Sudan - ReliefWeb News
Sudan: Sweden contributes SEK 55 million (US $6.4 million) to the Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund for 2015 [EN/AR]
Khartoum, 21 April 2015. Sweden has contributed SEK55 million (US $6.4 million) to the 2015 Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF). Sweden has been a committed supporter of the CHF, contributing some SEK1.2 billion (US $106 million) since 2006. This valuable contribution comes at a critical time, when funding for humanitarian action in Sudan is scarce and humanitarian needs are growing.
“Sweden follows the humanitarian situation with concern, and therefore Sudan remains a key priority recipient of Swedish humanitarian support in 2015,” said Mette Sunnergren, the Swedish ambassador to Sudan. “The CHF allows humanitarian actors to rapidly respond to urgent humanitarian needs and it also serves as a key source of funding to the Humanitarian Response Plan, an important tool that identifies protracted humanitarian needs and priorities in Sudan.”
The CHF supports an effective, coordinated and principled response to those in greatest need, the fund also empowers humanitarian leadership, strengthens Sudan’s coordination system, and ensures inclusiveness and partnership.
“Predictable and timely funding to the Sudan CHF by donors such as Sweden, helps humanitarian partners to sustain urgent interventions to people in need across Sudan,” said El-Mostafa Benlamlih, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan a.i.. “The CHF helps to ensure that the highest needs of affected people are identified and addressed in a transparent, timely and cost-effective manner by national and international responders.”
The Sudan CHF is a multi-donor pooled fund that assists the timely allocation and disbursement of funds to Sudan’s most critical humanitarian needs. To date, the Sudan CHF has received and granted over one billion dollars to international and national NGOs and UN Agencies to enable them to implement urgent and life-saving projects. In 2014 CHF allocated more than US $55 million for humanitarian action across Sudan.
Sudan: “We just want a rest from war.” Civilian perspectives on the conflict in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan State
“Your silence is a shame to humanity.”
(20 April 2015) A new report launched today by the International Refugee Rights Initiative and the National Human Rights Monitoring Organisation brings the voices of civilians living through the conflict in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan State to the international community.
Focusing on the devastating impact of the conflict on every aspect of people’s lives, the report highlights the extraordinary resilience and resistance of the civilian population. Inevitably, however, this resilience is also being worn away by the continuing onslaught.
Since 2012, an average of three bombs a day have been dropped indiscriminately by the government of Sudan onto civilians living in rebel held areas. With humanitarian access denied by the government and increasing numbers being displaced, people’s ability to survive grows more precarious by the day. Living with the daily threat of aerial bombardment, of government land forces breaking through and a chronic lack of food and medicine, the resilience of this population is being severely depleted. Meanwhile the international community remains, for the most part, silent.
As one interviewee said, after surviving a bomb attack: “I am sending my voice loudly to the international community and the Security Council to stop this government from killing its own civilians and to protect them. Your silence is a shame to humanity.”
Frustration with the lack of international response was tangible. Civilians caught up in this conflict are struggling to have their voices heard – or rather, heeded. Courageous local organisations and citizen journalists have been reporting on the intolerable circumstances in which civilians live in Southern Kordofan, but their reach remains limited. Meanwhile, the government of Sudan continues to block independent media and international organisations from the field in a deliberate effort to cover up the consequences of the violence. As a result, there is both insufficient awareness at the international level about what is taking place, and a failure to mobilise around what information is available.
“This report clearly demonstrates that those living in SK don’t want our pity, they want solidarity” says Dr Lucy Hovil, IRRI’s senior researcher. “Their determination to survive, against overwhelming odds, is not being even vaguely matched by support from the international community.”
The report, therefore, makes a number of recommendations, including the call for an independent commission of inquiry to verify, unequivocally, what is taking place on the ground.
For further information:
President Bashir looks set to extend 25 years in power
Main opposition, activists have called for boycott
Youth groups call for change, many voters unconvinced
By Shadi Bushra
KHARTOUM, April 19 (Reuters) - When the Arab Spring uprisings burst out four years ago, Bedreldin Mohamed believed that, finally, many of his Sudanese countrymen would join him in calling for an alternative to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, now in his 25th year in power.
