United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

11 November 1996


General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 110 (b)

                             FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

          Implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All
          Forms of Religious Intolerance and of Discrimination Based 
                             on Religion or Belief

                         Note by the Secretary-General

     The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of
the General Assembly addendum 2 of the interim report on the
elimination of all forms of religious intolerance relating to a visit
to the Sudan, prepared by Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur of
the Commission on Human Rights, in accordance with Assembly
resolutions 50/183 and 50/197.


                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION ..........................................    1 - 6     3


      A. Outline of legislation ............................     7 - 35    3

         1.   Constitutional provisions .....................    7 - 17    3

         2.   Other legal provisions ........................   18 - 35    5

      B. Concerns of the Special Rapporteur about certain
         types of discrimination and differentiation .......    36 - 62    8

         1.   Constitutional provisions .....................   36 - 43    8

         2.   Other legal provisions ........................   44 - 62    9

      OR BELIEF .............................................   63 - 132  12

      A. Situation of non-Muslims ..........................    70 - 107  14

         1.   Religion and belief ...........................   71 - 92   14

         2.   Education .....................................   93 - 100  17

         3.   Employment and social and cultural matters ....  101 - 104  18

         4.   Protection of the individual ..................  105 - 107  18

      B. Situation of Muslims ..............................   108 - 132  19

         1.   Religion ......................................  109 - 120  19

         2.   Social and political matters ..................  121 - 125  21

         3.   Protection of the individual ..................  126 - 132  22

IV.   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS .......................  133 - 161  24

                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   From 19 to 24 September 1996, the Special Rapporteur on religious
intolerance visited the Sudan in the context of his mandate and at the
invitation of the Government of the Sudan in accordance with General Assembly
resolution 50/197 of 22 December 1995 and Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1996/73.

2.   He went to Khartoum and Omdurman and to Kaduqli in the Nuba Mountains. 
He held consultations with representatives of the authorities, in particular
the Minister of Justice, the Minister for Social Planning, the Ministers of
Education, Higher Education and Defence, the Minister for External Relations
and the State Minister for External Relations.

3.   He also spoke with the President of the National Assembly, Mr. Turabi,
and with Christian and Muslim deputies.

4.   The Special Rapporteur held fruitful consultations with religious and
political representatives of Christian communities and various Muslim
brotherhoods, including the head of the Ansar community, former Prime Minister
Sadiq al-Mahdi.  He also met representatives of non-governmental organizations
and visited places of worship.

5.   The Special Rapporteur wishes to thank the Sudanese authorities for
having invited him and for their cooperation.  He is also grateful to the
numerous officials to whom he spoke during his visit.

6.   At the time of his visit, the Special Rapporteur devoted particular
attention to the study of legislation in the field of tolerance and
non-discrimination based on religion or belief, its application and the policy
in force, examining the situation of both non-Muslims and Muslims.


                          A.  Outline of legislation

                         1.  Constitutional provisions

(a)  Provisions relating to religious freedom

7.   The first chapter of Constitutional Decree No. 7, promulgated in 1993 by
the Revolution Command Council and entitled "Constitutional principles, rules
and developments", contains the guiding principles of the policies of the
State, which are divided into seven parts, including those relating to
"Religion" and "Society".

8.   Part 1, entitled "Religion", provides that:

         "Islam is the religion which guides the great majority of the
     Sudanese.  It is the basis of the laws, rules and policies of the State. 
     Every individual, however, is free to adopt other revealed religions,
     such as Christianity or traditional religious beliefs.  Religious
     freedom shall be guaranteed by the State and its laws."

9.   Part 6 concerning society stipulates:  "Society shall be based on
religious values and free development ...".

10.  Constitutional Decree No. 7 and chapter II, part 1, thereof, entitled
"Rights and duties", provides as follows:

         "It is the duty of a religious citizen to be honest and sincere.  He
     has the right to choose his religion without constraint and not to be
     subjected to discrimination on account of his faith, beliefs or social
     or financial situation.  Every citizen has the duty to make a
     contribution by way of his thoughts and opinions, and he has the right
     to express himself freely and participate in public life in accordance
     with the law.  Every citizen has the right to earn his living on the
     basis of fair competition, and his possessions shall not be confiscated
     except in accordance with the law.  Every citizen has the right to
     freedom of movement and residence."

11.  The Political Charter of the Sudan (April 1996) includes the following

     "Citizenship shall be the basis of rights and duties in furtherance of
     the values of justice, equity, freedom and human rights.

     "The Shariah and custom shall be the source of legislation.  However,
     states may enact legislation complementary to the federal law in matters
     peculiar to those states.

     "Freedom of religion and belief shall be observed, and a suitable
     atmosphere shall be maintained for practising worship, da'wah,
     proselytization and preaching.  No citizen shall be coerced into
     embracing any faith or religion."

(b)  Provisions relating to federal government institutions

12.  The provisions regulating federal government institutions are in
Constitutional Decree No. 13, promulgated in 1995, and concern in particular
the President of the Republic, the elected members of the National Assembly,
the armed forces and the judiciary.

     (i) President of the Republic and elected members of the National

13.  The conditions for election to the office of President of the Republic
and of member of the National Assembly are provided for under articles 4
and 28 respectively of Constitutional Decree No. 13.  Such conditions include
no religion criterion.

14.  Concerning oaths of office, pursuant to article 4 of the Decree, the
President of the Republic must declare as follows:

         "I swear by Almighty God to hold the office of President of the
     Republic in full worship and obedience of God, carrying out my duties
     diligently and honestly and working hard for progress and promotion of
     the country.  I swear by Almighty God to respect the Constitution, the
     law and public opinion and to accept consultation and advice.  God
     witnesses and God is the best witness."

15.  Article 31 of the Decree on the oath of deputies stipulates:

         "Every member shall, before performing his duties, take before the
     National Assembly the following oath:  'I swear by Almighty God that I
     will represent the people as a member of the National Assembly in
     obedience to God ...  I know God is witnessing what I am saying'."

     (ii)  Armed forces

16.  Pursuant to article 12 of the Decree:

         "The armed forces are a national and disciplined body.  Their duty
     is the jihad and defence of the country against external and internal
     dangers and protection of the nation and her civilized leaders and the
     organization thereof shall be determined by law."

     (iii)  The judiciary

17.  Article 61 of the Decree provides that:

         "A judge shall abide by the principle of supremacy of the
     Constitution, the law and the general norms of the Shariah, and he shall
     adhere to this principle without fear or favour of anyone save God."

                          2.  Other legal provisions

(a)  The Penal Code of 1991, hudud offences and other offences relating to

18.  The Penal Code of 1983 was repealed and replaced by the Penal Code of
1991, promulgated by the Revolution Command Council of National Salvation in
accordance with the provisions of the Third Constitutional Decree (1989).

     (i) Hudud offences

19.  Hudud offences are those of drinking alcohol, apostasy (harabah),
adultery (zina), false accusation of unchastity, armed robbery and capital
theft.  This criminal legislation derived from Islam defines the above-
mentioned religious offences and authorizes the imposition of Islamic
punishments, including flogging and amputation, according to the seriousness
of the offence.  Pursuant to the Penal Code of 1991, such provisions are not
applicable to the southern states "unless the accused himself requests
application of the said provisions to him or the legislative body concerned
decides to the contrary".

