The Center for Religious Freedom
Institute on Religion and Democracy
held a discussion on
Promoting Religious Freedom in Sudan
Mr. Joshua Dau Diu
Commissioner, The Special Commission for the Rights of Non-Muslims in the National Capital of Sudan
Nina Shea, Moderator
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
The Walter and Betsy Stern Conference Room
Nina Shea and Joshua Dau Diu
Joshua Dau Diu is the Commissioner for The Special Commission for the Rights of Non – Muslims in the National Capital of Sudan, Khartoum. The Commission was established in 2007, two years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Mr. Diu contributed as an observer during the peace negotiation in Kenya in his capacity as the secretary for foreign relations for the 'Union of Sudan African Parties' now called 'United Sudan African Party – USAP.
Mr. Diu received a master's degree in theology in Lebanon and became lecturer at Bishop Tuker Theological College in Uganda in from 1974 -1976, then relocated to Kenya where he joined St. Paul's United Theological College as a lecturer from 1976 -1978. He joined the Regional Government of South Sudan as the Director of Religious Affairs from 1978 – 1979.
Mr. Diu's passion to support the large population of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps around the outskirts of Khartoum led him to join the Council for the South for Education of the IDP as Director from 1986 – 1991. He subsequently established a private school for IDPs in Khartoum. This institution, which enabled many South Sudanese and other marginalized people in the IDP camps around Khartoum to complete their high school and obtain a Sudan high school certificate, was especially critical for those who had skipped a number of education levels by being displaced during two decades of war.
Over two million persons from the largely Christian and African traditionalists population of South Sudan were killed during the two decades of the North-South conflict, and five million more were displaced – many in IDP camps surrounding Khartoum. A fragile peace has held since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Accord, which the United States helped broker. The North-South war was triggered when Khartoum threatened to forcibly impose sharia law on the non-Muslim south and the south rebelled. One of the provisions of the 2005 peace agreement is that non-Muslim Sudanese living in Khartoum should have complete religious freedom. The commission headed by Mr. Diu was created to implement that provision.