Sudan government seizes Omdurman church property

Emergency appeal filed by the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan with the Constitutional Court in Khartoum to block order from the Ministry of Justice seizing property in Omdurman.

Lawyers representing the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan have filed an emergency appeal with the Constitutional Court in Khartoum, seeking to block an order from the Ministry of Justice seizing a church property in Omdurman. On 4 Dec 2014 the tenants of the church owned building were served with an eviction notice by the Ministry of Justice under the Evacuation of Public Buildings Act (1969). The government order states the property was sold by the church and issued the eviction notice on behalf of the new owner and have refused permission to appeal the administrative order. However, lawyers for the church have asked the court to block the eviction notice, stating the building in question is not a public building under the Act, and the building has not been sold by the church. Title of the building has been vested in the church since 1956 when on independence the building was given by an American missionary society to the Episcopal Church. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports the eviction notices are part of a government campaign to strip Christians of their property. Last week the Khartoum government demolished an evangelical church in North Khartoum and arrested 37 members of the congregation. CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “We are deeply concerned that the Ministry of Justice has issued an eviction notice for a building that has historically belonged to the Anglican Church, an action that indicates the steady erosion of rights of Sudan’s minority religious community.” He called upon the African Union and international community to press the Khartoum government to abide by its international and domestic commitments to honor human rights.

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