For years the Sudanese Christian church has encountered church demolitions, property confiscations, and unjust imprisonments, and this week those troubles only intensified.
First, the Administration court in Khartoum dismissed a case that would have prohibited the Sudanese government from demolishing at least 25 churches in the Khartoum area. In a June 13, 2016 letter from the Executive Corporation for the Protection of Government Lands, Environment, Roads and Demolition of Irregularities of Khartoum State the names and locations of 25 church buildings marked for demolition were revealed, claiming that the churches were built on land zoned for other use. Christian leaders, however, believe the decision was part of a greater systematic campaign to crackdown on Christianity across Sudan.
The Sudanese government has repeatedly oppressed the Christian community by interfering with their land and places of worship. For example, in 2014 officials made a statement that no new churches could be built in Sudan. Additionally, in 2012, the Ministry of Endowment canceled the democratically elected committee that had been in place since 1902 to oversee church property, and appointed a corrupt committee that sold most of the church's land. The Administration court issued a decision in February 2015 ruling that the ministry has no right to appoint this committee and the elected committee had the legal power to deal with church land. Unfortunately, the Sudanese government has not implemented the court’s decision and has allowed the corrupt committee to remain in power.
And now the illegitimate committee intends to sell off the church land after demolition of the buildings in order to reap a profit. In February 2017, the committee was ready to move forward with their plans but the churches filed a motion to stop the demolition. The case has been pending before the Administration court in Khartoum, but unfortunately, the court dismissed the case last week. Five churches are now in the process of appealing the decision to a higher court.