20.  Concerning apostasy, article 126 of the Penal Code stipulates:

         "1.   Every Muslim who advocates the renunciation of the creed of
     Islam, or who publicly declares his renouncement thereof by an express
     statement or conclusive act, shall be deemed to commit the offence of

         "2.   Whoever commits apostasy shall be given a chance to repent
     during a period to be determined by the court; if he persists in his
     apostasy, and is not a recent convert to Islam, he shall be punished
     with death.

         "3.   The penalty provided for apostasy shall be remitted whenever
     the apostate recants his apostasy before execution."

21.  Alcohol-related offences fall under articles 77 to 79 of the Penal Code,
whereas the offences of adultery, false accusation of unchastity, armed
robbery and capital theft fall respectively under articles 145 to 147, 157 and
158, 167 to 169 and 170 to 173.

     (ii)  Other offences relating to religion

22.  There are three main offences:  insulting a religious creed, defiling
and disturbing places of worship, and profaning the dead and desecrating

23.  According to article 125 of the Criminal Code:

         "Whoever by any means publicly abuses or insults any of the
     religions, their rites or beliefs or ceremonies, or seeks to excite
     feelings of contempt and disrespect against the believers therein, shall
     be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or by a
     fine or a whipping, which may not exceed 40 lashes."

24.  With regard to places of worship, according to article 127 of the
Criminal Code:

         "Whoever destroys or defiles any place of worship or any object held
     sacred by any group of persons, or obstructs or disrupts any religious
     assembly without lawful reason, intending thereby to insult that
     religion or group of persons, shall be punished by imprisonment for a
     term not exceeding one year or by a fine or by both."

25.  Lastly, article 128 of the Criminal Code states:

         "Whoever desecrates any cemetery or graves or profanes any human
     corpse or commits any act or action that violates the sanctity of death
     without religious or legal excuse, or intentionally disrupts any
     ceremony of persons assembled for the performance of funeral rites,
     shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or
     by a fine or by both."

(b)  Legislation on religious matters and Islamic religious endowments
(awqaf) 1/

26.  The legislation on religious matters and Islamic religious endowments
(1980) regulates the appointment of a Grand Council on Religious Matters and
Islamic Religious Endowments, the purpose of which is:

         "To preserve religious values and enhance the understanding and
     practice of such values in society in order to draw closer to God and
     benefit society ...  An effort shall be made to preserve the cultural
     identity of the nation and to guide it in the direction of the Islamic
     way of life, while giving due attention to the rights of those who are
     not Muslims and demonstrating in this regard flexibility and a
     progressive approach."

27.  The Council's functions include:  promulgation of policies, plans and
programmes relating to religious matters and Islamic religious endowments;
general supervision of religious institutions and places of worship and
organization of their activities with a view to their optimum use, in order to
serve the purposes of religion in worship and in social relations; general
monitoring of religious activities, including guidance and regulation of their
organization; and promotion of Christian activities and those of other
religions and beliefs in cooperation with public organizations and
institutions working in this field.

(c)  Legislation on education

28.  In accordance with Act No. 24 on public education (1992), the following
are the objectives of public education:  consolidation of belief and religious
morality, inculcation of the teachings of religion, and education based on
those teachings designed to produce free and responsible believers.  Religious
education is moreover obligatory at all levels of education.

(d)  Legislation on nationality, marriage, and identity and travel documents

29.  Documents provided by the Ministry of the Interior of the Sudan
concerning the acquisition of Sudanese nationality indicate that the
Nationality Code (1993) contains no conditions connected with the religion of
the applicant.  The same Ministry's naturalization statistics show that in
1992 and 1993, 406 of the 535 successful applications for naturalization were
made by Christians.

30.  The 1926 legislation on the marriage of non-Muslims provides that the
State recognizes the marriage of non-Muslims regardless of whether such
marriage is contracted in accordance with the requirements of other religions,
existing pagan religions or tradition.

31.  Under 1981 legislation, amended in 1995, the right of every Sudanese
citizen to an identity card is not subject to any condition connected with
religion.  Exactly the same applies to the issue of ordinary Sudanese
passports in accordance with the legislation on travel and immigration.

32.  Furthermore, application forms for Sudanese nationality, identity cards
and passports do not contain any mention of religion.  The entry and residence
of foreigners are subject to strict legal regulation but, according to the
documents of the Ministry of the Interior, are not affected by the religion of
the person concerned.  The same applies to applications by Sudanese for exit

(e)  Legislation on refugees

33.  According to the Ministry of the Interior, under Sudanese law all
refugees enjoy non-discriminatory treatment with respect to religion and

(f)  Legislation on the treatment of prisoners

34.  According to the information provided by the Ministry of the Interior,
Sudanese legislation and regulations on prisons and corrective institutions
guarantee prisoners non-discriminatory treatment, including in matters of
religion; this treatment respects the right to pray according to one's
religion or belief in an appropriate place designated for this purpose.

35.  With regard to Sudanese legislation in general, the authorities have
indicated that efforts have been made to combat religious fanaticism and
promote tolerance, in order to counteract the dangers of the spread of
fanaticism in social life and its adverse effects on stability, equality and

           B.  Concerns of the Special Rapporteur about certain types
               of discrimination and differentiation

                         1.  Constitutional provisions

(a)  Provisions relating to the President of the Republic and the elected
     members of the National Assembly

36.  The Constitution contains no provisions barring non-Muslims from posts
in the executive or the legislature.  In accordance with articles 4 and 31 of
Constitutional Decree No. 13, the President of the Republic and the elected
members of the National Assembly must swear an oath before God on taking

37.  The Minister of Justice and the Minister for Religious Endowment have
stated that citizenship is the frame of reference and the basis of all rights,
with respect in particular to access to posts in the executive and the
legislature, without any religious discrimination or any link between
citizenship and religion.  Mr. Turabi has added that Sudanese legislation
contains no condition connected with religion affecting access to the position
of deputy, as is demonstrated by the presence of Christians in the Parliament,
in contrast to the position of Muslims in the parliaments of European

(b)  Provisions relating to the armed forces

38.  According to Constitutional Decree No. 13, the duty of the armed forces
is the jihad.  The Islamic religious term "jihad" prompts questions as to its
offensive meaning (holy war against unbelievers, i.e. non-Muslims) or
defensive meaning (against an attack) and thus about the place of non-Muslims
in the army and respect for their beliefs and more generally for the beliefs
of non-Muslims in the Sudan.

39.  According to the Ministry of Defence, the legislation relating to the
armed forces guarantees the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of
religion or belief by, on the one hand, granting all adult Sudanese citizens
access to the army, as is shown by the presence in the Sudanese armed forces
of Muslims, Christians and pagans and, on the other, providing that any
soldier, whatever his religion or belief, may be promoted.  Furthermore, the
religious rights of the military, including prayer, are respected throughout
the Sudan.  Lastly, the Minister of Defence declared that there was no jihad
in the southern states, but rather a non-religious conflict, and explained
that the army's mandate was to defend the country and not to force the south
to convert to Islam.

40.  The President of the National Assembly, Mr. Turabi, stressed that Islam
was against all constraint in regard to religion and that Islam called for
respect for minorities.  The term "jihad" should be understood as meaning
defence, not aggression.  According to Mr. Turabi, a further concern is to
maintain a disciplined army, controlled by God and the State, for the defence
of the public.

(c)  Provisions relating to the judiciary

41.  Under Constitutional Decree No. 13, judges should be guided by the
Constitution, the law and the general norms of the Shariah.

