Canada is involved on the diplomatic front in Sudan and South Sudan through its active participation in peace processes, bilateral relations, multilateral initiatives and peacebulding.
Housed within Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and based at headquarters in Ottawa, the Sudan and South Sudan Task Force coordinates Canada's whole-of-government pursuit of sustainable peace throughout Sudan and South Sudan.
Canada's whole-of-government engagement in both Sudan and South Sudan is based on three pillars of activity - aid, diplomacy, and security – and is led by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Department of National Defence.
Canada contributed to the international effort that led to the signing and implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and supported the Darfur peace process.
From the early 1990s, Canada worked with other countries to support and strengthen the Sudan peace process led by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, which acted as a mediator between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement. This process led to the signing of the CPA on January 9, 2005, ending over two decades of civil war between Northern and Southern Sudan. The CPA represented the cornerstone of efforts to achieve lasting peace throughout Sudan. It reached its conclusion on July 9, 2011, with the independence of South Sudan.
Canada was very active on the diplomatic front and a key contributor to international efforts to ensure full implementation of the CPA. The CPA included provisions for national elections, which took place in April 2010, and for a referendum on Southern self-determination, which was held in January 2011.
Seeing the need to hold a credible and peaceful referendum as a crucial aspect of the peace agreement, Canada prioritized support to this referendum process. More specifically, Canada offered significant support to referendum preparations, including a $7-million contribution to the United Nations Development Programme's "referendum basket fund," which supported the activities necessary to hold the referendum. Canada also funded upgrades to the Southern Sudan Police Service, which increased its capacity to provide security during the referendum period and thereafter.
In August 2010, Canada hosted a joint North-South Sudanese delegation for a referendum study tour, designed to share Canada's experience with the Sudanese. In addition, Canadian observers were present during the referendum on Southern self-determination.
Along with its international partners, Canada recognized the credibility of the referendum process. Canada congratulated all parties involved for the peaceful and respectful manner in which the referendum took place and the commitment by the government in Khartoum to respect the outcome of the vote. Canada welcomed South Sudan into the community of nations on July 9, 2011, and established diplomatic relations with the new state shortly thereafter.
Despite the relatively successful conclusion of the CPA, peace between Sudan and South Sudan remains fragile. Military confrontation between Sudan and South Sudan, cross-border attacks, and civil conflict in Sudan’s northern border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, are jeopardizing the resolution of outstanding bilateral issues, and pose a threat to regional peace and stability. Unimplemented aspects of the CPA, such as the referendum on the disputed Abyei area and the absence of Popular Consultations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, have led to recent large-scale violence along the north-south border. Sudan and South Sudan have also yet to reach agreement on a range of post-independence issues that will define their future relationship, including wealth-sharing, border demarcation, Abyei's future status and citizenship. Canada has been active in urging the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to return to the negotiating table as well as pressuring the Government of Sudan to allow full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Continued international engagement, including by Canada, is required to address these flashpoints and continue efforts towards long-term peace and stability between Sudan and South Sudan.
Canada was an international partner in the Darfur Peace Process in Doha, Qatar, led by the United Nations and the African Union, and was a significant contributor to the Joint Mediation Support Team (JMST) Trust Fund. Canada actively supported the efforts of the United Nations and the African Union as they worked to bring the rebel movements together in the Doha peace talks with the Government of Sudan.
These efforts resulted in a preliminary peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and one Darfur rebel group in July 2011. Canada now serves on the agreement’s Implementation Follow-up Commission and is an observer on the Joint Ceasefire Commission. Some steps have been taken towards implementation; however, implementation has lagged behind schedule and more work needs to be done to bring in non-signatory Darfuri rebel movements.
Canada's continued presence throughout the Darfur peace talks is a testament to its commitment to support peace and stability in the Darfur region and to address the humanitarian and human rights situation.
Canadian diplomats take every possible opportunity to raise the issues of humanitarian crises and human rights violations throughout Sudan and South Sudan in international and multilateral fora, such as the G8, the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations, the International Organization of La Francophonie and other informal groups. As a state party, Canada supports the investigations led by the International Criminal Court in Darfur.
In particular, Canada plays a very active role on the Human Rights Council to ensure sustained involvement by the Council and its institutions in monitoring respect for human rights in Sudan. Canada, along with the United States, co-chairs the group "Friends of UNAMID," which meets on a periodic basis to coordinate support and policies relating to this peace mission.
Additionally, until January 2012, Canada chaired the Humanitarian Donor Working Group, fostering coordination among donor countries to respond to the numerous humanitarian crises in Sudan and South Sudan. Among other initiatives, this group has sought to coordinate international efforts to secure humanitarian access in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada is in regular contact with the Sudanese Embassy in Ottawa. Similarly, the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum maintains ongoing dialogue with the Sudanese government. Members of Canada's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, as well as a number of senior Canadian officials and diplomats throughout the world, play an active role in peace efforts throughout Sudan, including Darfur.
Canada takes every appropriate opportunity to raise its concerns for the humanitarian and security situation in Sudan as well as to promote Canada's foreign policy priorities of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Canada's position is that improved bilateral relations between Canada and Sudan are contingent on the Government of Sudan's willingness to take steps toward maintaining a peaceful relationship with the Republic of South Sudan and its other neighbours, ending the current fighting in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and improving the overall human rights situation across the country.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada is in regular contact with South Sudanese representatives based in Ottawa. Canada's five government officers based in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, maintain an ongoing dialogue with Republic of South Sudan officials. Canada's officers based in Juba are accredited to the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi.
In its bilateral relations with South Sudan prior to and following independence, Canada has continued to stress the need for institutional improvements to protect human rights, increase governmental accountability and transparency, and enhance political reconciliation efforts within the South.
Canada has implemented a number of national measures against Sudan in response to the current human rights and humanitarian situation, and in support of its policy for peace in this country.
These measures include:
In addition, Canada has implemented in Canadian domestic law the sanctions mandated by the United Nations Security Council, including an arms embargo as well as an asset freeze and travel ban directed against designated persons. The latest report to the United Nations Security Council can be read here. For more information, please visit Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada's Canadian sanctions website.