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U.S. religious freedom delegation visits North Darfur

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June 26, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Vice Chair of U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Sandra Jolley and her accompanying delegation on Monday visited North Darfur State to learn about the situation of religious freedom and conditions of displaced persons.

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Sandra Jolley (Photo USCIRF)

Jolly who is a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or (the Mormon Church) has worked for decades in Nevada advocating for women rights and families.

Following her meeting with the acting governor of North Darfur State Mohamed Biraima, Jolley expressed keenness to promote freedom of belief, religions and relations among peoples within the framework of world peace.

For his part, Biraima stressed North Darfur enjoys peace and stability, pointing to their respect for all religions and religious minorities.

According to Ashorooq TV, Biraima reviewed his government efforts to address effects of war, collect illicit arms and secure voluntary return of displaced persons as well as efforts to combat illegal migration and human trafficking.

He called on the U.S. and the European Union to support Sudan’s efforts to combat negative phenomena, urging the former to lift his country’s name from the terror list.

Last January, the U.S Department of State named Sudan among “Countries of Particular Concern” for severe religious freedom violations. This group comprises nations that violate religious freedom in a “systematic, ongoing, egregious” manner.

In October 2017, Washington decided to lift economic sanctions on Sudan in line with a five-track framework reached by the two countries in December 2016. Khartoum, accordingly, authorized humanitarian access to civilians in Darfur and unilaterally declared a cessation of hostilities in Darfur, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

The two countries agreed to resume talks on the normalization of bilateral talks and the lift of remaining sanctions particularly Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorist groups. The measure is crucial to get a debt relief and allow Sudan to get international aid to build its economic infrastructure.

In November 2017, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, was in Khartoum to launch the second phase of the normalization process and pointed to the need for reforms on human rights and religious freedom. Also, the two countries agreed to engage in written exchanges for Sudan’s removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

(ST)

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