Office of the Spokesperson
April 20, 2015
The text of the following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
The members of the Troika (Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States) regret the Government of Sudan’s failure to create a free, fair, and conducive elections environment. Restrictions on political rights and freedoms, counter to the rights enshrined in the Sudanese Constitution, the lack of a credible national dialogue, and the continuation of armed conflict in Sudan’s peripheries, are among the reasons for the reported low participation and very low voter turnout. The outcome of these elections cannot be considered a credible expression of the will of the Sudanese people.
We condemn the acts of violence during the election period and continue to support those Sudanese who wish to peacefully advance a comprehensive and legitimate political process of dialogue, toward an end to the conflict, meaningful governance reform, and long-term stability
OXFORD, 20 April 2015 (IRIN) - Every time a migrant boat capsizes, a death toll is estimated by aid agencies and reproduced in media reports. But what about that other number? What about all those who die before ever setting foot on a boat? That number may be far higher.
Some 1,600 migrants have died or are missing after trying to cross the Mediterranean this year, including almost 700 who perished in last weekend’s tragedy off Libya, the worst on record.
The risks these migrants took when boarding smugglers’ boats in the hope of reaching Europe are well known, but this is only one of the many perilous steps in a journey that for many never reaches the shores of North Africa.
“Crossing the sea is just the last tiny bit,” noted Meron Estafanos, an Eritrean journalist and human rights activist who regularly listens to harrowing accounts from Eritrean asylum-seekers at different stages of their odysseys.
In 2014, Eritreans fleeing repression and indefinite military service at home made up the second largest nationality arriving in southern Europe after Syrians, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Before reaching the coast of Libya, where the majority of boats depart, many have endured kidnappings, detention, rape and torture along the way.
From the beginning, it is a journey fraught with risk.
As documented in a 2014 report by the Nairobi-based Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS), most leave Eritrea without the required permission, which is rarely given to those under the age of 50.
If caught, the penalty can be a lengthy jail sentence, but Eritrean authorities have also been known to use a shoot-to-kill policy for people found in certain border areas.
After arriving in eastern Sudan, some register at refugee camps near the town of Kassala, while others head straight to the capital Khartoum. There they join others, including Ethiopians and Somalis, hoping to connect with smugglers who can take them across the Sahara desert and into Libya.
“The worst part is getting through the Sahara,” Estafanos, a presenter for Radio Erena, which broadcasts from Sweden into Eritrea, told IRIN. “A lot of people die of thirst; some fall off the car and [the smugglers] don’t stop for them.”
No one knows how many migrants die in the Sahara. Their deaths are seldom reported and their bodies rarely recovered.
In addition to the hazards of a desert crossing is the kidnapping risk.
In some cases, traffickers abduct Eritreans from Kassala and take them to torture camps where they are forced to phone relatives and beg for ransom money. Until recently, many were sold on to Egyptian traffickers operating in the Sinai Peninsula where they endured more torture until relatives could raise ever-higher ransom amounts.
Researchers estimate that between 2009 and 2013, as many as 30,000 people were victims of trafficking and torture in the Sinai Peninsula, and that between 5,000 and 10,000 of them did not survive their ordeal.
An Eritrean man shows his scars from wounds traffickers inflicted on him to force his relatives to pay ransom for his release Egyptian military operations in the Sinai have destroyed many of the torture camps in the past year, but according to Estafanos, the risk of being kidnapped in Sudan is still high. During Saharan crossings, smugglers may also interrupt the journey to extort more money from migrants while holding them captive.
“It’s a similar situation to the Sinai,” said Estafanos. “They deprive them of food and water [and] rape the women. Ransom amounts have gone up to US$10,000 from about $3,000 a year ago.”
Adding to the existing threat of being held captive by traffickers is the newer threat of being kidnapped by so-called Islamic State militants. A recent video released by IS purports to show at least 30 men, said to be Ethiopian Christians, being executed on a Libyan beach.