42.  The Special Rapporteur wanted to know about the role of custom, and more
precisely the force of the customary law of the peoples of southern Sudan, and
also about possible contradictions between the Shariah and customary law.  For
example, in the Shariah, the equivalent of a bride price must be returned to
the husband upon divorce.  In Dinka customary law, bride wealth is the
property of the wife's relatives and they keep it upon divorce.  However,
according to several non-governmental observers, a judge sentenced a wife to
prison because her family refused to return the bride price to her ex-husband
although neither she nor her husband was a Muslim.  The judge thus applied the
Shariah to non-Muslims despite the existence of codified Dinka customary law.

43.  The Minister of Justice, the State Minister for External Relations and
the Chief Justice and Chairman of the Kaduqli Human Rights Committee declared
that the customs of the southern populations were respected.

                          2.  Other legal provisions

(a)  The Penal Code of 1991 and hudud offences

     (i) Scope of the principle of non-applicability of hudud offences to the
         southern states

44.  According to the Penal Code of 1991, the provisions relating to
religious offences are not applicable to the southern states.  The Special
Rapporteur noted, however, that this non-applicability is not fully guaranteed
because, on the one hand, the legislative body concerned is empowered to take
a contrary decision and, on the other, it is not extended to non-Muslims
residing outside the southern states.  The non-application of the provisions
relating to religious offences is thus carried out on a territorial rather
than a religious basis, which means that the Shariah can be legally imposed on
non-Muslims in the north.  Thus, according to some non-governmental observers,
many non-Muslim women from the south, living as refugees in northern Sudan,
have been whipped and/or arrested for trading or for consuming alcohol.

45.  The State Minister for External Relations explained that the Government
had reached a compromise which was reflected in the Penal Code.  This ensured
both the application of the Shariah to a mainly Muslim population and respect
for the rights of non-Muslims by refraining from imposing the Shariah in the
southern states and by taking their customs into consideration.  It was
recognized that difficulties had arisen owing to the mass arrival of people
from the south, who were fleeing the war and establishing themselves in the
mainly Muslim north, where the freedoms specific to the southern states in,
for example, alcohol-related matters are not available to them.

46.  While underlining that the law was applied without religious
discrimination and with respect for the rights of non-Muslims, Mr. Turabi
explained that consumption of alcohol was not a crime in the southern states,
while in the north it was authorized for non-Muslims in private and forbidden
in public.

47.  The Minister of Justice added that the Sudanese State was based on the
Shariah, which was characterized by tolerance, but the Shariah and hudud
offences were not applied in the south, even though the majority in that
region was not Christian.  In other words, the ban on alcohol was lifted in
the south not only for non-Muslims but also for Muslims.

     (ii)  The special case of conversion

48.  Regarding conversion, the Special Rapporteur noted that no limitations
are placed on non-Muslims who wish to convert to Islam, whereas serious
restrictions are applied to Muslims who change religion and who could be
condemned to death as apostates for any public manifestation of their

49.  Mr. Turabi and the Consultative Human Rights Council stated that
conversion for Muslims was accepted but could not be manifested for fear of
disturbing public order.

50.  Regarding conversion, the Special Rapporteur wishes to recall general
comment No. 22 (48) of the Human Rights Committee dated 20 July 1993
concerning the freedom to "have or to adopt" a religion or belief of one's
choice (see para. 139).

(b)  Legislation on public order and the treatment of prisoners

51.  According to information received, the Public Order for Khartoum Act
(November 1992) stipulates certain restrictions for women, such as separation
from men in public transport, and a ban on selling food or drink in streets or
public squares from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.  The legislation regulating public order
is stricter outside Khartoum.  At Wad Medani, the Public Discipline and
Conduct Act No. 2 (1992) establishes the obligation of an Islamic dress code
for women on pain of punishment by whipping and/or a fine for any Muslim woman
who does not respect this regulation in public life.

52.  The Organization of Prisoners and Treatment of Inmates Act (1992)
provides for the early release of prisoners who learn the Koran by heart.  A
commission supervised by the prison authorities in consultation with the
Minister for Religious Endowment tests a prisoner's knowledge of Islam and
makes recommendations on early release.  Many non-governmental observers see
this legislation as inciting non-Muslims to convert to Islam, since there is
no legal provision for early release based on knowledge of non-Islamic

53.  The Minister of the Interior insisted that no discrimination was
practised towards prisoners, particularly in the context of the legislation. 
It was explained that the release of prisoners was not tied to religious
criteria, although religious feast days were often marked by releases:  that
is, Christians were released when their religious feasts were celebrated, and
Christian and Muslim prisoners were released when Muslim feasts were

(c)  Legislation on education

54.  The Special Rapporteur notes that religious education is compulsory in
public schools and is determined by the religion of the pupils.  The relevant
legislation in this area does not seem to allow for any dispensation from
religious instruction, an omission that appears to raise problems with regard
to people's free will.

(d)  The repeal of the Missionary Societies Act (1962), the Provisional Order
     of 4 October 1994, the Aliens' Voluntary Work in the Sudan
     (Organization) Act (1988) and the Societies Registration Act (1957)

55.  In October 1994, the Sudanese authorities repealed the Missionary
Societies Act passed in 1962 to expel foreign Christian missionaries.  This
legislation was intended to curb drastically the activities of missionaries by
means of a licensing system.

56.  Nevertheless, the President of the Sudan subsequently introduced the
Provisional Order of 4 October 1994, which was intended to regulate the
activities of the churches.  As a result of this new legislation, churches
were classed no longer as spiritual institutions but instead as foreign
non-governmental organizations obliged to follow a registration procedure
under which a State official could exercise control by approving or turning
down applications.

57.  The Provisional Order modified the Aliens' Voluntary Work in the Sudan
(Organization) Act (1988) and the Societies Registration Act (1957) by
regulating foreign non-profit organizations and domestic non-governmental
organizations, respectively, for the purpose of including religious

58.  According to non-governmental reports, the Provisional Order would have
required all churches existing before October 1994 to apply for registration
to the Commissioner of Social Planning within 60 days.  It would have required
each new congregation of existing churches to register as new and separate
churches.  The Commissioner would have the power to accept or reject the
application, forwarding it to the Minister for Social Planning for approval of
the rejection or registration or fulfilment of conditions.  If the conditions
were not fulfilled by the church within 90 days, it would cease to function
and its assets would be disposed of by liquidation.

59.  The requirements for churches under the Provisional Order appear to be
identical to those for an ordinary foreign non-profit corporation:  to submit
an annual statement of accounts to the Minister, hold annual meetings, file a
membership list, elect officers as set forth in its by-laws and so forth. 
These requirements would not be limited to the relief and development
programmes of churches but would be extended to the churches themselves, as
spiritual institutions.  The Minister would have the power to cancel a
registration if a church contravened the provisions of the Order.  He could
cancel a registration if a church's total membership was less than 30.

60.  The churches were vociferous in their disapproval of this legislation
and refused to follow the registration procedure.  Nevertheless, the present
status of the Provisional Order, and whether it has been revised, abolished or
retained, is not known, which raises problems with regard to the legality of

(e)  Legislation on travel documents

61.  Many non-governmental representatives emphasized that Sudanese
nationality was available to any Muslim, whatever his country of origin, but
especially to foreign Muslim extremists, who were able to travel on Sudanese
passports, including diplomatic passports.

62.  The Minister of Justice said, in reply, that no Sudanese law permitted
Sudanese nationality to be acquired by any foreign Muslim and that the
criteria on which decisions on nationality were based included residence in
the Sudan but not religion or belief, in accordance with the relevant
legislation in force.

