Meeting in Berlin

No development cooperation with Sudan without human rights, says State Secretary Kitschelt

State Secretary Friedrich Kitschelt with Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti

05.06.2014 |

Berlin – State Secretary Friedrich Kitschelt today had a meeting with Sudan's Foreign Minister, Ali Karti. In their talks, Kitschelt pointed out that Germany would only be able to resume inter­gov­ern­ment­al de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion with Sudan if the gov­ern­ment in Khartoum undertook serious efforts to improve the human rights situ­a­tion. He also noted that the Sudanese gov­ern­ment would have to settle the armed conflicts in the coun­try and put in place vital foundations for sustained pov­er­ty reduction in Sudan. The State Secretary emphasised, in particular, the im­por­tance that the German De­vel­op­ment Ministry attached to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. He called on the Sudanese gov­ern­ment to see to it that the sentence against Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a Christian woman who has been sentenced to death, was revoked. Kitschelt said, "Human rights are universal, indivisible and not negotiable. The death sentence against Meriam Yahia Ibrahim is unacceptable!"

Prior to the meeting, Minister Gerd Müller had already condemned the death sentence in strong terms in an interview with Evangelischer Pressedienst (Protestant Press Service, epd). "Countries such as Sudan are part of the in­ter­national com­mu­ni­ty and need to comply with the standards of in­ter­national law and the rule of law, even if the coun­try is citing its in­de­pen­dence. We demand com­pliance with human rights, including the freedom of religion. The fun­da­ment­al principle is the universal right to life. It applies worldwide."

State Secretary Kitschelt also confirmed that, in the special case of the civil war-torn region of Darfur, the BMZ was upholding its com­mit­ments in support of the people there and of reconstruction efforts. These com­mit­ments total 16 million euros. He said that the BMZ was providing this support in appreciation of the conclusion of the peace agreement between the gov­ern­ment and the rebels. The funds are intended to improve the living conditions of the suffering people in the conflict region. Projects are to be imple­ment­ed on a grassroots basis, working with non-govern­mental orga­ni­sa­tions and local authorities, for instance the Darfur Regional Authority.

In the early 1990s, Germany suspended its bilateral official de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion with Sudan in response to severe human rights violations and internal conflicts that bordered on civil war. Since that time, the BMZ has only provided very limited support for non-governmental organisations' work in Sudan and for projects that directly benefit needy people.

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