Sudan 2005 Constitution

Table of Contents


We the people of the Sudan

Grateful to Almighty God who has bestowed upon us the wisdom and will to reach a Comprehensive Peace Agreement that has definitively put an end to the longest running conflict in Africa,

Having survived the tragic consequences that have characterized that debilitating conflict,

Mindful of religious, racial, ethnic and cultural diversity in the Sudan,

Committed to establish a decentralized democratic system of governance in which power shall be peacefully transferred and to uphold justice, equality, human dignity and equal rights and duties of men and women,

Further committed to gearing governance, in the coming phase of our political advancement, towards the enhancement of economic development, promotion of social harmony, deepening of religious tolerance and building trust and confidence in the society generally,

Committed to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of January 2005, guided by the 1998 Constitution and the Sudanese constitutional experience since independence and other relevant experiences,

Cognizant of conferences and the initiative of inclusive popular dialogue and agreements of peace and national reconciliation, particularly the Cairo Agreement signed in June 2005, and prospects of other peace agreements to end conflicts in the country,

Do hereby adopt this Constitution as the supreme law by which the Republic of the Sudan shall be governed during the Interim Period; and we undertake to respect and protect it.



1. Nature of the State

  1. The Republic of the Sudan is an independent, sovereign State. It is a democratic, decentralized, multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-lingual country where such diversities co-exist.
  2. The State is committed to the respect and promotion of human dignity; and is founded on justice, equality and the advancement of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  3. The Sudan is an all embracing homeland where religions and cultures are sources of strength, harmony and inspiration.

2. Sovereignty

The sovereignty of the nation is vested in its people and shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and the law, without prejudice to the autonomy of Southern Sudan and the states.

3. Supremacy of the Interim National Constitution

The Interim National Constitution shall be the supreme law of the land. The Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, state constitutions and all laws shall comply with it.

4. Fundamental Bases of the Constitution

This Constitution is predicated upon and guided by the following principles:-

  1. the unity of the Sudan is based on the free will of its people, the rule of law, decentralized democratic governance, accountability, equality, respect and justice,
  2. religions, beliefs, traditions and customs are the source of moral strength and inspiration for the Sudanese people,
  3. the cultural and social diversity of the Sudanese people is the foundation of national cohesion and shall not be used for causing division,
  4. the authority and powers of government emanate from the sovereign will of the people exercised by them through referenda and in free, direct and periodic elections conducted through universal adult suffrage, using secret ballot.

5. Sources of Legislation

  1. Nationally enacted legislation having effect only in respect of the Northern states of the Sudan shall have as its sources of legislation Islamic Sharia and the consensus of the people.
  2. Nationally enacted legislation applicable to Southern Sudan or states of Southern Sudan shall have as its sources of legislation popular consensus, the values and the customs of the people of the Sudan, including their traditions and religious beliefs, having regard to Sudan’s diversity.
  3. Where national legislation is currently in operation or is to be enacted and its source is religion or custom, then a state, and subject to Article 26(a) herein in the case of Southern Sudan, the majority of whose residents do not practice such religion or customs may:-
    1. either introduce legislation so as to allow practices or establish institutions, in that state consistent with their religion or customs, or
    2. refer the law to the Council of States to be approved by a two-thirds majority of all the representatives or initiate national legislation which will provide for such necessary alternative institutions as may be appropriate.

6. Religious Rights

The State shall respect the following religious rights:-

  1. worship or assemble in connection with any religion or belief and to establish and maintain places for these purposes,
  2. establish and maintain appropriate charitable or humanitarian institutions,
  3. acquire and possess movable and immovable property and make, acquire and use the necessary articles and materials related to the rites or customs of a religion or belief,
  4. write, issue and disseminate religious publications,
  5. teach religion or belief in places suitable for these purposes,
  6. solicit and receive voluntary financial and other contributions from individuals, private and public institutions,
  7. train, appoint, elect or designate by succession appropriate religious leaders called for by the requirements and standards of any religion or belief,
  8. observe days of rest, celebrate holidays and ceremonies in accordance with the precepts of religious beliefs,
  9. communicate with individuals and communities in matters of religion and belief at national and international levels.

7. Citizenship and Nationality

  1. Citizenship shall be the basis for equal rights and duties for all Sudanese.
  2. Every person born to a Sudanese mother or father shall have an inalienable right to enjoy Sudanese nationality and citizenship.
  3. The law shall regulate citizenship and naturalization; no naturalized Sudanese shall be deprived of his acquired citizenship except in accordance with the law.
  4. A Sudanese national may acquire the nationality of another country as shall be regulated by law.

