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Carter Center Deploys International Referendum Observers in Sudan



In Sudan: Sanne van den Bergh +249 911 714 041

In Atlanta: Deborah Hakes +1 404 420 5124

Khartoum…The Carter Center deployed 16 long-term observers from 12 nations this week to assess the referendum process in Southern Sudan and in the areas in the North where voting will occur. Four two-person observer teams have been deployed in Southern Sudan, three teams in Northern Sudan, and one team in Abyei.

The Carter Center welcomes the invitation extended by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) to observe all stages of the process, including the voter registration, campaign period, polling, tabulation, and the resolution of disputes. The Center appreciates the spirit of cooperation of the Sudanese authorities and the SSRC to facilitate the freedom of movement and access of observers to the entirety of the process.

In recent weeks, encouraging progress has been made with the appointments of the members of the state high committees in all 10 Southern states, the appointment of the secretary-general of the SSRC, and the commencement of printing of the voter registration materials. However, a series of additional important steps are needed for the process to move forward, including the approval of the SSRC's budget; rapid disbursal of adequate funds to the SSRC; publication of a detailed referendum calendar; recruitment and training of referendum staff; and transparent decisions on the legal framework, institutional structures, and operational plans to implement voter registration. Upon receipt of funds, it is important to ensure that monies are expedited to the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau and state high referendum committees so that they become fully operational and can recruit office and registration staff.

Background on the Carter Center's mission

The Carter Center began referendum observation activities in Sudan in August 2010 in response to an invitation from the SSRC. As during its April 2010 elections observation mission, the Center will assess the referendum processes in Sudan based on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Interim National Constitution, Southern Sudan Referendum Act, and obligations for democratic elections contained in regional and international agreements, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.[1]

The objectives of the Carter Center's observation mission in Sudan are to provide an impartial assessment of the overall quality of the referendum process, promote an inclusive process for all Southern Sudanese, and demonstrate international interest in Sudan's referendum process. The Carter Center conducts observation activities 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 endorsed by 35 election observation groups.[2]


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]Sudan ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) Feb. 18, 1986. The ACHPR came into force on Oct. 21, 1986. Sudan acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on March 18, 1986, which entered into force on March 23, 1976.

[2]The Declaration of Principles in Arabic and English can be read at

Manel Fall meets Zahra Said Ali.
All Photos: Carter Center
(Click to enlarge)

Carter Center long-term observer Manel Fall (right) meets Zahra Said Ali, program coordinator for the Sudanese Network for Democratic Elections (SuNDE).

Representatives of SuNDE and SuDEMOP brief Carter Center long-term observers.
(Click to enlarge)

Representatives of domestic observer networks SuNDE and the Sudan Domestic Election Monitoring And Observation Programme (SuDEMOP) brief Carter Center long-term observers.

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