Sudan’s transitional government has agreed to separate religion from the state, ending 30 years of Islamic rule in the country.
Sudanese Prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and Leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North rebel group Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu signed the declaration in Addis Ababa on Thursday.
“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 decision comes less than a week after the government signed a peace deal with rebel forces. The United States labelled Sudan a terror sponsor in 1993 and later imposed sanctions until 2017.
Islam is the largest religion in Sudan, and Muslims have dominated national government institutions since independence in 1956. According to UNDP Sudan, the Muslim population is 97%, including numerous Arab and non-Arab groups. The remaining 3% ascribe to either Christianity or traditional animist religions.