Saturday, October 09, 2010

Sudan / United Nations

UN Delegation Presses Sudan to Allow a Referendum and Avert a New Civil War
By Mark Landler
The New York Times, October 8, 2010
"After languishing as what many experts worried was the world’s most neglected foreign-policy problem, Sudan is now in the spotlight: a high-level delegation from the United Nations Security Council arrived in the capital, Khartoum, on Friday, to press the government not to disrupt a coming referendum that is considered likely to result in partition. The diplomats, including the American ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice, had earlier toured southern Sudan to monitor preparations for the voting, which many analysts fear could reignite a north-south civil war if it is mishandled. The visit comes two weeks after President Obama publicly warned the Sudanese at the United Nations to allow a credible vote. Voters in the south will be asked whether they want their region to become independent, and it is widely expected that the answer will be yes. There are growing fears that the referendum will not be held on time because of delays in registering voters. Beyond that, some fear that the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, which depends on the oil-rich south for revenues, will try to rig the vote or cancel it. 'There's tension, there's anticipation, there's anxiety and there's fear that this moment will be stolen from them,' Ambassador Rice said Friday from Khartoum. While she said the referendum's official managers assured her that it would proceed on Jan. 9, as scheduled, she added, 'It's going to be very tight.'
Another group of experts, who just returned from southern Sudan, warned that the intense focus on a possible resurgence of violence between the predominantly Arab and Muslim north and the Christian and animist south, while warranted, obscured other threats. In the restive eastern part of Sudan, they said, militia groups may also react violently after the vote by trying to topple the Sudanese government, which could provoke it to carry out atrocities against civilians, as it did in the Darfur region. 'We are definitely concerned about the risk of mass atrocities,' said Michael J. Abramowitz, director of the committee on conscience at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which organized the experts’ 10-day trip. 'We very much fear the risk to civilians during the next year.' Mr. Abramowitz, who runs the museum's genocide prevention program, said the area along the north-south border in Sudan was 'awash in guns and ammunition,' further raising the risk of violence. But he stopped short of predicting another episode of genocide in the country, saying bloodshed could be avoided. [...]"

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting the article here Adam. Follow the Museum on Facebook at to get regular updates from the Committee on Conscience.

    Heather (at the Museum)


Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