Today, Sudan will undergo a historic vote that will change the future of their country. Experts agree that the referendum beginning today will result in approval for independence for southern Sudan. Yet the vote is only the first step in splitting this vast nation. Violence in border regions between the North and South have already been reported in the lead up to the vote, and many fear that voting stations in the north or in other countries, including Canada will be rigged and tampered. In addition, indications that the results will not be revealed until February raise legitimate concerns about transparency. Sudan will have a long road ahead in the next few months to ensure a peaceful secession.
While the Canadian government has said little publicly about the vote, the Canadian media has only started to print articles about it within the last week. Very few have discussed Canada’s role in the shaping of this new country, yet the presence of international support is deemed necessary for a peaceful succession. Today, as the Sudanese population begi ns takes their turn at the polling booth, I ask that you let Canada’s media know that you want our government to increase its involvement in the region. Take a few minutes to leave an online comment on a recent news story about Sudan or write a letter to the editor of the newspaper.
Not sure what to say? The January Stand Digest provides a great overview of the lead up to the election as well as Canada’s current role in Sudan. Here are some suggested talking points to draw from:
“Canada should push Sudan to repeal prohibitions on freedom of speech and assembly, increase transparency in the referendum, process, financially support voter education programs, and remove logistical and technical barriers.”
“In the event that the North Sudanese government (NCP) or the South Sudanese Government (SPLM) do not recognize the results of the referendum, but the referendum meets international standards, Canada should be prepared to mobilize the international community to implement targeted sanctions against the belligerent party.”
“A report issued this December by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development recommended that Canada send a high-level delegation to Sudan immediately following the referendum. The delegation should assess the needs on the ground to determine how Canada can best help the region. I support this recommendation.”
As advocates, this is a great opportunity to remind our media that Canada cares about Sudan’s peaceful future. Take some time today to write a comment, share a news story or write a letter to the editor.
Thank you for your support,
The Stand Canada Team