Statement by the Beja Congress Bureau in North America
Washington, DC, Mohamed Hassan
The Beja Congress in North America has issued a statement denouncing the Asmara Peace Agreement and the subsequent
measures taken for its implantation, asserting that it has undermined the just cause of the Beja people.
Issued in Washington, D.C, on May29, 2007 by members of the Political Committee of the Beja Congress in North America and addressed to the Beja people in Eastern Sudan, the Beja Congress fighters in the liberated territories and to the Sudanese public as a whole, the statement underlined the serious flaws that marred the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement signed in Asmara October 14, 2005. “Reaffirming our unswerving adherence to the objectives and principles of the Beja Congress for the realization of a better life for our people in Eastern Sudan, and after lengthy consultations with leaders of the Beja Congress Party within the Sudan and abroad, we have reached the conclusion that the Asmara Peace Agreement, in terms of content and application, cannot serve as sound framework for the establishment of peace in Eastern Sudan,” said the Political Committee statement
The main flaws in the accord, according to the statement, were that the agreement a) did not address the real cause of the conflict and the reason why the Beja people took up arms against the central government; b) did not provide for clearly cut constitutional rights for the Beja people at the local and national level; c) reduced wealth sharing to an aid fund named a Reconstruction Fund under the management of the federal minister of finance, brushing aside the region’s many resources such as agriculture, mining, port revenues,
and totally ignoring the equitable division of wealth even at a lower percentage than that
agreed on at the Niavasha accord between the South Sudan and the central government.
The agreement did not include explicit provision for the Beja people’s right to their historical lands and the consequent right to compensation and investment; it ignored the Port Sudan massacre of 2005 and the need to prosecute those who planned and carried it out, it said. Besides, there was no mention of the right to self-determination, which is a basic human right that has to be guaranteed to all people in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The signatories of the accord avoided any reference to the Beja as a people and nationality with its own distinctive character and history, and replaced it with the term East Sudan in a “deliberate attempt to camouflage and obliterate their identity,” it noted
The agreement is further berated as being formulated in secrecy by security agencies, excluding
those primarily concerned with the issue, and
marginalizing the Beja elites who arrived in Asmara to take part in the negotiations, a fact that negatively reflected on the negotiation process.
The accord, which lacked international sponsorship and guarantees, aside from the Eritrean mediator, erroneously presumed that the offer of 6o government positions prior to the next general elections would satisfy the Eastern people.
Another anomaly that has marred the whole issue was giving predominance to the newly-created Eastern Front over the Beja Congress that has led the struggle over the years, thus dragging in fictitious entities whose only goal is stealing fifty years of political struggle by the Beja people, the committee said.
The inequitable apportionment of positions on tribal basis is unacceptable as it fosters tribal rivalries and runs counter to the norms and values that have maintained harmony among tribal groups in Eastern Sudan over the years, it added.
Reaffirming support for the popular objection to the implementation of the agreement in its current form and the determination to continue the struggle in all fields, the Committee called on the Beja fighters and their commanders to align themselves with the people’s choice to keep on the fight until total victory.