Japan provides $8 Million emergency grant for Sudan referenda

1 August 2010 (Sudan Tribune)

The Japanese government has provided approximately US$ 8.17 million grant to assist Sudan in its preparations for the much-anticipated referendum, earmarked for early next year.

The referenda emergency grant, channelled through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is meant to boost mechanisms that will ensure that the referendum, provided for in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), is conducted in a transparent manner.

Specifically, the fund is intended to provide voter registration materials, assist in voter education, media training as well as provide assistance for the protection and active participation of women.

It has further been earmarked for strengthening of the Abyei police and voting materials.

"The referenda of January 2011 will be held as part of the final phase of the implementation process of the Agreement [CPA] and are thus events of tremendous importance. Japan, hoping that the referenda will be conducted in a fair and smooth manner, has decided to provide this grant assistance to contribute to that goal," reads a July 30 statement issued the Japanese government.

Meanwhile, to achieve consolidation of peace in Sudan, the Japanese government called for not only steady implementation of the CPA, but says progress must be made in the negotiations between the North and the South on post-CPA arrangements.

"Japan intends to continue to extend its active cooperation for the efforts for peace and stability in Sudan, including by encouraging further actions on the part of the parties of both the North and the South in that direction," the statement further reads.

The emergency fund, according to the July 30 statement, is urgently needed for the procurement of materials and increasing the level of capacity-building in various areas such as voter education.

Abyei area legislator, Arop Madut Arop yesterday lauded the Japanese government's generosity, but said the fund should not only target Abyei Police, but the entire law enforcement personnel in South Sudan.

"This is good news for the people of South Sudan and the entire country. However, given the high levels of insecurity especially in the south, such funds should be used to train all our law enforcement officers to maintain peace and stability," Arop told Sudan Tribune by phone yesterday.

Last month, an impromptu attack by Messeriya militia at a Police base in Abyei left 5 Police officers dead and 2 seriously injured. The attack was widely condemned by area authorities and the Government of Southern Sudan.

Over 600 Police forces are currently in Abyei area, while a quarter of them are said to be directly involved in crime investigations, detective roles and supervision as well as handling Police-related cases.


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