In Libya, migrants must either take their chances with smugglers or risk being arrested and detained for months in over-crowded detention centres where Human Rights Watch has reported dire conditions and abusive behaviour by guards.
The ongoing conflict in the country has meant that smugglers and traffickers operate with relative impunity, keeping migrants in “connection houses” until they can be put on boats.
“You’re not allowed to talk. [The smugglers] decide when you eat and when you leave, even if the weather is bad,” said Estafanos.
Last week, UNHCR reported that a migrant boat rescued off the coast of southern Italy’s Lampedusa Island contained a number of burn victims. According to survivor accounts, a gas cylinder had exploded in one of the connection houses, killing several people and injuring others. Rather than get medical help, smugglers loaded the injured onto a rubber dinghy.
According to Estafanos, a second dingy containing burn victims was stopped by soldiers before it set off and the group of 87 migrants is now being held at an unknown location on the coast until they can pay $600 to secure their release.
“Their burns are very severe and they haven’t been treated,” she told IRIN. “At night, they phone me but their batteries are running out, and their families have been calling me.”
Estafanos insists that Eritrean asylum-seekers know the risks when they make the decision to embark on the journey to Europe, but view the alternative - remaining in Eritrea - as worse.
“In Eritrea you’re alive, but it’s like you’re dead. Your life is decided by the government. Until you’re 50, you’re going to be in the military. Anything you say can land you in prison and there are so many informants. There is no freedom of movement, speech or religion. You can’t even decide what you want to study.”
Efforts by researchers to better trace and monitor the routes and risks taken by migrants from the Horn of Africa to the shores of Libya, are still at an early stage.
RMMS is about 10 months into a project dubbed 4Mi, which is training local informants in hotspots along migration routes to supply data on smuggling activities and risks for migrants.
“The accumulation of informants has been slow and not trouble-free,” said Christopher Horwood, who is coordinating the project for RMMS. “We have sporadic information from some places and not a consistent coverage of routes from start to finish.”
One 4Mi informant in Egypt, another popular transit country, noted that: “migrants are facing a lot of problems during the journey.
“Since they come by smugglers, it's very difficult for them to even breathe as they like. [Smugglers] ask for additional money after reaching the desert. If they don't pay there is a lot of things happening to them like rape, torture.”
The head of the National Election Commission NEC), Mukhtar El Asam, announced on Sunday that the number of votes cast in the presidential and parliamentary election reached 4.800 million. 13.8 million Sudanese were eligible to vote.
He predicted that the percentage of the voter turnout will lie between 36 and 38 percent in the end. “It may reach 40 percent”, he said, stressing that the low numbers were expected.
The numbers do not include voters abroad, and in El Gezira state, where the voting process was extended, because of logistical problems. For the same reason, the start of the election was postponed to Friday in El Tina, Um Baru, and Karnoi localities in North Darfur.
The voting process abroad commenced on Friday too, in the seven centres in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, the UK, and Belgium.
The election was suspended in the insecure border areas of El Dibab in West Kordofan, northern Abyei, and seven constituencies in South Kordofan.
On Friday, the counting of the ballots started. The election period, scheduled for 13-15 April, was extended with one day, to boost the extremely low turnout on the first three days.
El Asam said that about 80 percent of the votes cast in Khartoum state have been counted, showing a victory for the ruling National Congress Party, and its leader, President Omar Al Bashir.
WFP requires USD45 million for the next six months to meet the needs of all refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.
The rate of new arrivals has recently slowed in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia but is subject to periodic spikes. However, renewed fighting in Upper Nile State has resulted in an increased number of refugees crossing into Sudan. About 5,000 people crossed into Sudan on 13 April alone.
Relocation of refugees to more appropriate sites is ongoing in Ethiopia and Sudan.
