extreme irreconcilable cultural particularism, it is impossible to build a wholesome functioning heterogeneous, secular, pluralistic democratic and just society in the so called Sudan. There is sufficient evident for political justification for separation.

To begin with, Sudan would not be the first and the last country to be dismembered in the world. For instance, Pakistan was split from India following the end of British colonial rule in 1947. The Asian nation of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) was curved out of Pakistan in 1971. Since the breaking down of the Berlin Wall, followed by the demise of the former Soviet Union (now the Commonwealth of Independent States [CIS], many nation-states have emerged in former Eastern Europe in the aftermath of peristoika and glasnost.

Eritrea ceded from Ethiopia as an independent and sovereign state after 30 years of guerilla war in 1991.

For the benefit of the reader, the NIF regime in Khartoum encouraged and supported dismemberment of Ethiopia even though it is a signatory to the Cairo Resolution of 1964 which supported the respect for the inherited colonial boundaries. As far as South Sudan is concerned, the event in Eastern Europe and Africa have set precedence in the struggle for the right of self-determination for South Sudan.

No power on earth would prevent our struggle for the right of self-determination. Moreover, Sudan crisis requires an African solution if the neighboring countries were to have peace an economic prosperity.

The South was denied the right to a referendum prior to granting independence even though a request was made to the British by South Sudan leaders. The British had failed to apply the formula it had used in the then federation of Rhodesia and Nyazaland (Malawi) and in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) as well as Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) after the split.

The British political game in South Sudan was identical with its policies in Northern Ireland after more than 800 years of domination and exploitation of the Irish people and Southern Rhodesia in the aftermath of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). Any political solution in the Afro-Arab conflict in Sudan would require British active involvement, the OAU and the United Nations participation would be paramount. In actual fact, the Afro-Arab conflict in Sudan would determine and chart the political latitude of the future relations between Arab and African worlds.

Arab & Muslim North Sudan's colonisation of South Sudan...

The North-South divides has been characterized by the ivory and slave trade in which millions of Africans were exported to the slave markets in the Middle East and across the Atlantic to the New world. North Sudanese participated as intermediaries on behalf of the Turko-Egyptians and neiy tin boor (Europeans) in the lucrative ivory and shameful slave trade against the African people. Slavery although abolished by international laws, including the United Nations Charter and other subsequent human covenants still goes on today in Sudan.

The 13 year Jihad (Holy war) waged by the brutal extremist Islamic regime in Khartoum against Christians has given slavery a come back. Many young boys and girls mostly of the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groupings as well as those in the marginalized areas were raided, abducted and exported to the North to work as indentures workers and young girls are being exploited as concubines. Many other were auctioned off in the markets. The price is determined by supply and demand.

In 1989, a woman or child could be bought for $90 per head. In 1990, as the raids increased, the price fell to $15 per head. Not only are their bodies in bondage, but also they are stripped of their cultural, religious and personal identity. In the former French colony of Mauritania where slavery was ended-on paper-in 1980, like Sudan still practices slavery. The Arab and Muslim North has continued to ravaging and plundering South Sudan for slaves, ivory, gold and ostrich feathers. For instance, Professors Ushari and Baldo documented the extend of this inhumane, degrading and humiliating practices in a work entitled "El-Dha'ain Massacre", (University of Khartoum, 1988) where slaves from the South were sold for as cheap as $1.00 per head in the market.

During the period of Sudanization from 1953-5, the Arab and Muslim North cheated the South in the process. For instance, there were more than 1,200 senior posts occupied by the British colonial administrators, only six (6) posts were allocated to the South and as a result created serious animosity. South Sudan leaders perceived the denial of equal representation in the political economy and administration as a concrete evidence of the Arab and Muslim North deliberate recolonization of the South.

