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Notes for remarks by Hon. David Kilgour
Booth Building
23 March 2011

During the transitional period leading to the July 9th independence of South Sudan, it is important the Canadian and other governments be engaged fully in Khartoum, Darfur, Abyei and South Sudan.


Law enforcement authorities in Khartoum unfortunately continue to violate fundamental rights. On March 8, for example, riot police arrested and beat dozens of women shortly after they attempted to stage an International Women’s Day protest in the city of Omdurman. Attention must be drawn by Canada to the guarantees of freedom of expression and freedom from arbitrary arrests in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Sudan has ratified.

If the government in Khartoum demonstrates enough good will before and after July 9, Canada could remove it from our list of terrorist organizations. This might help build peace and security in the region, although I’m certainly not advocating that President al-Bashir’s rendezvous with the I.C.C be cancelled. Canada and other countries could also forgive some of Khartoum’s huge debt.


We must continue to maintain focus on Sudan’s region of Darfur. Peacekeepers there have been urged by UNAMID to be more aggressive in protecting people caught up in the fighting and to stop waiting for Khartoum’s clearance to do so. As a result, peacekeepers are now going out on 130 patrols a day (rather than 90) to camps and remote areas and are not requesting permission of the government of Sudan to do their duty. Canada should be more active in the Darfur peace process, partly because unrest there will create more security issues in the South.

South Sudan

The remaining months of negotiations prior to July 9 involve having to deal with some very difficult issues:

  • Abyei: On March 4th, the U.N. independent expert on human rights warned that escalating violence in the disputed and highly volatile area of Abyei could derail the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended Sudan’s civil war. The setting of boundaries in oil-rich Abyei region is crucial. Canada can help and push for the formation of the Abyei referendum commission; by doing so, it could remove a major obstacle.
  • Good Governance: South Sudan must ensure that the Khartoum model is not transferred to its new capital. One lesson from elsewhere across Africa is that economic renewal and democratisation best go hand in hand.

    As Hustin Laku of Ottawa said on TVO’s Steve Paikin show, South Sudan should create an African model of democracy rather than seeking to import practices from elsewhere. Permit me to add some other governance suggestions by Laku:

    • “The SPLM must understand and apply the concept of 'servant leadership' in the new South Sudan state. Robert Greenleaf explains ‘the great leader is first experienced as a servant to others’. According to Greenleaf, ‘a servant leader is one who … wants to serve others first, and to make sure that other people's highest priority needs are being served’.”
    • “The way ahead is creation of a multi-national state that subscribes to the principles of equality, acceptance, respect, freedom, separation of religion from state, peace, collaborative governance, reconciliation initiatives… and an awareness of common values... Failure to do so (will cause) the 63 plus tribal groups (to) rebel against the South Sudan government because the government is not inclusive...”
    • “It is important that the new government in Juba encourage the role of the Diaspora in the development of South Sudan.” Canada’s former ambassador to Sudan, John Schram, has noted that Canada and the estimated 40,000 Sudanese-Canadians across this country are willing to help with infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals.
    • “It is important that women be (equal to men in) the new South Sudan state” (The late John Garang, revered leader of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement, once said that women are the “poorest of the poor and the marginalized of the marginalized.”)
    • “Equal representation from all groups…(The) SPLM leadership can talk about unity, but unity will not exist without fight(ing) against tribalism, corruption, nepotism, and ethnic favouritism.”
    • “Maintain a peaceful relationship with the North for the peace of the region.”


I would urge the need for cooperation and interaction with the international community based on the principles of representative democracy, equality of all persons and the rule of law.

Canada and other nations should be positioning themselves now to assist as requested. Our taxpayers have sent about $800-million to Sudan since 2006; Canada still needs to keep Sudan as one of its foreign policy priorities.

The people of South Sudan are struggling to surmount the tests imposed on them by the international community. Now is the time for us to recognize the emerging credibility of South Sudan by actively seeking to engage the Southern Sudanese leadership in governance training in democratic principles and diplomacy as they build their government virtually from scratch. We should permit their leaders to come to Canada to train in the strengths and workings of federalism. A free and accountable nation of South Sudan is at stake.

Thank you.

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