As per the inter agency regional refugee response plan, WFP provides hot meals at reception centers and monthly family rations to those who have resettled in the camps. High energy biscuits are provided at the border points for immediate relief. In addition, nutrition activities are ongoing to rehabilitate those malnourished and prevent further deterioration of malnutrition levels.
PROJECTED FOOD ASSISTANCE NEEDS FOR OCTOBER 2015
This brief summarizes FEWS NET’s most forward-looking analysis of projected emergency food assistance needs in FEWS NET coverage countries. The projected size of each country’s acutely food insecure population (IPC Phase 3 and higher) is compared to last year and the recent five-year average and categorized as Higher, Similar, or Lower. Countries where external emergency food assistance needs are anticipated are identified. Projected lean season months highlighted in red indicate either an early start or an extension to the typical lean season.
Additional information is provided for countries with large food insecure populations, an expectation of high severity, or where other key issues warrant additional discussion. Analytical confidence is lower in remote monitoring countries, denoted by “RM”. Visit www.fews.net for detailed country reports.
South Sudan: IOM Regional Response to South Sudan Crisis, External Situation Report, 8 - 15 April 2015
South Sudan: IOM drills two temporary water points in Bentiu until the drilling of two boreholes by UNICEF is complete.
Kenya: Since the onset of the crisis, IOM has provided transportation assistance to a total of 24,026 refugees.
Sudan: Since the onset of the crisis, IOM has registered 67,404 refugees.
Sudan: Preliminary statement of the IGAD Election Observation Mission to the Presidential and General Elections of the Republic of the Sudan
The IGAD Election Observation Mission deployed to observe the Presidential and General Elections held in the Republic of the Sudan from 13 to 16 April 2015, has concluded its mission successfully. IGAD deployed the mission following an invitation extended by the National Election Commission (NEC) of the Republic of the Sudan.
The Mission was led by Dr. Mohammud Abdulahi Hussien, Commissioner at the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia who also represented the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia that is holding the current chairmanship of IGAD.Other 30 members of the Observer Mission included Ambassador Yusuf Abdulrahman Nzibo, Commissioner of the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as well as Commissioners of Electoral Commissions, Ambassadors, Member of Parliaments, Representatives of Member States’ focal Ministries, representatives of Civil Society Organizations and members of the IGAD Secretariat.
The overall objective of the Mission was to assist the Republic of the Sudan, a founding member of IGAD, in its efforts to conduct free, fair and credible elections by providing positive and constructive feedback. It is also part of IGAD’s broader efforts to facilitate the development of a democratic culture in the region that helps avert conflicts related to election disputes.
Members of the IGAD Election Observation Mission were deployed to eight sites, namely: Khartoum 1 (Centre and Omdurman); Khartoum Bahri; El-Gezira State (Wad Madani); White Nile State (Kosti); River Nile State (Shandi); Gedarif State (Gedarif); North Kordofan State (El-Obeid) and the Northern State (Dongola). The teams observed the poll opening, closing and early stages of counting of the election process from 13-17th April 2015.
In each of the deployment sites, the mission was able to visit a substantial number of polling stations and observed the following:
Most polling centers opened as scheduled at 8.00 am but it noted few instances of late opening.
Election materials were adequately distributed on time and in sufficient quantity throughout the four days with the exception of some instances of late delivery. For instance, late delivery of election materials to Wad Madani on first day of polling.
Electoral officials demonstrated good understanding of their roles and responsibilities in the above-mentioned sites covered by the observation mission.
There was sufficient number of local observers, but participation by international observers was limited both in number and global representation.
There was slow and gradual turn-out of voters across the four days.
The secrecy of the vote was generally upheld with the exception of isolated cases of limited space in some polling stations that compromised it.
Every voter had the same number of votes (one person one vote) and all votes carried the same weight.
The Mission observed the early stages of the counting process. Although it started on a slow pace, the same picked up as time went on and no incidents of disruption were observed.
The observer team has noted a remarkably high level of participation and inclusion of women in the voting process.
Women were engaged as polling officials, party agents and election observers. They also turned out in large numbers as compared to men to vote during the four days of polling.
