*This paper is broadly based on a study prepared by the authors for the Inter-Africa Group, a regional non-governmental organization, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, committed to dialogue on humanitarian and peace issues in Africa. Inter-Africa has been assisting the IGADD Mediation Committee through an informal Resource Persons Group, comprising mostly prominent personalities from the Horn of Africa region. The IGADD process in relation to Sudan is briefly explained below. All the views and conclusions presented here are the exclusive responsibility of the two authors, and are in no way to be attributed to the IGADD Mediation Committee or any other participant in the IGADD process.
Self-Determination and Unity: The Case of Sudan
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
Law & Policy
Volume 18, Issue 2-3, pages 199–223, July 1996
How to Cite
AN-NA'IM, A. A. and DENG, F. M. (1996), Self-Determination and Unity: The Case of Sudan. Law & Policy, 18: 199–223. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9930.1996.tb00171.x
ABDULLAHI A. AN-NA'IM is Professor of Law at Emory University in Atlanta, Grorgia, U. S. A. Dr. An- Nai'im is a citizen of Sudan, and was Associate Professor of Low at the University of Khartoum until 1985. Since then, he has served as a visiting professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and Uppsala university, Sweden. He was Executive Director of Human Rights watch/Africa from July 19893 to April 1995.
FRANCIS MADING DENG is a Senior Fellow and head of the Africa Project in the Brookings Institution's Foreign Policy Studies Program. He is also the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Internally Displaced Persons. After receiving his LL.B from Khartoum University in Sudan, Dr. Deng pursued post-graduate studies in Britain and the United States and received his doctorate (J.S.D.) from Yale Law School in 1968. He then served as Human Rights Officer in the U.N. Secretariat in New York. He then joined Sudan's foreign service, where he served as Ambassador to Canada, Scandinavian countries and the United States, and as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for five years. Leaving the foreign service in 1983, Dr. Deng joined the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, first as Guest Scholar and later as Senior Research Associate. He was the first Rockefeller Brothers Fund Distinguished Fellow and one of the first Jennings Randolph Distinguished Fellows of the United States Institute of Peace. While in the U.N. Secretariat, Dr. Deng taught Legal Anthropology at New York University, African Law at Columbia Law School, and after leaving the foreign service, was a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School, where he gave seminars on law and nation-building in Africa. Dr. Deng has authored or edited twenty books. His latest Brookings publications include War of Visions: Conflict of Identities in the Sudan (1995); Protecting the Dispossessed: A Challenge for the International Community (1993); Challenges of Famine Relief: Emergency Operations in the Sudan with Larry Minear (1992); Conflict Resolution in Africa, co-edited with I. William Zartman (1991); and Human Rights in Africa: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, co-edited with Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im (1990).
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
Taking national unity to be desirable but not at any cost, the authors explore the conditionality of unity on genuine and lasting realization of the people's right to self-determination through the political stability, economic development, and social justice for all citizens of a country, both individually and collectively. While emphasizing that secession and separate statehood are not the only way for realizing a people's right to self-determination, the authors argue that this option must be considered seriously when a people is denied their right to self-determination within the country. If this right is satisfied within an existing state, it is extremely unlikely that a minority would opt for the high political, economic, and security risks of separate statehood. But without that option, a majority may have little incentive to address the grievances of the minority. Applying their analysis to the civil war in Sudan, the authors propose a clear set of criteria and mechanisms for evaluating standards of achievement for self-determination with unity within a specific time. Should the conditions of unity fail to materialize, the possibility of peaceful and orderly secession must be considered.