By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
August 10, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – Sudanese activists in the fields of Art, culture and education wrote a letter to Sudanese political leaders who have gathered in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, urging to resume talks for peace in Sudan.
The calls come as the Sudanese government and opposition groups: SPLM-N, the Darfur armed movements and opposition alliances begin ceasefire talks.
Sudanese government and armed opposition negotiating teams on Darfur and South Kordofan and Blue Nile began direct talks on Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The direct talks comes after opposition umbrella, Sudan Call on Monday signed roadmap to peace.
Journalists have witnessed the start of the face-to-face talks as the African Union chief mediator, Thabo Mbeki, brings both sides in to the meeting room where they would engage in cease fire negotiations.
Delegations of the two sides said they are optimist that there will be a fruitful outcome out of the latest negotiations hence all opposition groups are in presence and the parties have shown commitment for peaceful settlement to the crises in Sudan.
Darfur peace talks are expected to commence later this week.
As direct talks commence Sudanese activists from all walks of life appeal for peace agreement and end to ongoing war in Sudan.
Some activists who are invited to join the talks told Sudan Tribune that a total of 103 Sudanese artists, writers, musicians, novelists, and intellectuals have signed a letter calling on the Sudanese political factions to give peace a chance and prioritize the interest of the people.
“We are writing to remind you of our issues whose importance and relevance, we believe, have not been absent from your minds” the activists said in their letter written in Arabic.
The activists urged the negotiating parties to address the grievance of the public before signing any peace agreement.
“We’re full of confidence and trust that your preliminary agreement on theses issues will accelerate the process of implementation before you negotiate or sign any further agreements address the complicated political issues of Sudan”
They demanded issues of education, economic crises, and children related issues and Culture and arts to be addressed during the peace negotiations.
“The problems of education in Sudan have reached at a critical stage” they said.
They added high fees in public school are preventing Sudanese children to their rights to basic education and urged the politicians to reach an agreement address the issue.
They further noted an urgent need for focusing in the issues of education in the war affected areas.
With regard to children matters they called on the negotiation political parties to decide on inciting several medical, social and educational experts for a conference regarding childhood problems in Sudan, with prior agreement from all political factions to implement its outputs regardless of their agreement or disagreement in the other political problems.
They stressed a need to consider involving the Sudanese scholars, artists, athletes and other important categories in the preparations and work of National constitutional conference.
Giving them a chance they said will allow for them to put their views on the urgent national issues and present their causes and issues in the national table.
They underscored a need to allow the registration of the cultural and sport societies and centers and give them the complete liberty in conducting their constructive activities in an effective manner within the limits of the legal frameworks.
The activists called on the warring factions to agree on urgent practical process and procedures to stop the current fighting and war in various areas of the country.
They urged them to stop this war, and put the arms to the ground and let the people to focus on relieving the impact of the war on the people in the affected areas.
BARAKA ECOES “NO FOR WAR”
One among the Sudanese activists participating at the peace talks is Baraka Sakin, a prominent Sudanese writer based in Austria.
He was invited to take part at the peace process by the AU mediation.
Barakà said he is at the venue along with other activists to appeal for peace.
"I am here to support the process and share my point of view in finding a way out of the conflict" he told Sudan Tribune.
He said the activists are here to echo the people’s voice "No for war"
The letter written by the Sudanese activists intends to pressure the politicians reach in a lasting peace accord.
"I hope the politicians will this time listen to the appeal of all these people and sign the peace agreement to end the war"
Baraka says the root causes of the conflict in Sudan are not only political but also cultural hence the process demands to embrace engagement of the civilian community.
"Our country is equally important to us as it is important for them [the politicians] and all citizens should be part of the peace process to achieve durable peace in Sudan" he added.