The observer mission noted that the overall environment during the election was peaceful with no major incidents recorded by IGAD observers.
654,215 South Sudanese Refugees (total)
522,812 New arrivals (since 15 Dec. 2013)
131,403 Old caseload (before 15 Dec. 2013)
259,232 Refugees in South Sudan
1.5 M Internally Displaced People (IDPs)
On 14 April, the United Nations Deputy Special Representative for South Sudan, Mr. Moustapha Soumaré, visited Malakal (Upper Nile State) and met with local officials and community leaders of some 26,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) who are being sheltered by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Recent fighting between the Dinka and Shilluk communities triggered an influx of over 4,000 new IDPs into the Protection of Civilians (POC) sites in Malakal two weeks ago. Mr. Soumaré toured the POC sites, as well as an extension site currently under construction to relieve overcrowding at the existing facilities for displaced people. During his visit, Mr. Soumaré was impressed by the progress made in building the new extension.
On 15 April, the Unity State’s Government has temporarily transferred its capital to Mankien (Mayom County) due to increased insecurity in Bentiu.
Most of Government officials have already moved to Mankien, some 100 kilometres southwest of Bentiu, but few offices will remain in Bentiu to provide additional support.
As political turmoil continues, on 13 April, President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a decree dismissing his Minister of Interior, Mr. Aleu Ayieny Aleu, as well as the caretaker governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, Mr. Kuel Aguer Kuel.
The deputy governor, Mr. Salva Chol Ayat, replaced Mr. Kuel while the position of Minister of Interior remains unoccupied. The decree did not give reasons for these changes.
In 2005, the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)—now South Sudan’s ruling party—signed the Abyei Protocol of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which committed both sides to implementing a referendum to determine whether Abyei would re-join the southern Sudanese states that now constitute South Sudan. A decade later, the referendum has still not taken place due to continuing disagreements over who is eligible to vote. As of 28 March 2015, political negotiations between the GoS and the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) are at a total standstill. On the ground in Abyei, the Ngok Dinka community struggles due to a lack of resources. It is also frustrated that the GoS, the GRSS, and the international community have not recognized the unilateral referendum that it held in October 2013, in which it voted overwhelmingly to join South Sudan. Over the last two months, Missiriya militias have continued to attack Abyei, sometimes with the backing of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). In the absence of a local police force—mandated by the 20 June 2011 Addis Ababa agreement but never created because of disagreements between the GoS and the GRSS—the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) is unable to effectively prevent such attacks. In the run-up to national elections in Sudan in April 2015, the GoS has intensified its political rhetoric in relation to Abyei, and in such a climate it is unlikely that there will be substantive political developments.
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Welcome to the April issue of the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project’s (ACLED) Conflict Trends report. Each month, ACLED researchers gather, analyse and publish data on political violence in Africa in realtime. Weekly updates to realtime conflict event data are published through our research partners at Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) and also on the ACLED website.
This month’s issue focuses on the intervention of French Military Forces in West Africa, Islamist Militancy and Counter Insurgency strategies in North Africa, an analysis of violence surrounding the recent elections in Nigeria, and student-led protests in South Africa and targeted violence against foreign nationals. A special focus topic explores the targeting of children in conflict zones.
Elsewhere on the continent, the Democratic Republic of Congo witnessed a slight spike in conflict events and on-going violence continued in Kenya after Al-Shabab militants carried out a deadly assault on Garissa University. Fatalities decreased in Cameroon in March and fighting with Islamic State affiliates renewed across Libya.
Government of Kenya calls for the closure of Dadaab refugee camp following terrorist attack in Garissa.
Fighting resumes in South Sudan as peace talks stall yet again.
Over 20,000 South Sudanese refugees received in neighbouring countries since February 2015.
Food security expected to deteriorate from April - June 2015 in most countries in the region.
More than 6,500 Burundian refugees flee tensions in Burundi ahead of June 2015 presidential elections.
More cuts in remittances to Somalia will affect coping capacities.
