Southern Sudan: all parties must ensure referendum is free and fair, urges ACT Alliance

Sunday, January 09, 2011

As polling begins today in the southern Sudan referendum, bringing to fruition a provision of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005, global humanitarian network ACT Alliance asks all parties to do their utmost to ensure that the referendum is peaceful, inclusive and fair. “A free and fair referendum is critical not only for the people of southern Sudan, but for all Sudan. The outcome of the referendum will affect the lives of all Sudanese and the future of the region”, said ACT Alliance general secretary John Nduna today.

Praising the parties to the CPA - the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission and the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau - for their work in facilitating the referendum process, Mr Nduna said they must now do their utmost, during polling and in the run-up to the announcement of the result, to ensure electoral transparency. Mr Nduna said the verdict of the people of southern Sudan must be respected, whether they decide to secede or stay united with the north. “ACT takes no sides and no view on the outcome of the referendum”, he said. “As a humanitarian alliance, we work in north and south Sudan and Darfur with people of all backgrounds, to meet the requirements of those in the greatest need”.

About ACT Alliance and its work in Sudan
ACT Alliance is a network of 105 church and church-related organisations involved in humanitarian, long-term development and advocacy issues in 140 countries around the world. It works impartially with all people, regardless of background, ethnicity, gender, religion or political affiliation. ACT Alliance is locally rooted, consisting of local member organisations and international partners who work in cooperation with local churches and other non-governmental partner organisations.

ACT Alliance members have been working with people in all parts of Sudan for 50 years. They have contributed to the reconciliation of various armed groups and, through the Sudan Ecumenical Forum and its Catholic and Protestant members and partners in Sudan, including Caritas and the Sudan Council of Churches, been actively involved in the process leading up to the signing of the CPA. ACT Alliance is committed to continuing to assist people in need in Darfur, the north and the south of Sudan, regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

For interviews and further information on ACT's work in southern Sudan, please contact the national spokesperson for ACT Alliance, Sudan, Tore Torstad, Director South Sudan, NCA at tore@ncasudan.org