Carter Center Concerned About Sudan's Voter Registration Process and Obstacles to Observer Accreditation
Nov. 2, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In Khartoum: Jeffrey Mapendere +249 909 010 586 or Aly Verjee +249 126 341 480
In Juba: Sanne van den Bergh: +249 911 714 041 or +256 477 182 893
In Atlanta: Deborah Hakes, +1 404 420 5124
In a statement released today, The Carter Center noted continued progress in Sudan's electoral process, including voter registration, which began Nov. 1, but expressed concerns about the obstacles facing election observers, including delays in finalizing their accreditation procedures and delays in election preparations, as well as continued reports of harassment of political party and civil society activity.
While Sudan's National Election Commission (NEC) has allowed national and international observation of voter registration, it must act immediately to accredit national and international observers as well as political party agents, and lift restrictions on observers' freedom of movement, so that they may effectively observe voter registration. It is also important for the NEC to clarify formally whether it intends to permit observation of the entire electoral process by all interested national and international observers, as the recently revised accreditation regulations do not adequately address this.
The Center is also concerned by the NEC's slow implementation of electoral preparations, including the delayed release of funding to the state elections high committees; unresolved operational decisions related to voter registration activities which have impeded effective voter education efforts; delays in the finalization of national, regional, and state geographic constituencies; and continued harassment of political party and civil society activity across Sudan.
Following the commencement of long-term election observation activities in Sudan in February 2008 at the invitation of the Government of Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan, The Carter Center deployed 12 long-term observers based in five of Sudan's regions to assess the electoral process. The long-term observers come from eight countries: Cameroon, Canada, India, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zimbabwe. For the voter registration period, scheduled to last from Nov. 1-30, the long-term observers are being joined by an additional 20 medium-term observers to assess voter registration throughout Sudan, at both static and mobile registration centres. The Carter Center mission will observe physical registration activities; the initial publication of voter registry lists; the submission of complaints and objections to the lists; and the final publication of the voter registry. Field offices in Khartoum and Juba will continue to support and manage this observation mission.
The objectives of the Carter Center's election observation mission in Sudan are to: a) provide an impartial assessment of the overall quality of the electoral process, b) promote an inclusive electoral process for all Sudanese, and c) demonstrate international interest in Sudan's electoral process. The mission is assessing the electoral process in Sudan based on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Interim National Constitution, National Elections Act, and obligations for democratic elections contained in regional and international agreements, including the African Charter on Human and People's Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Carter Center conducts its election observation in accordance with the Declaration of Principles of International Election Observation and Code of Conduct that was adopted at the United Nations in 2005, and has been endorsed by 33 election observation groups. The Declaration of Principles can be read in Arabic and English at: http://cartercenter.org/peace/democracy/des_declaration.html
The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. The Carter Center began working in Sudan in 1986 on the Sasakawa-Global 2000 agricultural project and for more than 20 years its health and peace programs have focused on improving health and preventing and resolving conflicts in Sudan. Please visit www.cartercenter.org to learn more about The Carter Center.
 Sudan ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) on Feb. 18, 1986. The ACHPR came into force on Oct. 21, 1986 after its adoption in Nairobi (Kenya) in 1981 by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). In addition, Sudan ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on March 18, 1986, which entered into force on March 23, 1976.