Sokola II joint military offensive against FARDC rebels in eastern DRC to affect close to 500,000 people.
Eastern Africa WHS consultation agrees on six priorities to improve humanitarian effectiveness.
IGAD calls for collective action to promote sustainable resilience in border areas.
Sudan: African Union Election Observation Mission to the April 2015 General Elections in The Republic Of Sudan
AUEOM is satisfied that voting went on peacefully in Sudan; calls on Sudanese political leaders to strive for genuine and inclusive national dialogue after the elections.
At the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Sudan and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) of Sudan, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, deployed a 20 member African Union Election Observer Mission to the 13-16 April 2015 General Elections in the Republic of Sudan in accordance with the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007) and the OAU/AU Declaration on the Principles Governing democratic elections in Africa (2002).
The AU deployed a Pre-election Assessment Mission in March 2015, which submitted its report to the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC). In spite of the pre-election assessment report, the AU made a decision to send an election observation mission because the AU considers it important to maintain contact given its role in the peace process and national dialogue in the Republic of Sudan.
The AUEOM acknowledges receipt of a report from Amnesty International (AI) that outlines some issues relating to human rights suppression in the Republic of Sudan. The Mission made effort to disseminate this report to all its observers before deployment. The AUEOM also took note of the Report of the AU Pre-election Assessment Mission, which undertook activities from 1 – 10 March 2015. The report by the pre-election assessment mission also points to a number of basic freedoms and human rights not being adequately respected in Sudan1. Noting these concerns, the AUEOM is of the opinion that the freedom and fairness attached to the 2015 elections in Sudan would have been enhanced had these basic freedoms and human rights been fully respected.
The Mission notes the explanation given by authorities from the Government on the issue of addressing security challenges in the country. While the explanation seems valid given the state of emergency in some parts of the country, the Mission notes some of the measures adopted may have impacted on freedoms and human rights, which should have helped the quality of the process of the elections.
However, this report represents the Mission’s preliminary findings from the time of deployment up until 16 April, 2015. The Mission will continue to observe the post-electoral developments and a final report will be released upon the conclusion of the electoral process.
The Mission’s assessment of the elections is based on the actual findings and report by the short-term observer teams who were deployed in various states to observe voting and counting.
The AUEOM is satisfied that most of the polling stations opened within the stipulated time of 8a.m. In certain instances, there were slight variations and delays which did not compromise the opening of the poll or the overall time allocated for voting. The delays were mainly due to the late arrival of officials.
Most of the polling stations were conveniently located within easy access by voters. Polling stations were clearly marked and easily identifiable. For the most part, the polling stations were located in public places.
The Mission was satisfied that the layout of the polling stations was sufficient to guarantee the secrecy of the vote and enhance transparency in the process.
Most of the polling stations visited had an almost equal number of registered voters, and the mission noted that the registered voters per polling station was quite manageable.
In all the polling stations visited, the Mission noted the adequacy of election materials and there was no incident reported of insufficient materials at the polling stations, save for logistical challenges experienced in Al Gezira.
The Mission observed that there was a generally low turnout of voters throughout. The Mission noted that major opposition parties and some civil society organisations had boycotted and also campaigned for a boycott of the 2015 General Elections. It is not unlikely that the boycott has had some effect on the turnout of voters.
The Mission noted the need to enhance harmonisation of implementation of electoral procedures through continuous training of polling personnel.
Women were well represented on Election Days in various capacities. The Mission noted the impressive participation of women in the process on Election Days as polling officials, security officials, agents and voters.
The Mission noted that the 2015 General elections in Sudan did not attract a lot of international observers. Specifically, AU observers noted the presence of only the following groups: Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Inter-3 Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Chinese observer delegation.
The Mission further observed that there were very few domestic observers despite indications that many organisations and institutions had been accredited by the NEC2. Political parties and candidate agents were also very few and in most polling stations visited mainly representatives of National Congress Party (NCP) were present.
