Raising the profile and sounding the alarm about South Sudan's upcoming referendum on independence, the Elders, an independent group of global leaders, released a statement calling on all parties to "respect the will of the people" while not taking our eyes off of Darfur.
The referendum is one month away from today.
Desmond Tutu, chair of the Elders said:
“This is a critical time for the people of Sudan and the African continent. I pray that voting will be peaceful, but if things go badly, it’s likely that there will be further conflict. We have to do all we can to prevent that. The people have suffered enough. The signatories and international guarantors of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) have special responsibility to ensure the referendum is carried out fairly and peacefully, as a critical element of the peace plan.”
Several members of the Elders made statements on the occasion, including former President Jimmy Carter, children and women's right activist Graca Machel, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former Irish President and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, and former Algerian Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi.
By adding their influential voices to the calls for peace in Sudan, the Elders are telling Sudanese and international leaders that the world is watching. Their engagement on this issue also illustrates the level of international concern that Sudan could plunge back into civil war.
Join the Elders – and the Week of Action for Sudan – by visiting www.sudanactionnow.org to see how your voice can make a difference and promote peace.
Photo: Elders Desmond Tutu and Graca Machel