With the southern Sudanese referendum for independence less than a year away, it is a bit puzzling that the south is not overcome by an overwhelming sense of nationalism. It is true that on the eve of the national elections, the increasing number of independent candidates has fractured southern political parties that were previously utilized as national rallying bases.
In January, there were two discussions in the United Nations Security Council that are important to Refugees International’s work. The discussion on Somalia was particularlydisappointing, but we were pleased that the UN Security Council is finally looking at how to respond to the escalating violence in south Sudan.
The escalation of violence in south Sudan should serve as a wake-up
call at this critical point in time. Five years ago this week, the
government in Khartoum and rebel leaders in south Sudan ended a long
and bloody civil war with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement. Today, with one year left to go before a referendum on
southern independence in 2011, the outlook is grim. Last month, the
Khartoum government cracked down on protesters and detained senior
members of opposition parties.