As regard to the issue of national identity, the North and South remain divided. The Arab and Muslim North asserts that the Sudan is an Arab country and should develop on Arab and Islamic path. On the other hand, the South asserts that Sudan is an African country and should develop on Euro-African traditions. Certainly, Sudan is an African country and not Arab as it is claimed by the Arabized and Islamized North. In actual fact, over 62% of its population is of African stock, 34% of mulattoes Arabs and 4% of conspicuous classification and origin. Sudan membership in Arab the League is also a fraud which Egypt should accept the blame.

Thus, the conflict in Sudan is found in the Afro-Arab schism.

Hence, the war is triggered by the superimposition of forced Arabization and Islamization through the state apparatus. It is worthwhile to mention that all the partially elected governments and military dictatorships, including the concurrent extremist Islamic regime led by the international Islamic guru Dr. Hassan el-Turabi, have perpetuated such diabolical policies of Arabization and Islamization. For instance, Sudan strongman General Gaffar el- Numeieri superimposed Islamic law (Shari'a) to be the law of the land and thus relegated non-Muslim in Sudan and South Sudan in particular to be second class citizens in the land of their birthright.

In the sphere of socioeconomic development, South Sudan remains underdeveloped despite its great potential to be the "bread basket" of Africa and the Middle East. In the late 1970s strategic mineral resources, including oil were discovered in the South. As a result of these new discoveries, Khartoum policy as been to keep the South backward in all spheres of socioeconomic development.

As the vast oil fields had been discovered in the heartland of the Nuer country, including the Renk Agricultural schemes, Khartoum did not hesitate to annex them to the North. Instead of building a refinery in Bentiu in 1982 which is the source of the black gold, the regime decided that it should be built in Kosti more than 600 miles away from the source of the black gold which dominated the international political and economic relations in the 1970s through the 1980s. Suddenly, the regime again scraped such a plan and decided that the new national refinery should be moved to the Red Sea Port of Port Sudan a distance of approximately 3,500 miles from the oil belt in Liech State (Bentiu), Western Upper Nile.

Perhaps, one of the most unprecedented policy, the regime unilateral decision-making excavation of the Jongeli Canal without any thorough feasibility studies, its impact on the Nuer and Dinka people and tangible benefits for these displaced people from their local habitat. More importantly, South Sudan lagged behind in infrastructures, developmental and educational schemes. There is extreme disparity in education excess between the North and South. Although the people of the South are highly taxed particularly the Nuer and the Dinka nations, they are provided with the least an unequal education. This represents "taxation without representation".

The Right of Self Determination of South Sudan...

South Sudan has been the victim of Islamic fundamentalism for two hundred years. Thus, the objective of the war in South Sudan is the right of self-determination-meaning complete separation of the country into two independent and sovereign states juxtaposition with Egypt and North Sudan along the Nile Valley. The right of self-determination has been eloquently championed and articulated nationally and internationally by the SSIM/A since the Nasir Declaration on August 28, 1991, has a democratic and an inalienable right to all people as well as conflict resolutions.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) an umbrella of the traditional Northern political parties, the SPLM/A and the National Islamic regime in Khartoum were all asthmatic to concept of the right of self- determination. However, The Frankfurt Declaration on January 25th, 1992; Abuja I Peace Talks on May 1992; the Washington Declaration on October 23rd, 1993; Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) Common Agenda for Peace Talks on January 6th, 1994; the Seventh Pan-African Congress, Kampala, on April 6th, 1994; the International Seminar on the Rights of Minorities in the Arab World; and the IGADD Declaration of Principles (DOP), May 17th, 1994; the Bonn Conference in 1995 by the opposition groups and the recent National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Conference in Asmara, Eritrea, June 1995, fully endorsed the right of self- determination as a democratic and political right for the people of South Sudan.

Thus, the acceptance of the right of self- determination by the NDA, including the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a new beginning and the right step forward and a tremendous departure from the traditional status quo which would require new sociopolitical and philosophical analysis.

Certainly, the adoption of the right of self-determination by the NDA would have a set a precedence for the South to continue the armed struggle even after the overthrow of the current fatalist and brutal Islamist regime in Khartoum. However, if it is the usual political and flattering of the traditional Arab and Muslim North politics play by any opposition parties once they are outside of political arena, would have to remain to be seen. Therefore, saying is one thing and implementing what is being said is another side of the equation. In essence, the SSIM/A shall give the Asmara initiative a new impetus of a wait-and-see-situation.

