Sudan: The Elders commend orderly and peaceful referendum on South’s self-determination

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Tuesday, 8 February, 2011

One month after the people of South Sudan voted for secession in an historic referendum, The Elders praise Sudanese leaders for the smooth and orderly conduct of the vote while emphasising that North and South Sudan must work together in the coming months to resolve outstanding issues and address significant development, governance and human rights challenges.

Major challenges remain for North and South;
cooperation is in their mutual interest

8 February 2011

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The Elders have commended Sudanese leaders for the smooth and orderly conduct of the South’s referendum on self-determination in January, the official results of which were announced yesterday. The Elders praised the authorities, in particular the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, for overcoming significant logistical challenges to ensure a successful voting process.

Desmond Tutu


Chair of The Elders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, said:

“This referendum was a remarkable expression of hope by the people. I was very moved by their determination to vote; some walked for days to do so.”

He added:

“Everyone who took part should be praised for ensuring that voters were able to exercise their rights freely. I applaud the people for their peaceful participation and their remarkably high turnout to vote.”

Graca Machel


Women's and children's rights activist, Graça Machel, said:

“The people of Southern Sudan voted for secession because they believed that it will lead to a better, more secure future.

“It is now up to the leaders in the South to manage the immense expectations of the people for better schools, healthcare and infrastructure and greater economic opportunities, especially for women and youth.”

Jimmy Carter


Former US President Jimmy Carter who, along with fellow Elder and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, led The Carter Center's observation mission for the referendum, said:

“While the world will join the people of Southern Sudan in celebrating the birth of Africa’s newest country, we should not turn away from the North where challenges of poverty, conflict and human rights abuses remain of great concern.

“The Elders also want to draw attention to the need to resolve the status of the Abyei area and the popular consultation processes in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.”

Lakhdar Brahimi


Former Algerian foreign minister Lakhdar Brahimi said:

“Sudanese leaders from the North and South have the responsibility to ensure that there is an orderly transition in the coming months. The immediate priority is to resolve post-referendum issues such as on citizenship, security, oil, currency, debts and liabilities.

“The common interest of both North and South is to establish and develop strong, fraternal cooperation at all levels. The rest of the world should help them effectively to achieve that objective.”

Kofi Annan


Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said:

“While they will now go separate ways, North and South Sudan will remain mutually dependent on each other for their prosperity, stability and development.

“Without peace in the North, the South will not be able to address many of its development challenges. At the same time, development in the South is a prerequisite for economic and political stability in the North.

“We thus call on the international community, and particularly the neighbouring countries, to support the efforts of both sides to work together for the benefits of their citizens and the region at large.”

Read more about The Elders' work on Sudan.

Read the latest news and reports from The Carter Center Sudan Observation Mission.

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