Your Excellency Justice Minister of Sudan, Dr. Nasredeen Abdulbari –
Acting Foreign Minister Omer Ismail –
Esteemed Members of Congress-
The Honorable Mr. Andrew Card, NED Board Chairman –
- Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, NED Board member-
- The Honorable Mr Carl Gershman, NED President
Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends and Colleagues.
Firstly, I would like to salute the souls of our martyrs who paid their lives in the past decades, particularly during the Youth Uprising in September 2013 and December 2018, and during the sit-in massacre of the 3rd of June.
Secondly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and thanks to the Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for their decision to use its 2020 Democracy Award to honor the people of Sudan in recognition of their courage and commitment to bringing democratic change to Sudan; also for selecting RCDCS to receive this honor on behalf of the Sudanese people.
It is my privilege and pleasure to receive this Democracy Award on behalf of the people of Sudan as it means a lot to me, to my colleagues at RCDCS, to the multitude of Sudanese civil society activists and citizen groups, indeed it means a lot to all of us:
- It is a strong recognition and acknowledgement of the important role of the civil society organizations as Champions of Change;
- It also, shed lights on the facts that civil society organizations are the key instrument through which the needs, desires and aspirations of the Sudanese people are understood; it acknowledge that the civil society is the best partner to support a peaceful and constructive environment for change in Sudan.
- In fact, civil society, in its broader concept, provides a lens through which we see the impact of governance on the Sudanese people,
- I believe this Award pays tribute to RCDCS’s passion, faith, and dedication to prevail human rights and democracy promotion, were the intangible and valuable motivation to get through many obstacles such as the challenging environment under which RCDCS was operating to meet its commitment to support democracy process in Sudan i.e. we had faced NISS raids on our offices, properties confiscation, detentions and interrogations.
- This demonstrated how through resilience, commitments, dedication of concerted efforts of solidarity with other civil groups, it would be possible to break through the challenges and barriers of the previous regime, and proceed to the dawn of freedom, peace and justice of the Great December Revolution.
- The 2020 Democracy Award will encourage and energize me, RCDCS and other CSOs to exerting more efforts and providing enabling platforms to improve effective engagement between CSOs, the government, private sectors and other stakeholders to work in partnership for the welfare of the Sudanese people, fostering good governance and contribute towards inclusive sustainable development and peaceful coexistence.
Furthermore, this Democracy Award, in addition to honoring the Sudanese people in their courageous and unique efforts to topple the longest and brutal authoritarian regime, it increases the attention on Sudan as a timely follow up to the Partners’ Conference that was convened in Berlin last month.
For Sudan to seize this historic opportunity to proceed to a full civilian governance that respect democracy and human rights, the Sudanese people need genuine and urgent cooperation and support from the international community (governmental and non-governmental institutions) to address and overcome the huge inherited challenges and obstacles facing the current Transitional Government. It is of utmost importance to enabling meaningful participation of CSOs in such support, especially in the United Nations Transitional Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNTAMS) from the beginning.
Setting up a democratic state based on equal citizenship rights in a diverse and multicultural country like Sudan; needs strong and equipped institutions and mechanisms; especially to ensure rule of law, good management of diversity, transparency and accountability and meaningful participation in decision –making by informed citizenry.
Nonetheless, RCDCS has accumulated experience in the field of mobilizing grassroots and marginalized groups, to enhance their civic engagement and participation in community development, amplifying their voices in support of fair elections, democratic processes and good governance. This had been achieved through RCDCS’ demonstrated abilities and vast experience in bringing together different stakeholders (CSOs, youth and women groups, official executives, social workers, political parties, policy makers, and legislatures and others) in social democratic dialogues, providing conducive and friendly platforms during various interventions and actions using innovative and effective partnerships between CSO, in a manner that managed to gear their efforts together and to amplify their voices towards democratic transformation. For example:
- RCDCS cofounded and led the Sudanese Groups for Democracy and Elections (SUGDE) to encourage free, fair and non-violent elections, in the period Sept 2009 -2011;
- Cofounded and led the Sudanese Initiative for Constitution Making (SICM), an alliance of 60 Sudanese civil society organizations, institutions, and individuals committed to a transparent, inclusive, and participatory constitution-making process that reflects the diversity of Sudan and leads to a constitution based on democracy, equality, citizenship, social and economic justice and fundamental human rights.
- Recently RCDCS formed its Youth Social Action Networks (NAS), with the main purpose of building a nationwide network of politically and socially active youth, improving youth participation in decision making, and preparing them as Leaders of Tomorrow’s Sudan. The trained youth are equipped with leadership, research and advocacy skills, and given knowledge on democracy promotion, conflict management, peaceful coexistence, civic engagement and communication. The youth were trained also in project management skills including planning, reporting and evaluation. During these projects, the trained youth were given the responsibility to plan community forums and seminars on issues of general concerns.
Currently, RCDCS, in collaboration with its Youth Social Action Network (NAS) and local partners has been engaged in conducting a nationwide survey of youth to document and assess the factors that limit their meaningful political participation and to identify, recommend, and advocate for the establishment of formal mechanisms to ensure active and effective youth inclusion in political processes.
- Most recently, RCDCS, in cooperation with the Sudanese Consortium for Civic Education and Good Governance, worked with the formed Resistance Committees of the various neighborhoods to develop and expand them into inclusive “Pro-democracy Neighborhood Committees” (PDNC) that would have immediate impact on promoting peaceful political transition.
In conclusion the support of partners like NED was important to help RCDCS realizing its vision, mission and objectives, especially in the areas of:
- Civic Education and Enhancing Citizens’ Participation related to democratic process with focus on marginalized communities;
- Improving Youth leadership Skills;
- Promoting Human Rights and Quality of Education;
- Promoting Peaceful Coexistence through Socioeconomic Empowerment of Women at Grassroots Level;
Thank you all for Listening.