For generations it has been impossible for the North and South to coexist as one heterogeneous state because of historical animosities such continue to prevail to day such as slavery, genocidal war and the inculcation of religion into the political theater of a diverse, multi-ethnic, multi-political, multi- religious an multi-political society.

Actually, it would be far better of for them to live apart in more than one heterogeneous state, even if this necessitates population transfers. In other words, separating the antagonists- partition-is an option increasingly recommended for consideration where groups are territorially concentrated.

As far as South Sudan view point is concerned, partition is a fait accomplis that Africa and the world community should understand its inevitability with only Arab and Muslim North would be opposed to it because it infringes its direct interest in the question as in the cases of Ethiopia, vietnam, Ireland, Germany and India. Thus, the establishment of a new nation-state sovereign and independent South Sudan is a sine qua non to peace and security on the Nile Valley, the Horn, East Africa and beyond.

The right of self-determination is a principle which is inalienable to all people which guarantees them the right to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their social, economic and cultural development. The United Nations General Assembly Fourth Committee, the African Charter on Rights of peoples, and the OAU Charter do fully recognize the right of self- determination of any peoples.

The rise of African nationalism in the post-war era, was based on the right of self-determination. The OAU Cairo Resolution of 1964 on the preservation of the inherited colonial boundaries should be legally declared as legally null and void. Moreover,the UN Charter on "sovereignty" needs to be revisited in the contemporary international geopolitical changes since the breaking down of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the demise the Soviet Union.

Thus, the ongoing chronic armed struggle in South Sudan is a demand from the oppressor (the Arab or Jallabas) by the oppressed (Southerners) to grant them their basic fundamental human rights in the land of their birth right. The first 17-year old civil war from 1955-72 by the defunct Anya-nya I and by Any-anya II insurgencies from 1975-83, were fought on the principle of the right of self-determination--meaning the establishment of an independent and sovereign state in the South.

Presently, South Sudan Independence Movement/Army (SSIM/A is waging the war for total separation of the South from the North. This position is non-negotiable.

Given, the Islamic extremism, jihad and genocide as well as ethnic cleansing in Sudan, it would be unfair and without any justification for black Africa and the world community not to support the partition of Sudan into two separate political entities. Sub-Saharan Africa should support the right of self-determination for the people of South Sudan in the mannerism that they supported the anti-colonial liberation movements in Africa, including anti-apartheid groups in the Republic of South Africa.

Since 1983, the regimes in Sudan has introduced "Islamic racism" which to many South Sudanese they are the victims that is no worst or different from the past Anglo-Franco colonial rule artocities and exploitation in Africa. For instance, since the 1960s up to the release of President Mandela from prison, Africa boycotted all political, economics, trade and commerce, social, scientific and cultural cooperations with the Republic of South Africa (RSA) because of apartheid. It would be unprecedented for Africa to remain aloof on the Sudan crisis while they were supportive of correcting the inhumanity of man against his fellow man throughout black Africa and in the world at large.

International Frame & Human Rights...

The Sudan crisis deserves special attention from the Heads of state and government of the OAU, the United Nations Security Council and the IGADD countries on Sudan conflict resolution. Additionally, Africa campaigned internationally to isolate South Africa participation in international political fora, sport tournaments, the United Nations and its specialized agencies and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) because of apartheid policy.

Moreover, in the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War in 1967, black Africa in particular severed all socioeconomic and political relations with the tiny Jewish state at Africa's expense though it was a strong alley of Africa during the struggle for decolonization in the continent in favour of the terrorist organization such as the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). What would be Africa's foreign policy towards the Islamic regime in Sudan and South Sudan in particular?

