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Sudan Tribune

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Put more pressure on NCP, civil society coalition tells UN

September 26, 2010 (JUBA) — A coalition of civil society activists have appealed to the African Union (AU), United Nations and the international community in general to exert more pressure on the Khartoum-based National Congress Party (NCP), whom they accuse of sabotaging preparations for next year’s referendum.

Lokulenge Lole, Secretary General for civil society coalition (ST)
Lokulenge Lole, Secretary General for civil society coalition (ST)
In a strongly-worded memo signed by Lukolenge Lole, the Acting Secretary General of Southern Sudan Civil Society Organizations for Referendum, delivered to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) headquarters in Juba, the coalition members urged guarantors of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to intervene and ensure that the referendum on self-determination of southerners is timely-held.

“The UN and International Community must bring pressure to bear on the Khartoum (NCP) and its allies to respect the CPA implementation. Failure to meet the deadline for referendum means war in Sudan again and this time a regional one which all must work hard to avert it,” the memo, dated September 24, partly reads.

On the same day, members of the coalition, government representatives and other stakeholders staged a peaceful procession on the streets in show of solidarity and support for southern leader, Salva Kiir who later addressed the UN General Assembly’s special summit on Sudan.

The memo, drafted by 10 civil society organizations, members called for the timely conduct of both the south Sudan referendum and that to be held in the oil-rich Abyei region.

Kur Ayuen Kou, the co-Executive Director of My Referendum for Freedom told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that as civil society activists, remain concerned about the deliberate attempts by the Khartoum-regime to obstruct the free, fair and transparent referendum of south Sudan, urging that it was up to members of the international community to live up to their obligations.

On Saturday, a senior member of the dominant National Congress Party (NCP) said South Sudanese living in the north will no longer be considered citizens of north, should the latter opt for independence in next year’s referendum.

Kamal Obeid, Sudan’s Information Minister reportedly said, “Southern Sudanese will no longer be citizens of the north if there is a split.”

“They will not enjoy citizenship rights, jobs or benefits, they will not be allowed to buy or sell in Khartoum market and they will not be treated in hospitals,” he added.

The Minister’s remarks, coming a day after the UN special summit on Sudan, has been widely criticized by south Sudanese officials, with many saying such a statement not only undermines referendum preparation, but further violates the CPA.

Reacting to Obeid’s remarks, Abyei Chief Administrator, Deng Arop said, “I don’t think the Information Minister in the federal government understands the whole referendum issue, leave along the meaning of self-determination of the south. Such a statement is very unfortunate especially from a Minister”.

Atem Peter, the Chairperson of Jibu Referedum told Sudan Tribune that such statements likely to undermine the ongoing post-referendum discussions and that it should be condemned at all costs.