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Posts Tagged ‘Ngok Dinka’

African Union (AU) on Abyei

Posted by African Press International on November 8, 2013

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) fielded a visit to Abyei from 5 to 6 November 2013 to mark its solidarity with the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities, as well as with the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) as part of its effort to promote peace, security and stability in the region.

Council was received by the Governor of South Kordofan, Mr. Adam Elfaki, during its transition in Kadugli on its way to Abyei. Council expressed gratitude for the warm welcome accorded to it and the facilities made available.

In Abeyi Town, on 5 November 2013, the PSC received briefing from the Ngok Dinka community through their representatives namely, the Paramount Chief of Ngok Dinka, Bulabek Deng Kuol Arop, the Chairperson of the Civil Society Organization, the Representative of South Sudan Political Parties and the Chairperson of Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC)-South Sudan on the situation prevailing in Abyei, as well as from UNISFA regarding its mission and the current situation in Abyei. On 6 November 2013, Council received briefings from the AJOC-The Sudan and the Misseriya traditional leaders, as well as from the people of Misseriya in Diffra.

Council recalled the objectives of its important and historic field visit to Abyei as stated in its communique PSC/MIN/COMM.1(CCCLXXXVII) Rev.1, adopted at its 387th meeting held on 29 July 2013, and expressed satisfaction that the field visit afforded Council the opportunity to obtain first-hand information and understanding of the situation in Abyei. Council acknowledged the enormity of the humanitarian needs, as well as the far reaching challenges facing UNISFA and the Abyei communities.

Council also noted the plight of the local communities and called for urgent development assistance, especially in the fields of health and education, and pledged to do its utmost in seeking assistance for such development.

Council reaffirmed its communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CDIII), adopted at its 403rd meeting held on 26 October 2013, through which Council among other things, reiterated its deep concern about the situation prevailing in Abyei, and stressed the need for active and continued African involvement in support of efforts aimed at addressing the challenges at hand. Council reiterated its full acceptance of the proposal submitted by the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), on 21 September 2012, and renewed it appeal to the UN Security Council to urgently support the proposal as the best way forward for the solution in Abyei.

Council underscored the inalienable right of the people of Abyei to self-determination in accordance with the Abyei Protocol contained in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005. With regard to the decision of the Ngok Dinka community to conduct a unilateral referendum, Council listened to the expression of deep frustration, anger and concerns, as well as reasons for the action of the Ngok Dinka community and stressed the need for continued efforts to resolve the final status of Abyei within the context of the AUHIP proposal of 21 September 2012.

On 6 November 2013, Council met with the Chairman of AJOC-The Sudan, Mr. Alkhair Alfaeem Almakki, and the members of his Committee and the Misseriya Paramount Chief and the Community Leaders and people in Diffra before returning to Addis Ababa via Kadugli. Council listened to the expressions of their deep concerns and rejection of the unilateral action of the Ngok Dinka community and reassured them that the PSC had noted their views and would take them into account during their deliberations at their future meetings.

Council underlined that its visit was aimed at helping in the healing process for the Abyei communities and expressed its determination to continue its support to the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities in seeking a lasting solutionso that the communities can co-exist peacefully. Council once again called upon all the stakeholders in Abyei not to aggravate the already tense situation on the ground.

Council expressed its gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to the members by the authorities and the communities of Ngok Dinka and Misseriya. Council expressed its deep appreciation to the Government of The Sudan and the Government of South Sudan, as well as the UNISFA Force Commander for their tireless support in facilitating its field mission to Abyei. Council commended the laudable work of UNISFA in maintaining peace, security and stability in the Area despite the daunting challenges it faced in its working environment.

 

SOURCE

African Union Commission (AUC)

 

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Seeking the right to vote – Abyei

Posted by African Press International on November 4, 2013

Seeking the right to vote

NAIROBI,  – The contested region of Abyei recently held a “unilateral” referendum to determine whether it will remain part of Sudan or be restored to South Sudan, a move analysts fear could fuelconflict in the region.

The 27-29 October referendum on Abyei followed repeated delays in the vote, which was initially planned for January 2011 as part of a deal under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) designed to bring the civil war in Sudan to an end.

The sticking point has been Khartoum’s insistence that Misseriya pastoralists, many of whom served alongside Sudan’s government forces during the civil war, and who spend six months of the year in Abyei’s pastureland, be allowed to take part.

The Ngok Dinka community, Abyei’s main permanent residents who largely backed the southern rebels during the war, overwhelmingly voted to join South Sudan in the poll. “The referendum committee has announced the results, and the number of people who have chosen to become part of South Sudan is 99.9 per cent of the vote,” Kenya’s Daily Nation quotes Luka Biong, the spokesman for the Abyei Referendum High Committee, as saying.

Those allowed to vote were the Ngok Dinka and others with permanent abode in Abyei, as recommended by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague in 2009, according to a Small Arms Survey (SAS) report.

The Misseriya on 29 October said they would hold a counter-referendum in November, according to Radio Miraya, a Juba-based UN radio station.

Warnings over unilateral action

Before the vote, the UN Security Council had urged Sudan and South Sudan “to refrain from any unilateral action that could heighten tension between the two neighbouring countries or impede a solution regarding the contested, oil-rich border region of Abyei.”