                OR BELIEF

63.  Reports from non-governmental sources claim that the Sudanese
authorities are implementing a policy of Islamization and Arabization of the
Sudan through religious and political persecution of not only non-Muslims
(Christians and animists), but also Muslims, in all religious and other social
spheres.  Islam is, in fact, being exploited for political ends in the pursuit
of power, not only in the national arena but also beyond it, through the
funding of acts of violence and sometimes terrorism outside the Sudan.  Any
Muslim who questions official policy is therefore regarded and treated as an
apostate or even a traitor, while non-Muslims are considered infidels and
unbelievers.  The war in the southern states, originally a civil war of a
political nature, has been turned by the authorities into a jihad as a result
of their programme of ideological indoctrination and their policy of

64.  Non-governmental organizations claim that international pressure,
particularly from the United Nations, and the growing political and economic
weakness of the country have forced the Sudanese Government to make some
changes for the better, particularly in the religious sphere.  However, this
development appears to be a tactical switch focusing on a new kind of
political message and public relations, without effect on the essential nature
of the regime.

65.  According to the authorities, however, the Sudan is a model of tolerance
whose legislation and policies are characterized by respect for religion and
belief and coexistence within Sudanese society based on the principles of
citizenship, equality, justice and human rights.  In their opinion, criticism
of the Sudan is due to a lack of understanding of the country's unique
character and to the fear elicited by any new regime experimenting with its
own societal model and asserting its independence in the face of the interests
of the great Powers, which want to impose their lifestyles on the
international community as a whole.

66.  The Special Rapporteur notes the diametrically opposed conclusions of
the Government and the non-governmental organizations concerning the situation
in the Sudan with respect to tolerance and non-discrimination based on
religion and belief.  In the context of this section on the implementation of
legislation and policies and the effect on freedom of religion, the Special
Rapporteur studied the situation of both non-Muslims and Muslims.

67.  Exact figures on the size of the various Muslims and non-Muslim
communities were not available.  The Minister for Religious Endowment stated
that he had no data on the religious make-up of the Sudan.  Yet while meeting
with the Minister of Justice and the Consultative Human Rights Council, the
Special Rapporteur was informed that a census that included questions about
religion had established that the population was 85 per cent Muslim, the rest
being animist and Christian.  After the Special Rapporteur studied and
compared the information available, the following estimates were put forward
during discussions with officials and non-governmental groups:  approximately
70 per cent Muslim (mostly Sunni), approximately 15 per cent Christian, and
approximately 15 per cent animist.

68.  Figures concerning non-Muslims are very approximate, with some
non-governmental sources estimating the animist population to be larger than
the Christian population.  In addition the authorities stressed that southern
Sudan was mostly animist and non-Christian (estimates by the Minister for
Religious Endowment:  79 per cent animist, 11 per cent Muslim, 10 per cent
Christian; estimates by the Minister of Defence:  65 per cent animist,
18 per cent Muslim, 17 per cent Christian).

69.  Finally, some non-official sources report a large-scale immigration of
the Christian population since the new regime took power in 1989, because of
disagreement with the policies adopted and for economic reasons.

                         A.  Situation of non-Muslims

70.  The Special Rapporteur wishes to point out that during preparations for
his visit and during the visit itself, he was able to obtain more information
about the Christians than about the animists, no doubt because the Christian
communities are better organized and structured and are supported by national
and international non-governmental organizations.

                            1.  Religion and belief

(a)  Religious and animist activities

71.  According to many non-governmental observers consulted in private, the
official policy of Islamization and Arabization, which also incorporates the
notion of jihad in its offensive meaning of holy war against the infidels, has
resulted in the repression of Christian and animist religious activities with
a view to their elimination and replacement by the official, Muslim religion.

72.  In addition to attempts to strictly control Christian religious
activities with legislation such as the Provisional Order and the modification
of the Aliens' Voluntary Work in the Sudan (Organization) Act (1988) and the
Societies Registration Act (1957), the Government is in fact reported to be
interfering in the area of religion and belief by imposing limitations and
constraints on non-Muslim religious officials, believers and places of worship
(see paras. 126-132).

73.  The authorities are also said to be blocking the development of
Christian activities by strictly limiting religious observances to believers,
thus preventing any proselytizing, especially of Muslims, under pain of
punishment and arrest (ibid.).  According to many non-governmental sources,
converted Muslims are subject to pressure and close surveillance, the
intention being to force them to abandon their religious activities and return
to Islam.  Religious officials are also said to face severe restriction of
their freedom of movement and action with respect to travel within the Sudan
and abroad and in some cases because they have been arrested by the security
forces (ibid.).

74.  It should be pointed out however that recently, according to some
non-governmental sources, obstacles to free movement around the country seem
to have been removed not only for Sudanese religious officials but also for
foreigners visiting the Sudan.  Furthermore, some Christian officials have
recently been granted some freedom in the matter of religious publications,
including the Bible, allowing them to serve the needs of their community.

75.  The Christian and animist communities are nevertheless reported to be
still subject to constraints, on the one hand because of the application of
hudud outside the southern states and, on the other, by being pressured or
forced to convert to Islam.

76.  According to unofficial reports, non-Muslims outside the southern states
have been found guilty of and punished for religious offences based on Islam
(hudud), especially for failing to observe the Islamic dress code and the
prohibition of the sale or consumption of alcohol.

77.  The non-Muslims who left the south because of the war and who are now
living in displaced persons' camps are said to be under great pressure to
convert to Islam in exchange for facilities and food, or even financial
assistance, provided by Islamic humanitarian non-governmental organizations
including the Da'wah Islamiyah, which enjoys special support from the State.

78.  Non-Muslim children are said to be kidnapped in the streets and forced
to convert to the Muslim religion in Islamization centres.  Moreover, in the
"peace camps" created by the authorities in the southern states, non-Muslims,
especially children, are reportedly subject to religious indoctrination and
even circumcision and Arabization of their names, and eventually forced
conversion to Islam.  Those converted are then expected to become Muslim
fighters in the jihad and are even used as slaves, according to non-
governmental sources, although their reports are often inconsistent.

79.  The authorities and the non-governmental observers consulted in an
official context maintained that there was complete freedom of religion,
excluding any discrimination or intolerance towards non-Muslims, in a context
of coexistence between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities.  They said
several times that Islam was against enforced compliance of any kind and that
accusations of Islamization of the south, application of the Shariah to
non-Muslims, circumcisions, forced or induced conversions and slavery were
therefore quite unfounded.  They also observed that in the Sudan, all were
free to choose their religion or belief, this being a private matter, and that
churches were proselytizing and humanitarian missionary organizations were
providing assistance in order to convert people to Christianity.  During a
meeting at the Ministry of the Interior, a high-level prison official stated
that, for the sake of public order, religion should be practised in the place
of worship and not in the street.  It was, however, possible to obtain
official authorization for a public religious ceremony.  The authorities also
maintained that the problems in the southern states were purely political but
that the rebels used the religious argument in order to get foreign
assistance.  During a meeting organized by the authorities in Kaduqli, in
response to a question from an official, our interlocutors maintained
categorically and unanimously that there was no intolerance or discrimination
in the Sudan, notwithstanding any evidence to the contrary.

80.  Some non-governmental representatives consulted officially stated that
there had been abuses in the area of religion when the regime took power in
1989 but that the situation had gradually improved.  While admitting that
religious fanaticism did exist, they explained that it was not the result of
State policy but rather of the isolated actions or conduct of individuals or
groups of individuals, including civil servants.

