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Carter Center Urges Inclusive Transition Process in Southern Sudan

CONTACTS: Khartoum: Sanne van den Bergh +249 911 714 041, 
Juba: Maggie Ray +249 955 314 925, Atlanta: Deborah Hakes, +1 404 420 5124

Distrust between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and opposition parties is a critical challenge that undermines the unity of Southern Sudan on the eve of its independence.  To ensure a successful transition, The Carter Center urges all Southern Sudanese political leaders to agree on genuinely inclusive processes for reviewing and adopting the transitional constitution and planning for the transition.

Initial efforts by the SPLM leadership to include opposition party members in the constitution drafting and transition processes were positive steps, and demonstrated the Government of Southern Sudan's commitment to national unity and inclusion.  However, recent decisions to expand the number of SPLM members on the Technical Committee to ensure SPLM dominance over all decisions and to inhibit meaningful participation from opposition members run counter to that spirit. 

Background: Following the successful Southern Sudan referendum in January, the leaders of Southern Sudanese political parties met in Juba Feb. 16-17 under the auspices of the Political Parties Leadership Forum to follow-up commitments made at an October 2010 meeting of Southern Sudanese political parties. The parties at the February meeting re-affirmed their commitment to an inclusive transition process and agreed to increase opposition participation in the Technical Committee charged with drafting the transitional constitution.  They also agreed that the committee's draft would be presented to the Political Parties Leadership Forum for their consideration before going to the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly.  On March 7, however, five opposition parties announced their withdrawal from the Technical Committee primarily citing the use of decision-making procedures that preclude genuine discussion of key principles of the transitional constitution draft as the reason for the withdrawal.[1]  In addition, they noted concerns about statements by some SPLM members that suggest a planned expansion of the duration of the transitional period and the mandate of the current government.

The full report (PDF) gives further background and analysis on the transition process in Southern Sudan and is available along with previous Carter Center reports at

The Carter Center has maintained a field presence in Sudan throughout the entire referendum process.  After the referendum polling was concluded, President Kiir welcomed The Carter Center to extend its presence in Southern Sudan to monitor the transition. The Carter Center recognizes that the political reform and transition process presently underway in Southern Sudan is of great importance and intends to issue statements periodically to assess progress.

Currently, the Center has 12 long-term observers in Sudan monitoring and reporting on post-referendum processes, and on the postponed elections in South Kordofan and the Popular Consultations in Blue Nile. 


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. For more than 20 years, The Carter Center has worked to improve health and prevent and resolve conflict in Sudan. Please visit to learn more about The Carter Center.


[1] Nine parties signed the press release announcing the withdrawal from the committee. However, only five of the nine parties actually had representatives on the committee.

Read the full report (PDF) >

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