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EU envoy asks Sudanese lawmakers about churches demolition

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March 16, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The European Union Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion Jan Figel has asked Sudanese legislators about the situation of Christians in the country and the demolition of some churches.

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South Sudanese worshippers attend Sunday prayers in Baraka Parish church at Hajj Yusuf, on the outskirts of Khartoum, February 10, 2013 (Reuters)

Following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, seven former Sudanese dioceses moved to South Sudan leaving only two dioceses for the small Christian minority mainly in South Kordofan and Khartoum states.

The visiting European Union envoy Thursday met Sudanese Members of Parliament (MPs) at the National Assembly where he discussed issues related to religious freedom and the situation of Christians particularly.

According to the Chairman of the Legislation and Justice Committee at the National Assembly, Ahmed al-Tijani, the European envoy during his meeting posed a number of questions about the demolition of some churches.

Al-Tijani said the MPs told him that the Freedom of belief is sanctioned by the Constitution, and the state does not impose any religious belief or practice on its citizens.

He added that the lawmakers pointed out that the churches have been removed because of a dispute over land ownership, and reaffirmed that some mosques have been demolished for the same reason.

He pointed out that churches have been established across the Sudan, adding that during religious events and holidays Muslims and Christians exchange congratulations and reach each other, creating an environment of coexistence and tolerance.

Tijani said that the meeting had been requested by the EU visiting envoy who besides religious freedom discussed also a number of human rights issues.

Figel, according to the Sudanese legislator, during the meeting touched on the role of women in politics and their representation in the executive and legislative organs in the country.

Last February, there were reports that Khartoum state authorities decided to demolish 25 churches. However, the decision has been suspended.

(ST)

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