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European MP calls to support peace and democratic reform in Sudan

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June 16, 2015 (PARIS) - A member of the European Union Parliament called to reconsider the Khartoum Process on human trafficking in a way to support peace and democratic reforms in the Horn of Africa countries, particularly in Sudan.

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EU Parliament member Marie-Christine Vergiat (Photo GUE/NGL)

Marie-Christine Vergiat, a member of the committee on Civil Liberties and Justice at the European Union Parliament criticized the EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative, also known as the ‘Khartoum Process’ saying the African government involved in this process are the ones which should be held accountable for causing this recent waves of illegal migration into Europe.

In a meeting held in Rome on 28 November 2014, EU countries and Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia South Sudan, Sudan and Tunisia agreed to coordinate efforts to stop human trafficking and smuggling of migrants between the Horn of Africa and Europe.

They further agreed to promote sustainable development in countries of origin and transit in order to address the root causes of irregular migration.

Vergiat said the Italian presidency of the European Union, at the time, played a negative role by talking directly with the heads of state and government in the whole countries in the Horn of Africa in way to legitimize them and give them some credibility.

"From the beginning, I have been opposed to the Khartoum Process because I do not see how we can work with those governments, as they are fully involved in the trafficking issue. Instead, we risk reinforcing the repression of people looking to immigrate because they are victims of violence and conflicts," she said.

"So, if the EU really wants to find solutions to these issues we must first stop legitimizing those governments," added the EU legislator who is a member of the European United Left - Nordic Green Lef.

The French lawmaker who organized a hearing for the opposition "Sudan Call" forces at the EU parliament in Strasbourg on 9 June pointed out that the Sudanese opponents deserve a special treatment because they worked hard to unify their ranks.

She added that they are also interested by the situation of the human rights in countries like Eritrea but divisions among the opposition forces there prevent them from engaging in constructive dialogue with them.

"So, from the moment that there is an organized opposition, able to work together, make proposals and meet European officials, I think it can be intelligently argued to deliver a counter-model and demonstrate that in these countries there can be no solution without implementing peace processes involving all stakeholders in a genuine and serious dialogue," she said to explain her position on Sudan.

Vergiat disclosed that the EU civil liberties committee would receive Sudanese civil society groups during the upcoming period. She further said that they seek to mobilize EU MPs and draw attention to the Sudanese issue and to work closely with the foreign affairs committee at the European Parliament.

The Sudan Center for Transitional Justice and Peace Studies (SCTJPS), which supported the hearing of the Sudanese opposition forces earlier this month also confirmed the meeting with the Sudanese civil society groups.

SCTJPS officials told Sudan Tribune that the EU MPs agreed to received them and they are seeking to determine a date for this meeting, pointing that Sudan is not the only priority at the agenda of the EU Parliament.

Vergiat said they need to hear the civil society groups particularly those who had been prevented by the Sudanese authorities from participating in the hearing of the "Sudan Call" forces.

The Sudanese security services imposed a travel ban on the rights groups and political leaders who were invited to participate in a meeting with the European legislators on the perspectives of peace in Sudan after the general elections held last April.

(ST)

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