81.  Finally, several officials felt that non-Muslims enjoyed religious

(b)  Places of worship and religious institutions and objects

82.  All the non-governmental representatives consulted in private, were
quick to denounce the intolerable situation concerning non-Muslim places of

83.  For years, they explained, all requests for building permits for places
of worship had been rejected, explicitly or tacitly, by the authorities. 
Consequently, non-Muslim communities, while acknowledging the existence of
many old places of worship, could not build additional places of worship in
order to meet the needs of their members.  The number of mosques built had
increased strongly, however.  Non-Muslims thus received unequal treatment from
the Government of the Sudan.

84.  Religious organizations, mainly foreign ones, also encountered serious
difficulties in leasing buildings to be used as places of worship, as the
owners expressed fears about the reaction of the authorities.

85.  In addition, non-Muslim communities were required to pay fees to the
State for their places of worship and religious objects.

86.  Lastly, many non-governmental representatives specifically drew the
Special Rapporteur's attention to the destruction of places of worship in the
Sudan.  In the war-torn southern states, they stated, non-Muslim places of
worship had been destroyed by the Sudanese army, mainly during aerial
bombardments, and by arson committed by groups of Muslims with ties to the
regime.  The police took no action to stop or investigate such attacks.

87.  It was reported that outside the southern states, in the displaced
persons' camps, mainly in the Khartoum area, non-Muslims had erected tents or
very modest dwellings to serve as places of worship.  Nevertheless, the
authorities had prohibited those unauthorized places of worship and had
proceeded to demolish them in the context of urban development and housing
programmes, but without providing compensation in the form of building sites
for churches.  Such demolitions had occurred at Shigla El Hag Yusif, Fetihab
and Umbada, among other places.  During his visit, the Special Rapporteur was
able to obtain from non-governmental sources a letter dated 8 September 1996
from the Ministry of Regional Development, ordering the Christian Church of
the Sudan to demolish an unauthorized church in the governorate of Krra.

88.  Lastly, places of worship outside the south were also said to have been
targeted by Muslims committing arson.  For instance, the Catholic prayer
centre at Jebel Aulia was burned in November 1995.

89.  The authorities refuted the above allegations concerning places of
worship.  To that end, the Special Rapporteur was provided with extensive and
detailed documentation offering statistical proof of the large number of
non-Muslim places of worship and religious institutions (see the table
entitled "Christian activities in the Sudan" in the annex) and attesting,
according to the authorities, to the religious tolerance of the Sudanese
State.  Requests for building permits for places of worship would not
encounter any obstacles so long as they met the requirements relating to a
sufficient number of worshippers.  The Council for International Friendship
indicated that, as in any country, there might be opposition to such requests
from extremists occupying seats on the town councils, but that efforts would
be made to eliminate it.

90.  The Minister of Defence rejected the allegations that non-Muslim places
of worship in southern Sudan had been destroyed by the Sudanese army, citing,
in particular, Islam's recognition of and respect for all places of worship.

91.  The authorities confirmed the destruction - strictly in the context of
urban development and housing programmes - of illegal places of worship
belonging to all religious groups, including Muslims, but stressed that
compensation had been provided for the building of new places of worship.

92.  The government spokesman added that the State had contributed
financially to the building of non-Muslim places of worship.  The Council for
International Friendship admitted that arson was sometimes perpetrated against
churches but felt that the incidents were isolated acts of extremists.

                                 2.  Education

93.  Non-official spokesmen deplored the implementation of an educational
policy of Islamization and Arabization which adversely affected the religious,
cultural and ethnic diversity of the various Sudanese communities.

94.  Among the problems mentioned were the following:  on the one hand,
discrimination against Christian teachers in the public schools and the
pressures faced by non-Muslim pupils to study the Koran and by young
Christians and animists to comply with the Islamic dress code; on the other
hand, the closing by the authorities of some Christian, Coptic and Armenian
schools in northern Sudan and the Islamization of non-Muslims in the displaced
persons' camps through schools administered by non-governmental organizations
which received preferential treatment from the Government.

95.  Moreover, numerous sources of information confirmed the abduction of
non-Muslim children, who were subjected, without the consent of their parents,
to an Islamization programme carried out by the Koranic schools of central and
eastern Sudan, particularly the Karia Hannan Koranic school.  In August 1996,
for instance, approximately 100 Dinka children were transported by Islamists
from Bor to the north to be Islamized.  In early 1996, Christian children from
the Nuba Mountains were also abducted in the Kaduqli area and placed in a
Koranic school in the town of Um Ruaba.

96.  Some non-governmental and foreign spokesmen believed that the
Government's Islamization and Arabization policy was aimed at uniting the
Sudan by increasing its integration and consolidating within it a nation
capable of providing firm support for the regime.

97.  The Minister of Education explained that the goal of education was to
build religious character, regardless of belief.  To that end, while
maintaining private schools for the non-Muslim communities, the authorities
had decided to institute compulsory religious education in the primary and
secondary schools, with due respect for individual beliefs.  It was explained
that the Shariah was not applied in the south and was not included in school

98.  The Minister of Justice added that religion was a basic academic subject
in which competence must be demonstrated by means by an examination in order
to obtain a study certificate.

99.  With regard to the Arabization policy, the Minister of Education noted
that it had been instituted in 1965 and had made it possible to unite the
Sudanese, who spoke several different languages.

100. Lastly, the authorities stressed again that Islam was characterized by
religious tolerance and a prohibition against coercion, particularly in
respect of conversions, and that such tolerance was traditional in the history
of the Sudan.

                3.  Employment and social and cultural matters

101. Talks with the non-governmental representatives conveyed a very distinct
impression that many non-Muslims felt themselves to be second-class citizens,
whose rights - perceived, rather, as privileges by the authorities - were not
commensurate with their duties.

102. The non-governmental spokesmen declared themselves to be victims of
marked discrimination in such areas as employment and access to the broadcast
media, and in Sudanese society in general, owing to the official policy of
Islamization and Arabization and to the holy war against infidels or
unbelievers (jihad, a term first used by the Government in 1990, even though
the conflict with the southern states had been going on for some years).

103. Non-official representatives with whom meetings were held in an official
context explained that the State recognized the right of non-Muslims to apply
their religious law in personal matters (marriage, inheritance, etc.) and that
non-believers enjoyed respect for their personal status in accordance with
their tradition.

104. The authorities, including the Minister of Justice and the Minister for
Religious Endowment, stressed the absence of religious discrimination, noting
that citizenship was the frame of reference in the Sudan and that no religious
group enjoyed a monopoly at the expense of other groups, as shown by the
presence of non-Muslims in the Government, Parliament, the administration and
the armed forces.  Lastly, according to the official spokesmen, the Sudan was
a model of tolerance, ensuring the same rights for all and even granting
privileges to non-Muslims.

                       4.  Protection of the individual

105. According to numerous non-governmental sources, non-Muslims are
subjected to religious persecution, particularly in the context of the armed
conflict in southern Sudan.  Grave violations of human rights were being
committed in the southern states, including massacres of civilians,
extrajudicial killings and summary executions, ill-treatment and torture,
rape, and abductions of women and children, who were being forcibly converted
to Islam and/or treated as slaves, for which responsibility fell mainly on the
Sudanese authorities.  Some of those violations, with certain exceptions, for
example, forced conversions to Islam, were also attributable to parties to the
conflict in the south other than the Sudanese Government and did not
constitute religious persecution by the guerrilla movements.

