Sudan’s ruling transitional government on Thursday agreed on a deal with major rebel groups that puts an end to 30 years of rule under Islamic law and Islam as the official state religion, reported the Middle East Monitor.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and leaders of Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement-North rebel group Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu signed the declaration in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
“The state shall not establish an official religion. No citizen shall be discriminated against based on their religion,” read the declaration.
“For Sudan to become a democratic country where the rights of all citizens are enshrined, the constitution should be based on the principle of ‘separation of religion and state,’ in the absence of which the right to self-determination must be respected,” the declaration stated.
The transitional government and the rebel groups also agreed to conduct informal negotiation workshops aimed to resolve contentious issues involving the right to self-determination of all citizens.
The development comes several days after the Sudanese government agreed on a peace deal with a coalition of rebel groups in Juba, South Sudan, raising hope to bring an end to the violence that has engulfed the Darfur region and other parts of Sudan.
The Juba agreement established a national commission for religious freedom, which guarantees the rights of Christian communities in Sudan’s southern regions.
The final signing of the deal is likely to take place next month.
In related news, the Sudanese authorities have declared a national state of emergency for three months after flooding killed dozens of people in the last few days.
Lena el-Sheikh, Sudan’s minister of labour and social development, said this year floods this year have killed 102 people, injured 46, inflicted damage on more than half a million people and led to total and partial collapse of over 100,000 homes.
President Hamdok also described the floods as “catastrophic and painful.”