African Human Rights Law Journal
On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X
ABDULBARI, Nasredeen. Identities and citizenship in Sudan: Governing constitutional principles. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2013, vol.13, n.2, pp.383-414. ISSN 1996-2096.
In several states across the globe, the relationship between the state and its cultural, religious, ethnic, and tribal components is still an issue of fierce constitutional and political debate, both at formal and informal levels. A nation's inability to properly deal with this sensitive question, through adherence to certain constitutional principles, makes it susceptible to instability and insecurity, and probably dichotomy and fragmentation. This article argues that the general recognition of diversity in a specific state is not, by itself, enough to guarantee peace and stability for that state. An impartial state which treats its diverse components equally is a conditio sine qua non: for the stability and peace of heterogeneous societies. The idea that modern states are not nation states reflects the need to draw a clear line of distinction between identities and the state as an institution which should occupy itself with the interest of all its components, rather than the interests of one or some of its components only, and promote the peaceful co-existence of its diverse groups and elements, on the one hand, and lay down the rules that are essential to its advancement, on the other. The post-colonial history of Sudan unequivocally demonstrates that the country's successive national governments have failed to do so. If the post-9 July 2011 Sudan is to avoid wars, conflicts and further fragmentation, then it is necessary for the state to treat Sudan's different ethnic and religious groups equally and to reflect such equal treatment in its policies.