106. Outside the southern states, it was stated, non-Muslims were subjected
to close police surveillance, and children were abducted for the purpose of
forcible conversion to Islam.  Muslims who had converted to Christianity were
harassed by the security forces, as were religious leaders, who were
particular targets of arbitrary arrest.  Thus, in August 1996, two Catholic
priests, Father Roko and Father Elias, were arrested by the security forces
for having preached against Islam in their Sunday sermons.  They were recently

107. The authorities recalled their policy of tolerance and respect for the
rights of non-Muslims.  The Minister of Justice explained that no one was
sentenced and detained for his beliefs, but only for committing offences.  The
Minister of Defence noted that all defendants had the right to a trial and
that justice was administered in accordance with the rules of law
(particularly respect for the presumption of innocence).  Lastly, the
violations referred to above that had been committed in the south were
ascribed by the authorities to the rebels.

                           B.  Situation of Muslims

108. The Special Rapporteur wishes to point out that, during his visit, he
was able to gather information concerning the various Muslim political and
religious communities in the Sudan, particularly the Ansar order.

                                 1.  Religion

109. According to numerous non-governmental observers, the authorities had
usurped the religious sphere, claiming that they alone were in possession of
divine truth, and had perverted religion by politically exploiting Islam in
order to secure their grip on power and enforce their authority through
religious and political persecution and totalitarian methods, in complete
contrast to the historically tolerant Muslim heritage of the Sudan.

(a)  Religious activities

110. The non-governmental representatives complained about strict official
control of the religious activities of the various Muslim communities. 
Sermons could not be prepared freely by the imam in charge but had to be
submitted to a special committee established by the authorities for the
purpose of exercising control and thus ensuring a religious message consistent
with the official instructions.  Moreover, imams who refused to comply with
government orders were prevented by the security forces from preaching sermons
in the mosques; that applied, in particular to Sheikh Abdullah Amin, of the
Medina mosque; Sheikh Awad Jalal, of the Sheikh Mustafa Amin mosque;
Sheikh Mustafa Khalifa, of the Haj Idris mosque; Sheikh Jaafar Sherif, of the
Shems mosque; and Sheikh Muhammad Nur, of the Port Sudan mosque.

111. Preachers were exhorted by the authorities to use their sermons to
ensure that believers remained loyal to the regime.  All who refused were
punished by being evicted and replaced with government-appointed imams.

112. Moreover, according to some reports, the authorities strove to echo
Iranian concerns alien to the Sudanese Sunni Muslim faith.  Training camps for
foreign Muslim extremists, originally intended for the organization of violent
actions outside the Sudan, were now being used, owing to the weakening of the
State and to international pressure, for domestic repression alien to local
Islamic traditions.

113. Lastly, it was maintained that religious leaders who did not conform to
official policy were subjected to measures of harassment, curbs on their
freedom of movement, arrest, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment (see
paras. 126-132).

114. The authorities stated that the Sudan was a model of religious tolerance
and coexistence among the various religious communities.  On the subject of
Islam, it was stressed that religion meant civilization and the presence of
God in all aspects of life.  Accordingly, religion should not be confined
exclusively to the private sphere and, in particular, to the mosques. 
Furthermore, Islam excluded all types of coercion and accorded freedom to all.

That concept of Islam therefore tended, according to the authorities, to
invalidate allegations regarding the authorities' strict control over
religious matters in Muslim brotherhoods and perversion of them for political
ends, as well as the information concerning terrorism.

115. The official representatives felt that there was no religious crisis in
the Sudan.  They explained that the allegations of religious persecution of
Muslims were propaganda by the Sudanese Muslim opposition, which wanted to
seize power and objected to questioning of its autocratic control of the land
and wealth of the Sudan.  According to the authorities, the opposition
therefore uses the argument of religion for political purposes.  At the same
time, these internal conflicts are allegedly exploited by the major Powers,
which do not accept the societal model or independence of the Sudan.

(b)  Places of worship and religious institutions and objects

116. According to non-governmental organizations, there have been major
attacks on places of worship and religious institutions and objects.  In the
southern states, the allegations made regarding the destruction of non-Muslim
places of worship following bombardment by the Sudanese army and arson attacks
perpetrated by Muslim groups with ties to the Government are said to be
relevant with regard to mosques as well.  Cases of desecration of mosques have
also been reported to the Special Rapporteur.  The attacks are alleged to
result from the central Government's official policy imposing "its truth
regarding Islam on an erroneous local version of Islam" and therefore to have
religious legitimacy, as demonstrated by, inter alia, the fatwa of April 1992
(see para. 122).

117. Outside the southern states, no case of destruction of a mosque has been
brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur other than demolition in
the context of urbanization plans.  The attacks on the places of worship of
various Muslim brotherhoods are said to result from official confiscation
measures and acts of desecration by the armed forces or the police.

118. For example, with regard to the Ansar community, in May 1993 the
Government allegedly confiscated many religious properties, including the
great Mahdi mosque, which contains Mahdi's tomb and Ansar's seat, and also the
main library and several mosques, particularly in the towns of Jahawra and
Zagouna.  The confiscated great mosque of the Ansar is said to have been
desecrated by the security forces, which penetrated this sacred place with
tanks and destroyed volumes of the Koran.

119. The Ansar Al Sunna community is also alleged to have been the target of
an attack aimed at the religious leader Sheikh Abu Zeid which was perpetrated
by three individuals in February 1994 in the main Al Thawra mosque during
prayers.  In 1993, as part of a campaign of intimidation with the objective of
imposing official imams, the police forces are said to have placed their
vehicles in front of the Al Thawra and Al Sahafa mosques in Khartoum during
Friday prayers.

120. The arguments put forward by the authorities in the section concerned
with religious activities and in the section devoted to non-Muslim places of
worship are also relevant here.

                       2.  Social and political matters

121. Many non-governmental representatives expressed their opposition to the
political and forced imposition of Islam by the authorities.  This policy is
said to have affected all the sectors, both religious and civil, of society
and to have infringed on the rights of not only non-Muslims but also a
majority of the Muslims, to the detriment of Islam and the Sudan.

122. In order to illustrate their analysis of the perversion of Islam by the
Government, these observers sent to the Special Rapporteur a fatwa of
April 1992, emanating from men of religion and allegedly supported by the
authorities, which defines the attitude to be adopted in relation to the
apostates and unbelievers of Kordofan and southern Sudan:

         "The rebels of southern Kordofan and southern Sudan have risen
     against the State and have declared war on the Muslims.  Their main
     objectives are to kill Muslims, desecrate mosques, burn and defile the
     Koran and rape Muslim women.  They are encouraged in their actions by
     the enemies of Islam and of Muslims, namely the Zionists, the Christians
     and arrogant persons who provide them with supplies and weapons. 
     Consequently an insurgent, even if he was previously a Muslim, is now an
     apostate; and a non-Muslim is an infidel who is obstructing the
     expansion of Islam, and Islam authorizes Muslims to kill him."

