U.S. removes Sudan from list of religious freedom violators

 

December 21, 2019

 

By Sudan Tribune

 

WASHINGTON – The US State Department on Friday has removed Sudan from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) on Religious Freedom, 20 years after its designation.

The removal from the religious freedom blacklist intervenes as the new transitional government in Khartoum struggles to normalize bilateral relations with Washington and remove the country from the terror list.

In a statement released on the countries violating religious freedom, the State Department said Sudan has been added to a Special Watch List (SWL) for countries where the religious freedom remains fragile but the violation does not rise to the statutory level requiring CPC designation.

“Sudan was moved to the SWL due to significant steps taken by the civilian-led transitional government to address the previous regime’s “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom,” said the State Department.

Sudan was the only country removed from the list which now includes nine countries: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

Hamdok government took several measures to ensure religious freedom in the country and considers to restore the churches confiscated or destroyed by the al-Bashir government.

The U.S. Department of State had designated Sudan as a CPC since 1999.

The government did not react as Friday is a holiday in the country. But, the decision was welcomed by Sudanese as they circulated it via WhatsApp and through social media.

For many, it gave them the hope that their country will be removed soon from the list of State Sponsor of Terrorism before a donor conference that will take place next April.

The improvement of religious freedom in the country is one of the requirements set by the Trump administration before to rescind Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.

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