September 24, 2023

New report on disputed census results

The Geneva-based Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre has just put out a new report on the disputed Sudan census entitled An Incomplete Exercise. I don’t have time to summarize the report, which highlights a number of concerns raised to me when I was in Khartoum last year, but have pasted its recommendations below:

1. The outcomes of the 5th Population and Housing Census in Sudan are a potential cause of future disputes and unrest. Important political measures in the area of political power sharing and wealth sharing in Sudan are organically linked to the outcomes of the population census. It is therefore prudent that future arrangements for power and wealth sharing in Sudan should not be based on the outcomes of the 5th Population and Housing Census. Such arrangements should rather be based on the outcomes of the 1993 population census and its projected population growth rates.
2. As large parts of Darfur were excluded from the 5th Population and Housing Census it is, therefore, necessary that a special population census be organized in Darfur following the conclusion of a political agreement on peace in the region. Such a population census should be conducted with the full involvement and supervision of political forces in Darfur and specialized UN agencies.
3. General elections that consolidate de facto exclusion of some parts of Sudan from participation in the political life violate the country’s Interim National Constitution and the CPA. Because of the constitutional requirement of holding the general legislative and executive elections throughout Sudan, efforts should be redoubled to conclude a comprehensive peace agreement in Darfur before the general elections take place. In case it became impossible that a peace accord be reached in Darfur there will be no alternative but to defer the dates of the general executive and legislative elections beyond April 2010.

4. General legislative and executive elections in Sudan should be organised only after a comprehensive peace accord in Darfur is reached and that additional efforts have been made
to ensure an environment conducive to the holding of inclusive, comprehensive, participatory, and credible elections in Darfur and all over Sudan.
5. Profound and meaningful legal reform to harmonize Sudan’s legislations with the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Interim National Constitution and compatible with Sudan’s obligations
under regional and international human rights treaties should be accorded priority by the government and the political forces in the country.
6. Legal reform in Sudan should incriminate attempts of any group or individuals to use religion against political opponents or to provoke political violence, religious hatred and intolerance including by declaring members of opposing political ideologies as infidels, atheists or apostates.
7. Sound political and legal measurers need to be taken to protect the multi-facet nature of Sudan which is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi-religious country and
to protect the achievements so far realized by the CPA.

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