Sudan Government’s referendum is ill-timed and lacks credibility, say experts
The Enough Project is condemning the Government of Sudan’s referendum over the political future of Darfur, which began today. The referendum is scheduled to run through April 13.
The United Nations is reporting that 138,000 Darfuris have been displaced by conflict since the beginning of the year, joining over 2.6 million people already displaced in Darfur by ongoing violence.
Enough Project experts are available for interview and comment.
John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: “The Darfur referendum is another smokescreen being deployed by the Khartoum regime to divert attention from the continuing deadly conflict there and the regime’s efforts to undermine local Darfuri leadership. The trends in favor of deepening conflict and authoritarian rule continue in Sudan. Hopefully no one will be fooled by this exercise.”
Omer Ismail, Senior Advisor at the Enough Project, said: “The Darfur referendum is an attempt by the government of Sudan to legitimize an illegal situation that divided the region into five states along ethnic lines to maintain the state of chaos in the restive region. The people of Darfur are aware of the government’s tactics and they are boycotting this sham referendum.”
John Hursh, Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: “This ill-timed referendum lacks credibility and will not reflect the will of Darfuri people, as millions of Darfuris are ineligible to vote under its rules. Holding this referendum now, amid ongoing conflict and continued displacement, will only exacerbate already difficult conditions for the people of Darfur and lead to further conflict.”
A new Enough Project report published last week, “Modernized Sanctions for Sudan: Unfinished Business for the Obama Administration” by John Prendergast and Brad Brooks-Rubin, details how in its final nine months the Obama administration has an unprecedented opportunity to build on emerging leverage with the Sudanese government and deploy new targeted financial pressures to support a peace deal in Sudan.
The report by Prendergast, Enough’s Founding Director and a former White House official, and Brooks-Rubin, Enough’s Director of Policy and a former Treasury and State Department official, also offers critical recommendations to minimize unintended consequences of existing sanctions measures that have harmed medical, humanitarian, civilian, and academic sectors in Sudan.
On Saturday, the U.S. State Department also issued a statement of concern: “If held under current rules and conditions, a referendum on the status of Darfur cannot be considered a credible expression of the will of the people of Darfur.”
About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.