The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom or the USCIRF commended the $356.2 million commitment to Sudan for “development aid and democratic transition programs.”
It was a pledged announced on June 25, 2020 at the Berlin Donor Conference. The purpose of the convening at the conference was to ensure the economic situation in Sudan does not harm its democratic aims.
“We are encouraged by the United States’ decision to provide such robust financial support to a government that is committed to reforming its political system and ensuring all Sudanese people are free to practice their faiths,” a Vice Chair of the USCIRF, Tony Perkins, said, “USCIRF urges the U.S. government to allocate a portion of this funding to programs that support comprehensive curricular improvements, legal and constitutional reform, and other transitional justice measures.”
With such a pledge, one can note the increase in the development assistance compared to Sudan from 2019 based on reportage by the USCIRF about the USAID administrator, as the source, John Barsa.
From a visit to Washington, D.C., in December of 2019, Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister of Sudan, emphasized the international support as completely important for the ‘advancement of civil liberties and political freedoms.
The USCIRF Vice Chair, Anurima Bhargava, explained the importance of international partnership alongside the support of the United States for a democratic transition. The funds are expected to “institutional, legal, and educational reforms to enhance religious freedom, and the processes necessary to ensure proper implementation of these (and earlier) reforms in every region of the country.”
Both vice chairs travelled to Sudan in February, 2020, to see the conditions for religious freedom in Sudan. Even with the significant progress of the Sudanese government, there was still work needing doing to appropriately attend to the religious freedom abuses of the former regime.
The USCIRF concluded, “USCIRF recommended in its 2020 Annual Report that the Department of State maintain Sudan on its Special Watch List (SWL). This was the first time since 2000 that USCIRF had not recommended Sudan for designation as a ‘country of particular concern’ for systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”
With files from the USCIRF.