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IDPs and refugees body calls to boycott Darfur Referendum

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February 8, 2016 (NYALA) - Darfur’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees association has rejected the Darfur administrative referendum scheduled to be held in April considering it a trivial move in light of the continued conflict and displacement in the region.

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A group of women build a shelter in Kalma camp for internally displaced people in South Darfur on 9 March 2014 (Photo: UNAMID/Albert Gonzalez Farran)

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; or the retention of the status quo of States system.

Recently the national dialogue subcommittee for freedoms and rights called to postpone the referendum.

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

However, the Darfur Referendum Commission (DRC) announced that the referendum will be held between 11 to 13 April, saying the registration of voters will begin on 8 February and lasts for 15 day.

Deputy chairman of the IDPs and refugees association Adam Abdalla Idris told Sudan Tribune that the IDP’s organized peaceful marches inside their camps in the five states of Darfur and handed over a memo to the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) expressing their rejection for the referendum.

He pointed that the referendum which is advocated by the government and the DDPD signatories is nothing but an attempt to carry out agendas that don’t reflect priorities of the IDPs.

“We refuse to allow [them] bring the referendum ballot boxes inside the IDPS camps ... We directed the camps’ chiefs to brief the IDP’s on the risks of the referendum and [urge them not] to participate in it,” he said.

Idris added that the IDPs give priority to achieving the just and comprehensive peace which ends their 13-year sufferings, describing the referendum as “distractive” in light of the continued human rights violations in Jebel Marra.

He underscored the need for the immediate end of the ongoing military operations in Jebel Marra, saying that hundreds of families are living under extremely complex humanitarian conditions and unable to reach the IDPs camps.

Since last December, the government forces launched a large scale offensive on the positions of Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) fighters who are accused of robbery and attacks on civilian and commercial convoys in the area.

The Sudanese government refused to stop its military operation saying the group is not part of the African Union mediated peace process.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Sunday said over 44,000 villagers from Jebel Marra in the center of Darfur continue to flee the fighting between the government troops and SLM-AW.

(ST)

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