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Sudan’s dialogue conference calls to postpone the Darfur referendum

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February 2, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s national dialogue conference has recommended the delay of the Darfur administrative referendum.

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3rd meeting of the national dialogue national assembly in Khartoum on Thursday 20 August 2015 (Photo - SUNA)

The Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) provides that the permanent administrative status of Darfur be determined through a referendum. The voters have to vote for the creation of a Darfur Region composed of the States of Darfur; or the retention of the status quo of States system.

The Darfur Referendum Commission (DRC) had earlier announced that the referendum will be held between 11 to 13 April.

However, the chairman of the dialogue freedoms and rights committee Obied Hag Ali said in press statements Tuesday his committee recommended postponement of the Darfur referendum, noting the recommendation will be submitted to general secretariat of the dialogue conference.

He added the committee also called for retaining the international human rights agreements and the bill of rights included in the 2005 constitution, demanding restructuring and activating judicial organs which are responsible for monitoring and protecting liberties.

“The committee also called for maintaining neutrality of the civil services and the defence institutions including the police, army and the security services”, he added
Meanwhile, the DRC announced the completion of all arrangements to start the registration for the referendum on 8 February saying that 1400 polling centers have been set up across the region.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) Tuesday quoted the DRC deputy chairman Abdel-Aziz al-Samani as saying that all technical and administrative arrangements for holding the referendum have been completed.

He added that registration centers will be ready to receive the voters between 6 to 8 February, saying the DRC has completed the training of the referendum officers in the five states of Darfur.

Several lawmakers had previously called to postpone the referendum saying the exercise will create a new turmoil in Darfur and also noted the huge financial cost of the referendum.

According to the latest census, the inhabitants of Darfur region are estimated at 12 million people including 5 million internal and external migrants.

Observers close to the file in Khartoum say the organization of the referendum illustrates once again the deep divisions among the Darfurians, adding that those who are against the process are not part of the DDPD signatories.

Some rebels among the non-signatories of the Doha framework agreement say they are against the referendum because it would not express the will of Darfurians, pointing to the IDPs and refugees in Chad who will not participate in the vote.

(ST)

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