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Campaign against Darfur referendum: Sudan's opposition

February 5 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Gathering of supporters of the campaign against the elections in April, 2015, in Darfur (file photo)
Gathering of supporters of the campaign against the elections in April, 2015, in Darfur (file photo)

The Sudanese Congress Party has rejected the government's direction to hold a referendum on the administrative status of Darfur in April and threatened to hold an anti-referendum campaign with other opposition parties.

In a press statement, the party warned that Khartoum's move 'represents an attempt to legitimise the tribal division of Darfur'. The SCP intends to transform the planned referendum into a popular uprising, similar to the Leave! campaign during the national elections in April 2015. Opposition parties called upon citizens to boycott the presidential and parliamentary elections, and public gatherings throughout Sudan were dispersed by security forces.

The SCP's political office said that the referendum process 'is based on a partial agreement [the Doha Document for Peace of 2011] that has not been signed by the main political and civil forces.

'This means that the authorities and procedures established in accordance with the provisions of the agreement lack any legitimacy.'

Widespread concerns

The holding of the referendum is stipulated in the Doha peace agreement, signed in July 2011 by the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement, a coalition of 19 breakaway factions of the Darfur rebel movements formed the year before. The people living in the western region have the opportunity to opt for the continuation of the current five Darfur states or for a return of Darfur as one large state or province.

Darfuris living in the camps for the displaced, Sudanese opposition parties, and civil society activists earlier expressed their grave concerns about holding the referendum in the current circumstances, sasying it might lead to a new turmoil in the conflict region.

As for one of the signatory movements to the Doha agreement, the Justice and Equality Movement led by Dabajo, said it supports keeping Darfur as five states during a press conference two weeks ago.

The National Dialogue Committee for Rights and Freedoms stressed that one of its most important recommendations concerns the postponement of the Darfur referendum, according to chairman Obeid Haj Ali on Tuesday.

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