The African Union (AU) in a statement, following a failed visit to Abyei on 26 October said: “[The AU] reiterates its deep concern at the prevailing situation in Abyei, and stresses the need for active and continued African involvement in support of the efforts aimed at addressing the challenges at hand in Abyei. [It] further reiterates that its visit to Abyei is aimed at defusing tension on the ground, including averting any unilateral actions, and creating a conducive environment for the peaceful resolution of the final status of Abyei…

“[It] warns all stakeholders in Abyei to refrain from taking any unilateral action likely to complicate the situation, and, in this regard, calls for maximum restraint.”

Once the referendum had been held the AU described it as “unacceptable and irresponsible”.

“Political statement”

The vote, according to Abyei leaders, was spurred by growing frustration at perceived international inaction.

“The Dinka Ngok did not want to take this path but what can they do since they have been denied the opportunity repeatedly. The Dinka Ngok people were promised an internationally recognized referendum but it has been repeatedly delayed since January 2011. They cannot be expected to fold arms and wait indefinitely”

“It was the AU which made the proposal to hold a referendum in October 2013. However what has been the benefit of attending summits and meetings on Abyei, considering that the AU’s own delegation was recently not allowed to enter the area by the Sudanese government?” asks Ngor Arol Garang, a South Sudanese journalist based in Juba writing in the Sudan Tribune (based in Paris).

“The Dinka Ngok did not want to take this path but what can they do since they have been denied the opportunity repeatedly. The Dinka Ngok people were promised an internationally recognized referendum but it has been repeatedly delayed since January 2011. They cannot be expected to fold arms and wait indefinitely,” adds Garang.

Writing in African Arguments, Sudan expert Stephen Arrno says: “What is now considered an “empty” move by the nine Ngok Dinka chieftains to hold a unilateral plebiscite that will get no recognition is in fact a political statement by a community that found itself caught in a cyclical political conundrum.

“Through taking the law in hand via a unilateral referendum, the people of Abyei have reached out to all actors to express their disaffection for a decade of indecisiveness and the suffering, humiliation and displacement – endured twice during the CPA period.”

The referendum, adds Arrno, has also raised “serious questions regarding the complexities in the Abyei protocol, giving no options for the Ngok people but to be at odds with regional and international bodies…

“Indeed the Abyei protocol which is part of the… CPA remains and will currently go [down] in history as the only protocol that has never been implemented since it was signed in 2004. Moreover, the Abyei protocol remains the only open protocol in the CPA that is constantly modified to accommodate serious hiccups arising between the two parties.”

Fears of conflict

The referendum has elicited fears of possible conflict and other adverse effects.

“The Misseriya, increasingly alienated from the GoS [Government of Sudan] and worried about losing crucial grazing land in Abyei -especially given that many of their routes into South Sudan have been blocked in recent years – could clash with the Ngok Dinka over the referendum,” says SAS.

“Even if the initial declaration of the referendum results does not lead to clashes, the upcoming annual migration will present a stiff test to both sides, as a putatively independent Ngok Dinka administration in Abyei will have to decide on how to handle a Misseriya migration amid massive numbers of returnees.”

“Through taking the law in hand via a unilateral referendum, the people of Abyei have reached out to all actors to express their disaffection for a decade of indecisiveness and the suffering, humiliation and displacement – endured twice during the CPA period”

The AU in a separate statement warned that the poll poses a threat to peace in Abyei and could “trigger an unprecedented escalation on the ground, which could negatively affect the continuing normalization of relations between Sudan and South Sudan, with far-reaching consequences for the region as a whole…

“Such escalation could also put the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) peacekeepers in a very dangerous position,” added the AU.

South Sudan condemns referendum

Besides conflict concerns, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS), which has also condemned the vote, is protecting its economic interests.

“The GRSS believes that no further headway can be made in negotiations with the GoS over the situation in Abyei, and is also aware that siding with the Ngok Dinka over the referendum could destabilize relations with Sudan, lead to a disruption of vital oil flows, and further conflict,” notes SAS.

“By pressing the AU to take the lead over Abyei, the GRSS hopes that the AU might try to force the GoS to accept the referendum results, while preventing the consequences that could result from South Sudan taking such a position.”

South Sudan’s government relies on oil profits to pay its public sector workers and the army.

GoS has also dismissed the poll results.

Regarding the impasse over Abyei, Zacharia Diing Akol, the director of training at the Juba-based Sudd Institute states: “The facts in this case are very clear… Abyei belongs to the Ngok Dinka and these people deserve to voluntarily decide under the international system that recognizes their right to self-determination where they should belong.

“The nomadic Misseriya community, which seasonally comes to Abyei and South Sudan’s neighbouring states for grazing and pasture, has the secondary right recognized by the PCA’s ruling. This, however, does not and should not at all be confused with the idea of permanent abode, which the court has identified as forming the sole basis upon which all other Sudanese citizens can participate in the referendum,” states a 29 October Sudd Institute report.

According to SAS, the “unilateral” referendum “is a high-risk strategy, and, in the best-case scenario, leaves Abyei voting to join a country that did not publicly condone the referendum, and leaving a country that refuses to recognize the referendum’s results.”

aw/cb  source http://www.irinnews.org

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