The Referendum in Sudan

The Referendum in Sudan closed today (15 Jan 2011) and now comes the time to continue to pray and study and work that the days to come will remain (relatively) calm and peaceful.

According to a UN Statement the Referendum went well and ballot counting will begin today (15 Jan).

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the end of the polling period for the referendum on the self-determination of Southern Sudan, and congratulated the people for their patience and peaceful determination to cast their ballots, which characterized voting over the past week.

According to the same statement preliminary results will be announced on 2 Feb 2011 and barring any legal actions the final results will be announced on 7 or 14 Feb  2011.

In a Q & A interview posted by the Carnegie Institute, Marina Ottaway offers this insight:

What is the threat of violence? Could another civil war break out or will people be displaced?

Violence unfortunately remains a possibility, but it would not necessarily be a return to civil war. Despite calls for demobilization, disarmament, and the reintegration of combatants in the 2005 peace agreement, both sides are well armed and could restart fighting.

The most immediate danger is that of violence against the southern Sudanese in the north, particularly Khartoum. There are already a large number of people returning to the south out of fear of violence after the referendum.

After the referendum, there is the danger that Khartoum is going to tell southerners in the north to go home—this would be a tremendous burden on the south. And regardless of what the government says, the northern population might turn against and attack southerners. Unfortunately, just as we saw in the Balkans, the partition of a country can lead to ethnic cleansing and disorderly repatriation. Read the entire interview

So it is that I again appeal for your continued prayers. The Referendum has ended, but the future is still uncertain; the threat of violence, even “ethnic cleansing” very real. Pray for peace. Believe that your prayers, your attention, your work in the place you are, doing what you can, will make a difference.

A prayer adapted from the Book of Common Prayer:

Dear God, in the world you wish for us no one uses swords, and love is strong. We pray that all people may come together with Jesus, like children of one Father. May your glory shine everywhere. Amen. Source: A Season of Prayer for Sudan – Youth Resources

For further reading and reflection

Image credit (1) Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

One thought on “The Referendum in Sudan

  1. Pingback: Continuing in prayer, study, action « Father Dan's Blog

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