The Orthodox Church in Sudan has been granted permission to build a place of worship on land it owns in Hay-Elrawda, Omdurman, after initially being denied by the Urban Planning Department, which had claimed that the land was only authorised for residential purposes.
CSW sources report that permission was granted on 16 July after the governor of Khartoum state, Ayman Khalid Nimir, was asked to review the case by the government.
The governor also reportedly dismissed Nagi Abdalla, the executive director of Khartoum Bahri locality, who is allegedly responsible for violations against the Sudanese Evangelical Presbyterian Church (SEPC) which took place under the al Bashir regime. During his rule, Mr Abdalla signed numerous contracts with illegitimate committees which resulted in the destruction of properties belonging to the church.
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW welcomes the reversal of the legally questionable and discriminatory decision to deny the Orthodox Church the right to build on its own land; however, we remain concerned by the lack of a clear process for the registration and construction of churches. We also welcome the dismissal of Nagi Abdalla, and now call for an urgent review of the contracts he signed which led to the destruction of church properties in Khartoum Bahri. While we welcome the positive steps taken in this case, we remain concerned by the way the Sudanese government appears to resolve these cases on an ad-hoc basis. This decision-making process was adopted by the previous regime and it fundamentally undermines rule of law and good governance. We call for the formulation and implementation of clear and transparent processes for the construction and registration of places of worship, in order to ensure that all religious groups are treated equally.”