While Africa was vocal against colonialism, human rights violations, apartheid and ostracized their Afrikaaners brothers from the African community in the past because of what they perceived was social injustice and isolated the tiny Jewish state in the sea of Arab nation-states because of the territories it captured during the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War in 1967 and Yom Kippur War of 1973, it would be unethical, unjustiable and without any high moral ground for the world community and black Africa in particular not to apply the same cruel and unusual principles against RSA and Israel on the human tragedy in Sudan.

The late African-American Civil Rights leader in the United States, Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr., said, that "an injustice in one place breeds injustice everywhere". Thus, gross injustice in Sudan is equal to any injustice anywhere in the world. Therefore, with all due respect,it would be hypocritical for black Africa and the world community to have isolated and condemned the Afrikaaners and Israelis brothers as the bad boys on the block while their hands are tied off on the Islamic tyrannical domination and exploitation of the African people in South Sudan. In my opinion, however,it would be fair and just for black Africa to reciprocate the same measures that they judged the Jews and Afrikaaner brothers as the bad boys on the block, by bestowing the same judgment on the terrorist Islamic and racist regime in Khartoum.

The golden rule  is to render due process across the board that is in compliance with adage that "judge not and be not judged. For whatsoever measures you give is what you get". On the other hand, the golden rule also says," do unto others as they would do unto you". And that "what you sow is what reap".

Thus, these golden rules should be applied on the terrorist Islamic regime in Khartoum as black Africa once isolated and critically judged both the Afrikaaners and Israelis because of social injustice. The right of self-determination by the people of South Sudan will not in any way have any impact on the inherited political boundaries in Africa. The partition of Sudan, Africa's largest country (approx. 1 million square miles) into two nation-states will not alter the political boundaries of any of the neighboring African nation-states of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Zaire, Central African Republic and Chad.

As a matter of principle, in the longer run, it would produce viable socioeconomic prosperity, peace and stability to the Horn, East Africa and beyond. The neighboring African nation-states and particularly those bordering South Sudan (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Zaire, Central African Republic (CAR) should act positively on the eventual partition of Sudan as prudence and authentic political and legal action to resolve the Afro-Arab conflict and socioeconomic development and political instability in the region.


The right of self-determination is a legal and political right to all people. The armed struggle in South Sudan is a demand for the right of self-determination to a  people to determine their own political destiny, economic well being and cultural development. The international community and the neighboring African states should support the right of self-determination for South Sudan. The North and South cannot co-exist as one heterogeneous state given the irreconcilable political and cultural positions. Displacement of many people from their local habitat is crime against humanity.

Therefore, Sub-Saharan Africa, the OAU and the United Nations must be vigilant with the human tragedy in South Sudan. Sub-Saharan Africa must exercise a moral stand against the brutal NIF regime denial of the right of self-determination and its gross human rights violations in Sudan particularly South Sudan. African nation-states and international community should isolate community until it accepts the right of self-determination for the people of South Sudan, stop genocide and ethnic cleansing in South Sudan.

It would be a contradiction for black Africa to remain aloof in Sudan whilst they are vocal in similar situations around the world. The policy of forced Islamization and Arabization in South Sudan, including the marginalized areas such as the Nuba Mountains and Ignessena Hills, is contrary to normal process of religious conversion and flagrant human rights violations. the resolution of the Afro-Arab in Sudan would be the only safety valve for the emergence of political stability and the realization of inflow of foreign investments and economic prosperity in the Horn and East Africa and beyond.

Dr.de Chand holds a Ph.D.,in Political Science (international relations) from Atlanta University (1987), M.A.,in international Affairs from Drew University (1978), in M.P.A., Public Administration & Public Policy (intergovernmental relations) from University of Maine at Orono and B.A., in Modern History & Government) with emphasis on African and European governments from University of Liberia (1975). Professor de Chand taught international relations/law, political economy, comparative politics and government/politics of the developing nations with focus on Africa and the Middle East and worked as a consulted in governance, democratization, human rights as well as capacity building in Africa for Associate and Rural Development (ARP) sponsored by the World Bank (IBRD) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, DC, USA.

Courtesy [email protected]  6 August 1995


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