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Darfur JEM condemns pressures on displaced over Sudan’s census

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April 24, 2008 (LONDON) — The Justice and Equality Movement condemned on Thursday harassment practiced against the local leaders to force them to cooperate with census takers and allow them to count the displaced population in the West Darfur camps.

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Ahmed Hussein Adam

The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the three states of Darfur region staged protests to mark their rejection of the fifth national census that started on April 22 in the whole country. For the IDPs, protection is the priority, they also ask for a real peace responding to their aspirations including the return to their villages.

"We condemn the ongoing harassment against the Sudanese population in Darfur displaced camps to accept the conduct of census inside their camps;" said JEM spokesperson, Ahmed Hussein Adam. He further reiterated the rejection of his movement of the outcome of this "unfair census."

Adam told Sudan Tribune that local leaders in Karandj and Abozr camps in West Darfur are subjected to continuous pressures and constant threats to accept the census counters.

Ahmed stressed that Darfur IDPs are against the census and consider it as contempt because the counting "is conducted on the skulls of their relative. There was genocide and still it is underway by the Sudanese government." He said.

He further blamed the international community for not imposing the principle of the responsibility to protect in Darfur.

"Unfortunately the international community failed to impose the principle of responsibility To protect, and this failure is due to the lack of international will."

The responsibility to protect is a new principle in international relations providing a legal basis for "humanitarian intervention" by external actors (through the UN) in a state that is unwilling or unable to prevent or stop genocide, massive killings and other massive human rights violations.

The rebel spokesperson further accused northern Sudan party, the National Congress Party of census rigging. He claimed that people from northern Sudan based in Khartoum state are counted twice in the capital and their native towns and villages in northern Sudan states.

"Today, there is a part of the capital dwellers that are counted in Khartoum and then transported to other cities in northern Sudan to be counted again ." He charged.

"This shows that the census is the biggest lie." He added.

He further said that census the census is skewed by the absence of a neutral state apparatus, the existence of repressive laws and control media by NCP security service.

"Therefore there cannot be free and fair count", he said adding "We will not recognize its results."

The census is highly politicised as Sudan’s multiple civil wars have all been caused by marginalised regions demanding more rights from the central northern Nilotic tribes who have dominated power since independence from the British in 1956.

Religion, a question which was not included in the census angering the mostly Christian or animist southerners, also played a major role in the war.

The census will continue for two weeks with final results not expected before the end of the year.

(ST)

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