STATEMENT of the Peoples’ Forum

Kadugli, January 21-23, 2009

We - participants from different counties of Southern Kordofan - Christians and Muslims, civil society organisations and traditional leaders - assembled in the Peoples’ Forum meeting in Kadugli, Southern Kordofan, Zakirat Hall, from January 21-23, 2009 under the theme “Peace-The Hope for the Future. Achievements and challenges of the CPA Implementation”.

Aware of our responsibility as leaders and citizens in Southern Kordofan, affirming our commitment to bring about justice, peace and reconciliation, wehave spent three days of very valuable discussions, listening and in dialogue with one another and our distinguished guests, to assess the current situation in our state and plan how we can respond to it in co-operation with our communities and government. 

Being grateful to the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC), the Sudan Ecumenical Forum (SEF) and all our partners who helped organise this Forum; commending the Inter Church Committee (ICC), and the SCC and SEF staff who diligently and skilfully facilitated the Forum, we hereby state the following:

Having heard from the presentations by the facilitators, honourable guests and speakers 

among them the Acting Governor of Southern Kordofan; the Minister for Information, Culture, Youth and Sports; the General Secretary of Southern Kordofan State; the Commissioner of Kadugli Locality; the Southern Kordofan deputy General Secretary of the National Congress Party (NCP); the  Southern Kordofan Acting General Secretary of  the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Party (SPLM) ; the legal adviser  of SPLM Southern Kordofan;  the director of the Commission for Voluntary Return in Southern Kordofan; the Acting Head of UNMIS Sector 4; the Acting Head of UNMIS Sector 4 Civil Affairs , and enriched by the presence of representatives of international NGOs, such as  NCA and DCA

Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)
We comment the achievements of the CPA in our State so far, namely the ceasefire, the freedom of movement, the National and State constitutions and the formation of the joint government, and reaffirm our commitment to work to safeguard the full implementation of the CPA, which provides the basis for a just and sustainable peace in the Sudan.  

We nevertheless recognize existing problems like the prevailing and emerging conflicts, the lack of mutual understanding between the two partners of the CPA in some areas, the boarder demarcation, the incomplete census, the lack of recognising traditional structures and leaders, and the fact that many people within our communities remain poorly informed about the content of the CPA. We see an urgent need for its widespread dissemination and understanding, and especially enlightening our people on the election process and the popular consultation. 

Being more specific, we identified the following as issues, which require immediate action:

Safety and Human Security: We are highly alarmed by hearing that there are people who are still holding arms or are even rearmed in the communities, and using these arms for creating insecurity.  We commit ourselves to identify these groups and engage them in dialogue with the purpose of reaching an understanding of disarmament. We call on all armed forces to leave the civil places still used as storage for weapons and other means of warfare. We further call on the partners to fully respect the security arrangements as provided for in the CPA, namely to inform the international monitoring body UNMIS about troop movements and deployment, to work in the Joint Integrated Units on the basis of mutual understanding and to provide trained, non partisan police forces to our communities. We further call to streamline the legal system, and to respect customary laws.

IDPs: Four years into the CPA, still many of our people have not been able to return home, due to lack of organised transport, preparations and facilities, such as water, land, schools, health facilities and job opportunities. In addition, some may feel they are not welcome by the communities or authorities.  We call on those concerned to provide the basis for our people to return, and for the receiving communities and authorities to encourage them to return and to welcome them.

Elections in 2009: Aware that the elections are one process in the right direction on the road to Democracy, Good governance, Self-Determination and Popular Consultation, we congratulate the National Government for appointing the Election Commission and for passing the Electoral Law, which we need to familiarise ourselves with very soon. We see a complete census and the distribution of birth certificates as the basis for fair and free elections. We therefore call for completing this process, for starting voters’ education and for providing mechanisms for independent monitoring of the elections by the civil society.

The Popular consultation: We are aware that the people of Southern Kordofan and Southern Blue Nile will not participate in a Referendum to be held in 2011, but through a process of Popular Consultation. We urge all leaders in the respective areas to speak with one united voice on this issue as they enlighten their people, as we affirm the right of every human being to decide his or her destiny.  We therefore advocate for structures for popular consultations to be put in place as soon as possible.

Development: Four years into the CPA, development in terms of infrastructure, access to clean water, schools, and health facilities is still lacking in many places, especially those most effected by the war. We call for equal distribution in providing these facilities, starting with the most effected areas. We also call for measures of capacity building on all levels, to enable our people to build their own future.

Reconciliation and Trauma healing: Conflicts are still prevailing in our state, new ones are emerging, fuelled by political interests, and the wounds of the war, including deep traumata with many citizens have not been healed. We urgently call for a process of dialogue, reconciliation and trauma healing, and commit ourselves to work towards it.

Religion: For centuries, Christians and Muslims have lived together in Southern Kordofan, providing a model of peaceful co-existence to other areas. We note with deep concern, that the misuse of religion now has become a source of conflict also in our State. We therefore call for people of different faith to come together and for their leaders to jointly work for peace and reconciliation.

As we close we hold the concerns of all our people in our hearts, especially those in Abyei, in neighbouring Darfur, in Malakal, in the LRA effected locations in Western Equatoria and all other areas in our country, where armed conflict is still prevailing.

Signed on behalf of the Kadugli Peoples’ Forum participants:
Kadugli, January 23, 2009

Peter Tibi General Secretary, SCC
Musa Kodi    Chair Executive Committee, SCC
Khamis Harn     Muslim community
Father Yohana Al Amin Christian community
Abdin Rahal Tutu Traditional leader
Fatih Alrahman  Civil society
Aboshlokh Amar Janabo Youth
 Safira Ahmed Women


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