constitution articulates principles, rules
and processes that define the institutions
of the State, their duties and functions,
the relationship between such bodies and
the citizens as well as the rights and duties
of the citizenship itself.
In recognition of this pivotal issue now
when Sudan is experiencing a period of transition,
UNDP collaborated with the Ministry of Justice
to organize a series of fora in Sudan’s
15 states this month on the constitution-making
The main objective of
the workshops was to ensure a wide popular
consultative process on the drafting of
the new constitution. Through these consultative
workshops, the constitution becomes more
likely to better reflect the needs and demands
of the nation’s citizens as a whole
and, therefore, more likely to gain their
respect and support.
During the month of October, five workshops
were organized in Red Sea, Kassala, Gadarif,
River Nile and Northern states. Sudanese
representing a wide spectrum of political
and social opinions participated in the
workshops, including politicians, members
of the judiciary, students, academics, traditional
authorities, law enforcement personnel and
civil society representatives.
A number of papers were presented during
the workshops by Sudanese legal experts.
Participants stressed the importance of
legal reforms in Sudan (harmonization of
national laws with the constitution), the
need for separation of powers, federalism,
nationality issues, civil services, the
rights of minorities, having Sharia law
as a source of legislation, and the participation
of women in the constitution-making process.
The conference helped
draw attention to current thinking on constitution-making
processes in countries that have experienced
similar situations of transition. Participants
were also exposed to the nature of the debates
and the variety of processes that go into
the making of a new constitution.
The hope in involving
the public in such deliberations was to
make the decision-makers aware of what the
public needs are, by letting them express
their opinions on the principles and rules
that they value most.
In May 2011, UNDP helped organize a similar
Constitution Making Forum that served as
a platform for sharing of national and international
experiences in constitution-making processes
and for drawing lessons for constitutional
reform in Sudan. Inputs from wide-ranging
national experts were presented during the
two-day forum, in addition to special papers
on specific country experiences presented
by constitutional experts from Kenya, South
Africa and Malaysia.