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  • Written by IRIN cm/oa/cb

Sudan: What they're saying about the referendum

Southern Sudan Referendum Commission officials hang voter registration posters in South Sudan's capital Juba ahead of the 9 January ballot. Photo: Peter Martell/IRIN.[NAIROBI] A series of reports have been issued ahead of Southern Sudan’s 9 January 2011 independence referendum. They cover developments on the ground, prospects for a future divided country and the risks of renewed war. Here are some of the highlights:

The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on Sudan, led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, highlights the question of the north-south border and areas which remain unresolved. A Panel chairperson’s report dated 30 November urges a decision on border demarcation before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) expires on 9 July 2011. In the Panel’s opinion, a settlement of the Abyei issue would need to include the implementation of existing agreements and take account of the concept of Abyei as a “bridge” between north and south, as specified in the CPA.

  • Written by World and Media

US steps up Sudan diplomacy as former envoy warns of war and US 'betrayal'

President Obama addressed a Ministerial Meeting on Sudan on September 24. Photo: U.S. State Department.With the upcoming secession referendum in South Sudan, this is a critical period for the country. The US administration, which includes the Waterford-born human rights and genocide expert Samantha Power who has returned to Obama's team, has increased its engagement with Sudan in recent months. However, a former Sudan envoy warned that broken US promises may precipitate renewed civil war.

In September, President Obama made a significant speech at a UN meeting on Sudan that brought together world leaders and the vice presidents representing Khartoum and Southern Sudan. He said that the referendum could not be delayed any longer but called on the international community "to support Sudanese leaders who make the right choice."


  • Written by IRIN cp/am/mw

Sudan: What next for displaced as Darfur camp faces closure?

Insecurity facing thousands of people in Kalma IDP camp. Photo: Caterina Pino/IRIN.

[NYALA] The impending closure of a major camp near the South Darfur town of Nyala has led to discussions between humanitarian agencies and the Sudanese government about the future of the tens of thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) living there.

Read on for an overview of the closure of Kalma camp and the issues raised by the planned relocation of the IDPs to a new site or back to their home areas:

  • Written by Panos

Elections and new constitution for S. Sudan if region secedes

Map of Sudan.South Sudan will hold general elections and a fresh population census if southerners vote for secession in the referendum set for 9 January. More than 20 southern Sudanese political parties agreed on the terms of the post-secession interim government after a five-day conference in the southern capital Juba. South Sudan President Salva Kiir will head the transitional government if the region secedes from the north in 2011. A new constitution will also be written under the deal. If voters in the January referendum opt for unity, then the southern parties said they would ensure the region maintains representation in Sudan's national government. Tensions have been rising in the country ahead of the independence referendum amid calls for it to be delayed over logistical issues and a disputed would-be border area.

Source: Panos

  • Written by Richard Cockett

Sudan's disappearing act: Lessons and dangers

Map of Sudan.The forthcoming referendum on independence in south Sudan could lead to the break-up of Africa’s biggest country. But if Sudan has failed as a unitary state its end carries dangers, says Richard Cockett, Africa editor of the Economist and author of Sudan: Darfur and the Failure of an African State.

Sudan, Africa’s largest country by land-mass, is about to disappear. Or rather, to put it less dramatically, in all likelihood the country will soon cease to exist in its present form. In a referendum due in January 2011, the 8 million or so citizens of south Sudan are expected to vote for secession from the north, and to found their own state. The rump of the country, including the western region of Darfur, will remain as Sudan. The southern Sudanese have yet to decided the name of their territory; but whatever they choose, it seems as if Africa will get its first new country since Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia in the early 1990s.

However, just as in the case of Eritrea, for every person who relishes the prospect of a freshly-minted country, there is another who finds the whole idea extremely worrying.

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