While many Sudanese people have welcomed the agreement, the people of the Nuba Mountains and other marginalised areas in northern Sudan are deeply concerned that the Machakos Protocol did not discuss or settle their problems and thus cannot achieve the justice and stability that Sudan needs. A peace that provides for a perpetuation of justice for the marginalised people, who collectively encompass the majority of northern Sudanese’s population, may well be a recipe for future conflict. These marginalised groups in the Sudan resorted to armed struggle for nearly two decades now. Some have been fighting alongside the SPLA for the same reasons that the Southerners took up the armed struggle 19 years ago. Therefore there is no logic in recognising the Southerners’ right to self-determination whilst denying it to the Nuba and South Blue Nile people who are demanding it.
The Nuba demand the right to self-determination in full because they have a strong case which is based on their long historical record of suffering from abuses, injustices, discrimination and marginalisation. They have sharp cultural, linguistic and other differences with their neighbouring Arab tribes and they live in a well-defined territory according to the borders of 1925 Province Act, which show clearly that the region was a separate entity. The Nuba people are staunch unionists and they call for self-determination within a united Sudan.
The claim - which is usually made by both the government and the SPLA at the IGAD peace process - that the Nuba Mountains are part and parcel of either of the north or of the south is not acceptable. This is now one of the Nuba concern as the two parties are fighting over who should control the Nuba Mountains and yet the people of the Nuba Mountains have not been consulted over this issue. The Nuba people should have the right to decide their political future by themselves and freely from any internal or external influence. Their options should be clearly stated, and should there be insufficient guarantees for their rights within the united Sudan, then the people of Nuba Mountains shall have the right to determine their future.
It is important that during the Transitional Period the Nuba Mountains region should be administered separately from the north and the south and under international supervision. Also during the Transitional Period the Nuba should be represented in the Broad National Government and they should also have an equal share of national wealth and revenues from national resources.
At the end of the Transitional Period, the people of the Nuba Mountains should have the right to choose freely and immediately from the following options after the Southerners have carried out their referendum:
To choose to join a Southern Sudan state but with certain guarantees;
To choose to join a Northern Sudan state but with certain guarantees;
To choose to become an independent nation state in the same way as the south.
There has been so much effort following the Burgenstock cease-fire for the Nuba Mountains and it is hoped that the Nuba case should become a model for peace for the rest of the country. It is therefore crucial after the Machakos agreement that there should be a satisfactorily negotiated political settlement for the Nuba people. Any outcome which does not reflect the wishes of the Nuba and the marginalised people will jeopardise any chance of a lasting peace. The idea to re-impose sharia law andprohibit local traditions and customs will certainly guarantee a return to fighting and undermine any progress made in other areas.
Finally, we wish you every success in your endeavour to bring about a just and a workable peace for Sudan, which needs the consensus of all Sudanese people, and that the issue of the Nuba Mountains and other marginalised areas in northern Sudan needed to be redressed at the next round peace talks at Machakos. Because we believe that a workable peace solution can not be built on injustices.
Suleiman M Rahhal, FIBMS
NUBA MOUNTAINS ALLIANCE PARTIES (NMAP)
General Lazarus Sumbeiywo
IGAD Secretariat Nairobi,
5th August 2002
Dear General L Sumbeiywo,
We the undersigned Nuba Mountains Alliance Parties would like to express our wholehearted support for the Machakos Agreement, which is an important step towards solving the Sudanese problems. Although the Alliance did not take part in the negotiations, it will do its best to push that agreement ahead to achieve a comprehensive peace settlement for our country.
However, we in the alliance are extremely concerned about the Nuba Mountains future because the issue of the Nuba Mountains as well as the marginalised areas in northern Sudan were not mentioned in the agreement.
One of our concerns is that the agreement speaks only about North and South with no reference at all to the Nuba Mountains as if Nuba Mountains is part and parcel of either South or North.
We in the Alliance and on behalf of the Nuba people of Sudan would like to bring to your attention that the Nuba Mountains boarders of 1925 Provinces Act, clearly indicate that the Nuba Mountains is a separate region which has its own entity. Therefore, it is important to bear this fact in mind at your next negotiations in Nairobi. The Nuba position can be summarised as follows:
1. During the Transitional Period Nuba Mountains region should be administered separately from the north and the south and it should be under the supervision of international bodies
2. At the end of the Transitional Period, the Nuba people should have the right to determine their political future in Sudan and freely choose one of the following options:
(i) To be one of the separate regions in a united secular democratic Sudan. However, if the people of Southern Sudan decided to opt for an independent state, the Nuba should also have the right of a referendum to choose one from the following options:
(ii) To choose to join Southern Sudan state but with certain guarantees;
(iii) To choose to join Northern Sudan state but with certain guarantees;
(iv) To choose to become an independent nation state in the same way as the south
3. The Nuba people should be represented in the Broad National Government during the Transitional period.
4. Acknowledge the just division of national wealth between the states, with special consideration being given to war affected areas. Certain proportions of revenues should be allocated to the states reflecting their resources.
Finally, we trust that the Nuba issue will receive your immediate attention and will be discussed in the next IGAD peace talks, which is scheduled for 12th August 2002.
Signed by The Alliance Parties:
Nuba Mountains General Union
Sudan National Party
The Free Sudan National Party.
Nuba views from Australia
We the people of the Nuba Mountains in Australia reflecting on the peace initiatives in the Sudan and in particular the Machakos Protocol singed last month between the Sudan Government and the SPLM, express the following:
1. While we welcome whole –heartedly the Machakos Protocol as a framwork for realizing peace in Sudan, we note with great concern the deviation with which the attempt to bring peace to the country has taken place.
2. Nuba people took up arms in 1984 together with other people of the marginalized areas and continued to be part of the Sudan People Liberation Movement. In this regard, any peaceful settlement to the Sudan conflict must include, addressing not only the concerns of Southern Sudan but also the Nuba, Abiey and Ingescena regions.
3. The people of the above –mentioned regions were part of the (closed districts) since 1922 and remained marginalized even after independence in 1956.
4. They have experienced and are still suffering ongoing injustices, political exclusion, underdevelopment, cultural–domination and religious persecution.
5. These areas share with Southern Sudan similarities of the African culture and traditional concepts, which have been strongly denied by the dominating Arab Government in the North.
6. The Nuba experiences with the Arabs in the North over the last six centuries and in particular over recent decades, has created untold bitterness and mistrust.
7. While we respect the wishes of the people of Southern Sudan to self-determination, the Nuba people are also entitled to this inalienable right in accordance with International Human Rights Conventions.
8. The criminals who have committed crimes against humanity in the Nuba Mountains must be brought to justice at the International Criminal Court
9. 90% of the Nuba lands have been stolen or confiscated; therefore a genuine land reforms must be written into the Constitution.
10. With the commence of the second round of peace talks in Kenya, we demand that the views of the Nuba people be heard and these views and wishes be embodied in the final peace agreement In particular the Nuba demand that during the interim period their region ,will be administered as part of Southern Sudan. This will be provide a healing period after all the past injustices.
We believe that exclusion of any parties of the conflict from the peace talks whether in the North or the South will undermine any prospects for peace; Therefore we demand that the government of Sudan, the SPLM and the Mediators to accept with an open mind our views that may help in the achievement of peace.
Signed on behalf of the Nuba people in Australia