123. In reaction to this situation of indoctrination and denial of all rights
and freedoms, non-governmental representatives referred to the Conference on
the National Democratic Alliance on Fundamental Issues, held in Asmara in
June 1995, at which the Democratic Union Party, the Umma Party, the Sudan
Communist Party, the Union of Sudan African Parties, the Sudan Peoples'
Liberation Movement and the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army, the legitimate
command of the Sudanese Armef Forces, the Sudanese Alliance Forces, the Beja
Congress, the Sudanese Trade Union and independent national personalities
adopted the following principles on the relationship between religion and
politics in the Sudan:

         "(a)  All norms and principles of human rights enshrined in regional
     and international human rights instruments and covenants shall be an
     integral part of the constitution of the Sudan and any law, decree,
     executive order or policy measure contrary thereto shall be considered
     null and void and unconstitutional;

         "(b)  All laws shall guarantee the full equality of citizens on the
     basis of citizenship, respect for religious beliefs and traditions and
     without discrimination on grounds of religion, race, gender or culture. 
     Any law contrary to the foregoing stipulation shall be considered null
     and void and unconstitutional;

         "(c)  No political party shall be established on a religious basis;

         "(d)  The State shall acknowledge and respect religious pluralism in
     the Sudan and shall undertake to promote and bring about peaceful
     interaction and coexistence, equality and tolerance among religions and
     noble spiritual beliefs, and shall permit peaceful religious
     proselytization and prohibit coercion in religion, or the perpetration
     in any place, forum or location in the Sudan of any act or measure
     intended to arouse religious sedition or racial hatred".

124. The non-governmental representatives insist in particular on a return to
the historical Sudanese Islam of tolerance and non-discrimination based in
particular on respect for the rights of the various Muslim and non-Muslim

125. The arguments put forward by the authorities in the preceding sections
reflecting their concept of Islam, together with their analysis of the
situation characterized by, inter alia, tolerance and coexistence, and the
attempts of the opposition to make political use of religion for the purposes
of power, may be considered here in response to the above-mentioned
allegations deriving from non-governmental sources.

                       3.  Protection of the individual

126. According to non-governmental sources, serious violations of human
rights in the southern states, committed primarily by the Sudanese army but
also by the conflicting parties other than the Government of the Sudan,
against non-Muslims (see paras. 105-107), in no way spare the Muslims. 
Outside the southern states, it is alleged that religious leaders and the
faithful of various Muslim brotherhoods, including the Ansar, Ansar Al Sunna,
Khatmyya and Samaniya brotherhoods, are subjected to restrictions on their
freedom of movement and also campaigns of harassment and intimidation by the

127. By way of example, concerning the Ansar, in addition to the arrests of
the former Prime Minister Sadiq Al-Mahdi, an imam of the Ansar order and the
leader of the Umma party, on charges of "involvement in subversive activities"
and of more than 200 Ansar personalities, including religious officials who
disputed this measure, followed later by their release, the Special Rapporteur
was informed that on 6 September 1996 a group of armed individuals, following
the instructions of the authorities, allegedly entered the Hija Boudnoubwa
mosque with the intention of murdering Mr. Sadiq Al-Mahdi.  After that attack
failed because of the intervention of the faithful, the authorities are said
to have ordered the arrest of members of the Directorate of Ansar Affairs,
including Al-Fade Adam, Sidiq Mohamed Jom, Al-Hadi Abdel Aziz,
Omer Abdel Rahman Omar, Isma'il Adam Ali, Abu Al-Abass Daw Al Na'im,
Isma'il Balol, Taj Al Din Bashir and Abd Allah Bashir Abu Salif.

128. In addition, all the Ansar imams are said to be regularly subjected to
police interrogations and various forms of provocation and to have been
detained for periods of from one to three months without formal charges or
sentencing because their Friday sermons did not conform with the directives of
the authorities.  For example, Imam Mohamed Mahdi Hassan of the Wad Nabawi
mosque is said to have been arbitrarily detained more than five times and to
have been subjected to mistreatment and torture.

129. Similarly, with regard to the Ansar Al Sunna brotherhood, in addition to
the attempted assassination of the religious leader Sheikh Abu Zeid in
February 1994 (see para. 119), the imam of the main Al Sunna, Shams El Din
mosque is said to have been threatened with house arrest by the security
forces, whose object is to force him to cede his position as preacher to an
imam designated by the Government.  During the same period, his muezzin is
also alleged to have been kidnapped and beaten.

130. Lastly, the imams of the Muslim Brothers brotherhood, including
Mr. Al Hibir Youssif Nour Al Dai'eim, are alleged to have been closely watched
by the security agents, particularly during Friday prayers.  In addition, they
are said to have been regularly called in by the police forces and

131. The various Muslim brotherhoods are said to be subjected to
discriminatory attitudes and policies.

132. The authorities emphasized that nobody was in detention on grounds of
religious belief or political conviction.  People were detained for offences,
such as conspiracies aimed at seizing power on the part of, among others, the
Ansar.  It was recalled, moreover, that the rules of law and justice were duly
respected in the Sudan.  Lastly, official spokesmen reiterated the arguments
put forward in connection with the Sudanese Muslim opposition (see paras. 110-


133. The Special Rapporteur studied, on the one hand, the legislation in the
field of tolerance and non-discrimination based on religion or belief and, on
the other hand, the implementation of that legislation and of the policy in
force.  His analysis covered both the situation of non-Muslims - Christians
and animists - and that of Muslims.

134. On the subject of legislation, the Special Rapporteur stressed that the
State religion, or the religion of the State, is not inherently incompatible
with human rights.  However, that fact - which is confirmed by Constitutional
Decree No. 7 - should not be exploited to the detriment of the rights of
non-Muslims and the rights derived from citizenship, which imply that there
should be no discrimination between citizens based, inter alia, on
considerations of belief or conviction.

135. In that context, with reference to the constitutional provisions
concerning the armed forces and the duty of jihad, because of the ambivalence
of the concept of jihad, which has implications that are both offensive (holy
war against infidels) and defensive (response to an attack), and because the
authorities have stated that they have opted for the defensive meaning, the
Special Rapporteur recommends that those authorities clarify, by means of an
interpretive text, the defensive meaning of the term "jihad" in order to make
sure that it is compatible with the international norms to which the Sudan has
committed itself.

136. With respect to the application of the shariah, especially to non-
Muslims, the Special Rapporteur recommends that the constitutional provisions
on the judiciary should be supplemented by legislation ensuring that the
courts take into account the customary law of non-Muslims as a guiding source
of law, to the extent, naturally, that such law is compatible with
international human rights provisions.

137. The Special Rapporteur also recommends to the authorities that they
ensure the compatibility of legislation on hudud offences with human rights
and urges that hudud penalties, because they are of exclusively Islamic
origin, should not be applied to persons who are not Muslims.

138. On the subject of proselytism, conversion and apostasy, the Special
Rapporteur wishes to emphasize the need to respect internationally established
norms in the field of human rights, including the freedom to change one's
religion and the freedom to manifest one's religion or belief either
individually or in community with others and in public or private, subject to
any necessary restrictions provided by law.

139. In this connection, specifically on the subject of conversion, the
Special Rapporteur wishes to recall general comment No. 22 (48) adopted on
20 July 1993 by the Human Rights Committee: 2/

         "The Committee observes that the freedom to 'have or to adopt' a
     religion or belief necessarily entails the freedom to choose a religion
     or belief, including the right to replace one's current religion or
     belief with another or to adopt atheistic views, as well as the right to
     retain one's religion or belief.  Article 18.2 [of the International
     Covenant on Civil and Political Rights] bars coercion that would impair
     the right to have or adopt a religion or belief, including the use or
     threat of physical force or penal sanctions to compel believers or non-
     believers to adhere to their religious beliefs and congregations, to
     recant their religion or belief or to convert."

140. With regard to legislation on public order and the treatment of
prisoners, the Special Rapporteur recommends that the authorities bear in mind
the commitments they have entered into in the field of human rights, in
particular those arising out of the ratification of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights, especially article 18.  On the question of
dress, the Special Rapporteur, while emphasizing that traditions and customs,
irrespective of their origins, are equally worthy of respect, urges that dress
should not be the subject of political regulation and calls for flexible and
tolerant attitudes in this regard, so as to allow the variety and richness of
Sudanese garments to manifest themselves without constraint.  The Special
Rapporteur recommends the revision of the Organization of Prisoners and
Treatment of Inmates Act (1992), so that any early release is not applied in a
discriminatory manner.

