Don’t Be Cheap On Southern Sudan, UN. Cost-cutting Will Cost Lives…


On 9th of July, 2011 Southern Sudan will celebrate its birth as the world’s newest country. The coming secession is the final chapter in what was one of Africa’s longest-running civil wars. For twenty-two years, southern liberation fighters battled for independence, leading to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. That agreement allowed for a six-year interim period culminating in a vote on secession, which Southerners voted for by an overwhelming majority earlier this year.

South Sudan Flag After Referendum

A report from the Security Council Organization on Southern Sudan states:

On 20 June, 2011 the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed an agreement on temporary arrangements for the administration and security of the Abyei area. The agreement provides for the withdrawal of military forces—both Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Southern Sudan’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)—immediately following the deployment of an Interim Security Force for Abyei (ISFA) composed of a brigade of Ethiopian troops. The agreement also indicates that an Abyei police service shall be established to deal with particular issues related to nomadic migration.

The agreement also established the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), which is to be composed of four members, with each party nominating two representatives. On 27 June, 2011 the Security Council also adopted resolution 1990 authorizing for six months a mission called the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) that shall comprise a maximum of 4,200 military personnel, 50 police and appropriate civilian support with the following mandate:

  • monitor and verify the redeployment of armed groups from Abyei Area, as defined by the Permanent Court of Arbitration;
  • participate in relevant Abyei Area bodies as stipulated in the agreement;
  • assist in de-mining;
  • facilitate humanitarian access;
  • strengthen the capacity of the Abyei Police Service; and
  • provide security for oil infrastructure

The UN Security Council will vote tomorrow on a new mission to South Sudan. The current United Nations Missions in Sudan (UNMIS) has to leave North Sudan by July 9, 2011 when the Republic of South Sudan finally comes into being.  All the various agencies working in Sudan have in the last few days tried to put up a case for a new revitalized force which would have a mandate to enforce peace given the current security situation in Border States as well as Abyei and South Kordofan.

Also from a report by Oxfam International indicates:

Inadequate numbers of peacekeepers for the next mission in South Sudan risk endangering thousands of lives and future stability.

From my colleague Ugandan blogger,  Rosebell’s Blog; I learned about how violence has escalated in the past couple of  weeks in Abyei, Southern Kordofan and across southern Sudan which has forced over 180,000 people to flee their homes.  The UN has called on the Security Council to send a strengthened Mission to the border as the situation is very tense and the country needs all the support it can to protect its population.  The UN asked for 7000 troops but reports indicate talks are going very badly as the UK, US and France are trying to trim the size of the Mission, its budget and its staff.

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Is Sudan Becoming Africa’s 55th State After Referendum?


Sudan – a country in north-eastern Africa also the largest in Africa and the Arab world and the tenth largest in the world by area is about to be split into two on the conditions of a 2005 deal to end almost two decades of conflict between the north and south.

The referendum which started on Jan, 9 and runs till Jan, 15 will see almost 4 million legally registered southern Sudanese taking part in deciding (voting) this fate for their dear country.

Background:

The Islamic-oriented governments have been favored by the military regimes dominating national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century.

Map of Republic of Sudan

These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese.

The first civil war ended in 1972, but broke out again in 1983. The second war and famine-related effects resulted in more than 2 million deaths and over 4 million people displaced over a period of two decades. Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords;

a final Naivasha peace treaty of January 2005 granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years, after which a referendum for independence is scheduled to be held.

Geographical Location:

With an approximate population of 44 million people; Sudan is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest. The world’s longest river, the Nile, divides the country between east and west sides.

Below are comments, blogs, tweets and stories from other parts of the world on Sudan’s Referendum:

President of the United States: Barrack Obama on Sudan Referendum:

January 09, 2011

I am extremely pleased that polling has started for the Southern Sudan Referendum, and congratulate the people of Southern Sudan who are determining their own destiny. This is an historic step in the years-long process to fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the civil war between north and south. The international community is united and determined to ensure that all parties in Sudan live up to their obligations. We know that there are those who may try to disrupt the voting. Voters must be allowed access to polling stations, and must be able to cast their ballots free from intimidation and coercion. All sides should refrain from inflammatory rhetoric or provocative actions that could raise tensions or prevent voters from expressing their will. Violence in the Abyei region should cease. And while a successful vote will be cause for celebration, an enormous amount of work remains to ensure the people of Sudan can live with security and dignity. The world will be watching in the coming days, and the United States will remain fully committed to helping the parties solve critical post-referendum issues regardless of the outcome of the vote.

The BBC News on Africa did a feature: Q&A: Southern Sudan Referendum which answers all questions from curious minds on the current happenings in Sudan.

Who qualifies to vote?

Only southerners are eligible to take part in the poll, which means most people think the outcome is bound to be independence. Nearly all of those who registered already live in the south – the hundreds of thousands of people who fled to the north during the war seem to have either gone home to register – as they were urged to do by southern leaders – or not bothered.  But at least 60% of registered voters must take part for the referendum to be valid – with low literacy levels and little history of voting, this may be more difficult to achieve than the simple majority needed for a verdict either way.

Tyler Hicks from the New York Times traveled to Sudan and took photos of Southern-Sudanese returning home for a Historic vote.

After all the years of guerrilla warfare and hardship, people here are deeply invested in holding a peaceful referendum and building the world’s newest nation.

Also, on the 2nd day (Jan, 10) of the referendum; RFI English reported: Huge Turnout on Second Day of Voting in Referendum

Many people were wearing their best clothes as they cast their vote on whether to break away from the mainly Arab Muslim north of the country. The large turnout on Monday, the second of the seven days of the polling, brings the south a step closer to the 60 per cent turnout needed to validate the referendum. This figure was agreed in a 2005 peace deal between the north and the south.

Global Voices Online’s Ndesanjo Macha aggregated feeds on Sudan’s referendum from the social (Twitter) platforms and came out with an interesting post: Southern Sudan Independence Referendum on Twitter. You can also follow the story and discussions on twitter by following the hash-tag: #SudanRef as very interesting comments and updates keeps coming from Sudan passionates.

Daniel A. Daniel (USA) made a strong appeal in his article: The birth of the world’s newest nation (South Sudan) for the South Sudan News Agency and he even quoted the Late Sudanese Rebel Leader Dr. Garang de Mabior:

“Sudan will never be the same again” once said by: Late Dr. John Garang de Mabior.

Fellow countrymen and women, youths, veterans and patriots, and to all undecided voters worldwide. The decision for our land to secede now is depends on you, and   failure to do it right can jeopardized the future of our beloved nation called south Sudan, its matter of life and death, its matter to choose between slavery and liberty, and second class citizenry, and to walk tall. Therefore, I urge all (the registered candidates); go to the polling station (earlier better than later), please, cast your vote for the separation of south Sudan to be an Independent country by July 09th, 2011. Vote for peace, stability, freedom, liberty, equality, and justice, for all. Your thumb print will make a difference, no for ugly unity, yes for the attractive separation. South Sudan Nation Oyee…

Questions:

What does this split mean for Africa in economic terms? Are we ready for state No. 55?

Do you think after the referendum; the south would be able to build its own government and economy?

Will such a country like  South Sudan be able to survive in terms of globalization and policy making?

Does it make sense to split up countries only because of religious, economic and ethnic reason which are not survivable?

From Dr. Henrik Scheller : Project Manager – Future Challenges Organization

 

 

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