Foundation discusses crucial topic of land rights

The topic of land rights is of relevance all over Sudan. The Max Planck Foundation’s Sudan team, continuously supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, held another workshop on the crucial topic of land rights.

The programme of the workshop, held in Atbara (River Nile state) from 05-07 November 2022, featured again Sudanese key experts in relevant fields. Members of the Sudan team contributed presentations on land issues, on federalism, as well as on local governance and traditional administration from an international comparative law perspective. A diverse audience of about 60 participants and key actors in the constitutional process attended the event including representatives of the Nile State government, members of the native administration, members of the former armed opposition, academics, and a strong representation of civil society groups. The social structure in Atbara differs from the one in other parts of Sudan. The traditional administration, which is strong in the South, the West and in the East is not as relevant in the North. Traditionally Atbara is an industrial city and the Communist Party is strong. The team had thus spoken to the head of the Sudan Communist Party in Khartoum in preparation of the workshop in Atbara. Owed to both, Atbara’s nature of an industrial city as well as its political landscape, question of justice, the environment, as well as ownership and distribution of resources played a particular role. Participants raised questions of environmental exploitation, individual land rights and compensation as well as the role of corporate responsibility and liability, allocation of mining rights for the private industry, expropriation of land, rights of local communities, and the role of an independent judiciary in controlling land allocation. The participants raised a total of 92 concerns and proposals, all on record with the Foundation, to be discussed in the context of the further constitutional process. The workshop formed part of the project Constitutional Reform in Sudan.