141. On the subject of legislation concerning education, the Special
Rapporteur recommends that the State, through the school system, promote the
development of a culture of tolerance and non-discrimination.

142. Lastly, the Special Rapporteur would be grateful if the Sudanese
authorities would inform him of the current status of the Provisional Order
and recommends more effective consultation with the churches in order to work
out legislation that does not jeopardize the free exercise of religious
activities, apart from restrictions legitimately provided for under
international law.

143. On the subject of implementation of the legislation and policy in force,
the Special Rapporteur focused his analysis, on the one hand, on non-Muslims
and, on the other, on Muslims.

144. He wishes to emphasize once more that the religion of the State, or the
State religion, is not inherently incompatible with human rights.  However, in
the application of its law and policy, the State should not take religion
under its protection in order to define its content, concepts or limits, other
than those that are strictly necessary and are provided for by article 1,
paragraph 3, of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance
and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, together with article 18 of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Such restrictions
are only authorized if they are provided for by law, are necessary in order to
ensure security, public order and public health and to protect morals or the
fundamental freedoms and rights of others, and are applied in such a way as
not to impair the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

145. With respect to the situation of the non-Muslim communities, while
noting the progress made in certain respects which deserves to be emphasized,
the Special Rapporteur must nevertheless express his concern.

146. As regards freedom of religion and belief, the Special Rapporteur
considers that there should not be any control that is likely, through
limitations and constraints on officials of religion, believers and places of
worship, to infringe the freedom of belief and the freedom to manifest one's

3153 In that connection, the Special Rapporteur considers it essential that
any conversion should be the result of free choice and not of constraint. 
Similarly, the conversion of Muslims to another religion should not give rise
to any kind of pressure, restriction or deprivation of freedom with respect to
the converted believers and the religious officials of their community.

148. Concerning the implementation of the legislation on hudud offences, the
Special Rapporteur reiterates the recommendations he made in the legislative

149. On the specific question of places of worship, the Special Rapporteur
earnestly recommends that all the limitations on the construction of new
places of worship be abolished.  As regards the destruction of places of
worship in the context of urban development plans, it is essential that
provision should systematically be made for measures of compensation, in
particular by providing sites for the construction of places of worship.

150. It is also necessary that the State should exercise its responsibility
with respect to the protection of places of worship, to ensure that such
places are shielded from religious extremism, obscurantism and the
consequences of the conflict in the south of the Sudan.

151. With respect to education, the Special Rapporteur emphasizes the need to
make allowances for the religious, ethnic and cultural diversity of the
Sudanese population and to respect such diversity in the classroom by
reflecting it in the curricula and the treatment accorded to the teachers and
pupils of the non-Muslim communities.

152. It is also vital that schools should devise teaching methods that
promote tolerance and freedom in order to make the unrestricted enjoyment of
rights and freedoms available to all.

153. On the subject of protection of the individual, the Special Rapporteur
wishes to recall that the physical and moral integrity of individuals must not
be threatened, in particular on grounds of faith or belief.

154. Lastly, the Special Rapporteur notes the measures to ease restrictions
on the travel of Sudanese and foreign religious officials and on the
distribution of religious publications.  The Special Rapporteur encourages the
extension of these positive measures in order to enable non-Muslim Sudanese to
avail themselves of all the rights and freedoms associated with citizenship.

155. Concerning the situation of Muslims, the Special Rapporteur appeals for
the various Muslim brotherhoods to be respected.  He wishes, however, to
specify that religious freedom, in accordance with international law, should
be a means of promoting tolerance and should not provide a basis for
justifying obscurantism.

156. The Special Rapporteur recommends that the religious activities of the
various Muslim brotherhoods should be conducted in full freedom, subject to
restrictions provided for by internationally established standards and any
restrictions to combat violence, extremism and obscurantism.

157. To that end, sermons should be the sole responsibility of the religious
officials, who should be able to perform their religious activities and choose
their own means of expression without any pressure, prohibition or
interference with their freedom.

158. The Special Rapporteur also considers that special efforts should be
made with respect to places of worship, which should be a forum for religious
matters alone, not political ones, and, as places of meditation and prayer,
should be protected from political tensions and controversy.  The Special
Rapporteur earnestly recommends that all the prohibitions and limitations
imposed on the places of worship of the Muslim brotherhoods should be
abolished.  Similarly, all the community property confiscated, particularly
from the Ansar Order, should be returned.

159. The State is also called on to exercise its full responsibility with
respect to the protection of places of worship and to any criminal acts of
destruction or desecration.  All manifestations of hatred and intolerance and
all acts of violence, intimidation or coercion motivated by religious
extremism or intolerance of the religion or belief of others must be condemned
and punished.

160. On the subject of protection of the individual, the Special Rapporteur
earnestly hopes that restrictions on the freedom of movement of religious
officials will be lifted and that the campaigns of harassment and intimidation
directed against them, which are also prejudicial to their followers, will
cease, thus enabling the Muslim brotherhoods to realize their full potential
without fear, constraint or self-censorship, subject, of course, to respect
for public order and the law and the avoidance of violence, extremism and

161. Finally, the Special Rapporteur considers that the overall policy
emphasizing tolerance that has been publicly declared by the authorities
should be unambiguously and unambivalently affirmed with greater determination
and be followed by specific progress within Sudanese society towards
religious, cultural and ethnic diversity.


     1/ The waqf (pl. awqaf) is a gift or legacy of an asset or a piece of
property in perpetuity to the State or other Islamic entity for holy works or
for the public good.

     2/ HRI/GEN/1/Rev.1, para. 5.


            Christian activities in the Sudan (official information)

Forms      Social    Missionary     Medical    Schools
          services   charitable    centres/      and      Accommo-
          centres    societies      clinics    institu-   dation
                                                tions               Vehicles
2            4            9           15          40         27        201
-            1            2            2           7         14          7
-            -            -            -           -          -          -
-            -            -            -           -          -          -
-            -            -            -           2          -          -
-            -            -            -           2          -          -
-            -            -            -           5          -          -
-            -            -                        -                     -
-            -            1            5           -          -          -
-            -            -            -           -          -          -
-            -            -            -           -          -          -
-            -            -            -           -          -          -
-            -            -            -           -          -          -
2            5           12           22          56         41        208

             1            1                                   1
             1            1                                   4

missionaries      Improvised      Fixed      Church              State
200                   25            25          a            Khartoum
 15                   15             4          b
  -                    1             1          c
 12                   12             3          d
  -                    1             1          e
  -                    1             -          f
  -                    6             2          a            Bahr El Goza
  -                                  1          g
  5                   10             2          a            Upper Nile
  -                    3             1          c
  -                    -             1          h
  -                    1                        i
  -                                  1          e
 75                   42             -
                       6             6          a            Bahr El Gaza
                      10             7          b
                       3                        f
                       4                        j
                       2                        c
                       2                        k
                       1                        i
                       1                        h
                      10             2
                       2             1          a            l
                                     1          g
                       1                        b
                                     1          d
                      42            18

a  Catholic.
b  Episcopal.
c  Presbyterian.
d  Anglican.
e  Sudanese interior.
f  Pentecostal.
g  Coptic.
h  Jehovah's Witness.
i  Adventist.
j  African interior.
k  New Apostolic.
l  North Kordofan.


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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