8. Language

  1. All indigenous languages of the Sudan are national languages and shall be respected, developed and promoted.
  2. Arabic is a widely spoken national language in the Sudan.
  3. Arabic, as a major language at the national level and English shall be the official working languages of the national government and the languages of instruction for higher education.
  4. In addition to Arabic and English, the legislature of any sub-national level of government may adopt any other national language as an additional official working language at its level.
  5. There shall be no discrimination against the use of either Arabic or English at any level of government or stage of education.

9. National Symbols

The law shall specify the national flag, national emblem, national anthem, public seal, medals, national festivals and commemorations of the State.


10. National Economy

  1. The overarching aims of economic development shall be eradication of poverty, attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, guaranteeing the equitable distribution of wealth, redressing imbalances of income and achieving a decent standard of life for all citizens.
  2. The State shall develop and manage the national economy in order to achieve prosperity through policies aimed at increasing production, creating an efficient and self reliant economy and encouraging free market and prohibition of monopoly.
  3. The State shall enhance regional economic integration.

11. Environment and Natural Resources

  1. The people of the Sudan shall have the right to a clean and diverse environment; the State and the citizens have the duty to preserve and promote the country’s biodiversity.
  2. The State shall not pursue any policy, or take or permit any action, which may adversely affect the existence of any species of animal or vegetative life, their natural or adopted habitat.
  3. The State shall promote, through legislation, sustainable utilization of natural resources and best practices with respect to their management.

12. Social Justice

  1. The State shall develop policies and strategies to ensure social justice among all people of the Sudan, through ensuring means of livelihood and opportunities of employment. The State shall also encourage mutual assistance, self-help, co-operation and charity.
  2. No qualified person shall be denied access to a profession or employment on the basis of disability; persons with special needs and the elderly shall have the right to participate in social, vocational, creative or recreational activities.

13. Education, Science, Art and Culture


  1. The State shall promote education at all levels all over the Sudan and shall ensure free and compulsory education at the primary level and in illiteracy eradication programmes.
  2. Every person or group of persons shall have the right to establish and maintain private schools and other educational institutions at all levels in accordance with the conditions and standards provided by law.
  1. The State shall mobilize public, private and popular resources and capabilities for education and development of scientific research, especially Research and Development.
  2. The State shall encourage and promote craft and arts and foster their patronization by government institutions and citizens.
  3. The State shall recognize the cultural diversity of the country and shall encourage such diverse cultures to harmoniously flourish and find expression, through the media and education.
  4. The State shall protect Sudan’s cultural heritage, monuments and places of national historic or religious importance, from destruction, desecration, unlawful removal or illegal export.
  5. The State shall guarantee academic freedom in institutions of higher education and shall protect the freedom of scientific research within the ethical parameters of research.

14. Children, Youth and Sports

  1. The State shall adopt policies and provide facilities for child and youth welfare and ensure that they develop morally and physically, and protect them from moral and physical abuse and abandonment.
  2. The State shall promote sports and empower the youth to develop their potentials.
  3. The State shall protect and support popular sports institutions and guarantee their independence.

15. Family, Women and Marriage

  1. The family is the natural and fundamental unit of the society and is entitled to the protection of the law; the right of man and woman to marry and to found a family shall be recognized, according to their respective family laws, and no marriage shall be entered into without the free and full consent of its parties.
  2. The State shall protect motherhood and women from injustice, promote gender equality and the role of women in family, and empower them in public life.

16. Morals and Public Integrity

  1. The State shall enact laws to protect the society from corruption[,] delinquency and social evils and steer the society as a whole towards virtuous social values consistent with religions and cultures of the Sudan.
  2. The State shall enact laws and establish institutions to eliminate corruption, inhibit abuse of power and ensure integrity in public life.

17. Foreign Policy

Foreign policy of the Sudan shall serve the national interest and shall be conducted independently and transparently with the view to achieving the following:-

  1. promotion of international cooperation, specially within the United Nations family and other international and regional organizations, for the purposes of consolidating universal peace, respect for international law, treaty obligations and fostering a just world economic order,
  2. achievement of African and Arab economic integration, each within the ongoing regional plans and fora as well as promoting African and Arab unity and Afro-Arab cooperation as foreseen in those plans,
  3. enhancement of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in regional and international fora,
  4. promotion of dialogue among civilizations and establishment of international order based on justice and common human destiny,
  5. enhancement of economic cooperation among countries of the South,
  6. non-interference in the affairs of other States, promotion of good-neighbourliness and mutual cooperation with all neighbours and maintaining amicable and balanced relations with other countries,
  7. combating international and trans-national organized crime and terrorism.

