The First Session of the Civil Society Forum on Sudan and South Sudan convened in Addis Ababa on 21-23 January 2013. This three-day event was organised by Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre in collaboration with African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, Darfur Bar Association, Human Rights Institute of South Africa and South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy. The Forum was organised as a civil society contribution to the 20th session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
More than 80 participants attended the first session of the Forum. They represent independent NGOs from Sudan and South Sudan as well as Sudan-focused civil society groups from Africa and Western Europe. Senior officials from the African Union Commission, Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the United Nations and the European Union attended the First Session of the Civil Society Forum on Sudan and South Sudan.
The key objectives of the Forum are:
1. To map-out the obstacles to the realisation of durable peace in Sudan and South Sudan and to share such findings with relevant AU organs and the IGAD Secretariat;
2. To strengthen collaboration between Sudan-focused civil society groups and the IGAD Secretariat, the AU and its specialised organs such as the DPA, AUPSC, ECOSOCC, CIDO, ACHPR, PAP etc.; and 3. To harmonise advocacy activities among Sudanese and Sudan-focused civil society and present their collective vision on the on-going situation to concerned partners at the continental and the global levels.
The Forum adopted 11 resolutions addressing an array of issues in Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan.
The resolutions adopted addressed the following matters:
1. Humanitarian Situation in the Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile States
2. Armed Militias in Sudan
3. Status of Stateless Persons in Sudan
4. Human Rights Situation in the Republic of South Sudan
5. United Nations and African Union Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID)
6. Report of the African Union High-Level Panel on Darfur (AUHIP)
7. Situation in Darfur
8. Critical Situation of Women in Sudan and South Sudan
9. Civil Rights and Political Freedoms in Sudan
10. Situation in Abyei Area
11. Civil Society: Current Situation and Recommendations