UNMIS, UNDP and 5 other UN entities (UN Women, WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR and UNFPA), in collaboration with the Advisory Council for Human Rights, are holding a forum on 24-25 May 2011 at the Burj al-Fateh in support of constitution-making processes in Sudan. The forum is intended to draw attention to current thinking on constitution-making processes in countries that also experienced situations of transition. Participants have been drawn from government, civil society in their individual capacity. By involving a broad range of views in a constitutional process, the Government will not only benefit from a better text, but one that is more likely to reflect the needs and demands of the nation as a whole and therefore gain the respect and support of all Sudanese. UN entities and donor representatives will be attending the forum as observers.
To illustrate, the forum will examine and discuss three constitution-making processes:
• Kenya: Although the process leading up to Kenya’s new constitution required several drafts and almost 20 years, it led to a constitution developed by virtue of an open dialogue across society. The resulting draft constitution was adopted with overwhelming support in a 2010 referendum following an intense civic education campaign led by the Kenyan Government. Presentation by PLO Lumumba (Kenya)
• South Africa: Political parties, some of which were affiliated with civil society organizations, were at the centre of negotiations that led to South Africa’s most recent constitution. Throughout the transition period, the constitutional process was organized around multi-party negotiating forums; occasionally, parties engaged in bilateral talks in attempts to resolve differences. Presentation by Mr. Hassen Ebrahim (S. Africa)
• Malaysia: An examination of a constitution-making process in a State with a Islamic majority. Presentation by Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi
At the end of the conference, participants should reach some consensus on how to approach Sudanese constitution-making in a participatory manner appropriate to the Sudanese experience.