18. Defence of the Country

Defence of the Country is an honour and a duty of every citizen; the State shall care for the combatants, the afflicted in war, the families of martyrs and those missing in action.

19. Public Health

The State shall promote public health and guarantee equal access and free primary health care to all citizens.

20. Fiscal Levies

  1. No taxes, fees, tariffs or other fiscal dues, shall be levied save by law.
  2. Zakat is a duty on Muslims; its collection, expenditure and administration shall be regulated in the Northern states by law.

21. National Reconciliation

The State shall initiate a comprehensive process of national reconciliation and healing that shall promote national harmony and peaceful co-existence among all Sudanese.

22. Saving

Unless this Constitution otherwise provides, or a duly enacted law guarantees the rights and liberties described in this Chapter, the provisions contained in this Chapter are not by themselves enforceable in a court of law; however, the principles expressed herein are basic to governance and the State is duty-bound to be guided by them, especially in making policies and laws.


23. Duties of the Citizen

  1. It shall be the duty of every Sudanese citizen to pledge allegiance to the Republic of the Sudan, abide by this Constitution, respect the institutions created hereunder and safeguard the territorial integrity of the country.
  2. In particular every citizen shall:
    1. defend the country and respond to the call for national service within the terms of this Constitution and the law,
    2. abhor violence, promote harmony, fraternity and tolerance among all people of the Sudan in order to transcend religious, regional, linguistic, and sectarian divisions,
    3. preserve public funds and assets and respect legal and financial obligations towards the State,
    4. avert and thwart corruption and sabotage,
    5. participate fully in the development of the country,
    6. take part in the general elections and referenda as stipulated in this Constitution and the law,
    7. abide by law and co-operate with the appropriate agencies in the maintenance of law and order,
    8. preserve the natural environment,
    9. generally, be guided and informed in his actions by the interests of the nation and the principles enshrined in this Constitution.


24. Levels of Government

The Sudan is a decentralized State, with the following levels of government: –

  1. The national level of government, which shall exercise authority with a view to protecting the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Sudan and promoting the welfare of its people,
  2. Southern Sudan level of government, which shall exercise authority in respect of the people and states in Southern Sudan,
  3. The state level of government, which shall exercise authority at the states throughout the Sudan and render public services through the level closest to the people,
  4. Local level of government, which shall be throughout the Sudan.

25. Devolution of Powers

The following principles shall guide the devolution and distribution of powers between all levels of government:-

  1. recognition of the autonomy of the Government of Southern Sudan and the states,
  2. affirmation of the need for norms and standards of governance and management at national, Southern Sudan and state levels, that reflect the unity of the country while asserting the diversity of the Sudanese people,
  3. acknowledgement of the role of the State in the promotion of the welfare of the people and protection of their human rights and fundamental freedoms,
  4. recognition of the need for the involvement and participation of all Sudanese people, particularly the people of Southern Sudan, at all levels of government as an expression of the national unity of the country,
  5. pursuit of good governance through democracy, transparency, accountability and the rule of law at all levels of government to consolidate lasting peace.

26. Inter-Governmental Linkages

  1. In the administration of the decentralized system of the country, the following principles of inter-governmental linkages shall be respected:-
    1. the linkage between the national government and the states in Southern Sudan shall be through the government of Southern Sudan,
    2. in their relationships with each other or with other government organs, all levels of government and particularly national, Southern Sudan and state governments shall observe the following:-
      1. respect each others’ autonomy,
      2. collaborate in the task of governing and assist each other in fulfilling their respective constitutional obligations.
    3. government organs at all levels shall perform their functions and exercise their powers so as:-
      1. not to encroach on the powers or functions of other levels,
      2. not to assume powers or functions conferred upon any other level except as provided for by this Constitution,
      3. to promote co-operation between all levels of government,
      4. to promote open communication between all levels of government,
      5. to render assistance and support to other levels of government,
      6. to advance good co-ordination of governmental functions,
      7. to adhere to procedures of inter-governmental interaction,
      8. to promote amicable settlement of disputes before attempting litigation,
      9. to respect the status and institutions of other levels of government.
    4. the harmonious and collaborative interaction of the different levels of government shall be within the context of national unity and for the achievement of a better quality of life for all[.]
  2. Any two or more states may agree on mechanisms or arrangements to enhance interstate co-ordination and co-operation.