The Mission notes that the polling process was generally peaceful save for a few security incidents reported elsewhere. The Mission therefore commends the people of Sudan for their peaceful conduct. The Mission, however, notes the continuing insecurity in some parts of the country, namely in parts of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Indeed elections were postponed in parts of these conflict areas.
In a brief circular sent to the AUEOM, the NEC announced that voting has been extended for one day throughout the country except in the Al-Gezira state, where voting was extended for two days. The voting period was also extended on the second day from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. The Mission notes that the extension of voting in Al-Gezira state was due to logistic challenges. The Mission notes, however, that the extension for the whole country was to allow more voters to cast their ballots due to the generally low turnout.
The political dynamics of the 2015 electoral process highlighted the fact that Sudan still faces serious challenges to democracy building and national reconciliation. The Mission notes that in the interest of democratic consolidation in Sudan, the respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights must be strengthened3. In this regard the Mission makes the following recommendations:
The Mission encourages the Government of the Republic of Sudan to sustain efforts that will ensure electoral security at all times in all parts of the country.
It recommends that the NEC takes measures to reinforce training of its personnel to enhance harmonised implementation of electoral procedures.
The Mission further recommends Parliament undertakes legal reforms that enhance the independence of the NEC as well as the capacity and independence of human rights protection institutions.
The AUEOM advises that this election should not be a barrier against moving dialogue forward, which should be all-inclusive to ensure political stability and social cohesion, as well as popular participation for all the people of Sudan.
Amnesty International pointed the attention of the Mission to suppression of human rights, which no doubt constrained and restrained participation in the electoral process. Removal of such constraints would no doubt had enhanced the level of freedom and fairness of the elections.
Security concerns and on-going conflict in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states needs to be given serious attention, and must be expeditiously addressed side by side with the political and social dialogue. This can be done in such a way that the dialogue and the addressing of the conflicts can mutually complement each other, thereby leading to complete peace, security, harmony, and political stability as foundations for development and as solutions for all-inclusive development and progress.
The African Union Mission hereby clarifies that this is a preliminary statement based on observations and consultations undertaken up to 16 April 2015, while polling was still on-going in some areas like Al-Gezira state. The AU will release a more detailed final report with recommendations that will be shared with the Sudanese authorities and availed to the general public through the African Union Commission’s website within a month’s timeframe.
Everything taken together, the AUEOM reached the conclusion that the results of the election would reflect the expression of the will of the voters of Sudan.
His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo,
Head of the African Union Election Observation Mission to Sudan 2015 General Elections
The Peace and Security Council (PSC) has decided to scale up its efforts to find a solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara. Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe, the new chairperson of the African Union (AU), has vowed to make it a priority this year.
The PSC discussed the situation in South Sudan following the breakdown of talks mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The fate of women and children in armed conflict was on the Agenda of the PSC on Monday 9 March, in line with the commemoration of international women’s day. The PSC is concerned about renewed violence in the Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan. Recently, overt claims were made by Khartoum that Abyei belongs to Sudan.
Namibian ambassador Anne Namakau Mutela, Chairperson of the PSC for March 2015, talks about the recent field mission by the PSC and the European Union Political and Security Committee to Mali.
Despite the two parties being granted a 24-hour extension period, a year-long series of negotiations in Addis Ababa ended with the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) failing to reach an agreement by the 5 March deadline imposed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional trading bloc that oversaw the negotiations. Following the collapse of the talks, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) intensified its assault on SPLA-IO positions in the three states that constitute the Greater Upper Nile region (Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile).
The conflict in Upper Nile has two principal theatres. On 7 March, in the northwest of the state, the SPLA dislodged the SPLA-IO from Wadakona, the Manyo county capital, from where it had spent the rainy season shelling Renk town, on the opposite bank of the White Nile. In the south of Upper Nile, the SPLA is launching sorties against the SPLA-IO from Nasir town, which it held throughout the rainy season, towards Mathiang, in Longochuk county, and Maiwut town, in Maiwut county.
Following the loss of Wadakona, these are the last two administrative centres in Upper Nile under SPLA-IO control.
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