El Obeid (Agenzia Fides) - "The first good news to report is that the ceasefire still holds up in the Country. Of course, there are still many aspects to be addressed and also some outbreaks of inter-ethnic or tribal conflict in Darfur that had never happened before, but we can say we are satisfied. It is essential to go beyond the concept of a 'religious State' to build stable peace and give the nation an identity. From a political point of view, I consider a big step forward the fact that this week the 18 State governors have been appointed and they are all an expression of civil society: it is the first time, and moreover, two of them are women": this is what Mgr. Yunan Tombe Trille, Bishop of El Obeid, Sudan, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sudan and South Sudan says to Agenzia Fides, talking about the new political phase that the African Country is going through, the prospects for peace and the situation of the Church.
Sudan continues, in fact, in the process of democratization and modernization. On 11 July, General Abdelfattah El Burhan, President of the Sovereign Council, signed a series of measures that go beyond some of the most controversial rules based on the "sharia", and introduce principles that increase citizens' guarantees and reduce discrimination and violations of rights. The path is still long and the road taken is also the result of mediation for peace processes between the executive and armed groups in action in South Kordofan, Darfur and the Blue Nile State.
According to Bishop Tombe Trille, the female issue as well as that of civil freedoms play a decisive role in this phase of democratic transition and some of the measures taken by the government, such as the abolition of the death penalty for citizens of Islamic faith who convert to a different religion and the norms that subjected woman to man, are going in the right direction.
"There are positive signs towards freedom of expression and the practice of female genital mutilation has been definitively criminalized. During the pandemic, for the first time, Christians were considered on the same level as Muslims and the statements regarding the cult or precautions to be taken, equated without distinction of faith. This reassured us. However, some issues remain to be addressed, such as the issue of property confiscated from the Church in the past, or the fact that we do not yet have direct interlocutors in the government for questions concerning the life of the Church". The Bishop concludes with a prospect of hope: "We have left many years of dictatorship and it takes time for things to definitely take the right direction. We hope that soon we will have a sovereign Parliament that legislates in defense of the population and that finally we can talk about Sudan as a Country in peace". (LA) (Agenzia Fides, 29/7/2020)