SOUTH SUDAN: Women Networks for a Peaceful Referenda

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
South Sudan - Women's Empowerment Network
Eastern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

The South Sudan Women's Network for a peaceful Referendum has been formed in Awiel, Northen Bhar El Gazal State on August 10th, 2010, attended by various women's groups from the community based organizations. The workshop started by the arrival of the guest of honor Acting Governor Hon. Madut Dut H.E Madut, who officially opened the workshop by the following remarks:
“I have no doubt that you women know what to do. I don't know in other state, but in Northern Bhar-el-Ghazal State during Sudan National election (April 2010) women reported earlier in polling stations and were the last to leave, the result of this past election was yours. I hope you continue with that determination.

We don't have insecurity issues in Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal State, the acting Governor and I encourage the South Sudan Women's Empowerment Network (SSWEN) to continue empowering our women we shall always bring you (the women) in the decision making positions as required by the constitution of Southern Sudan. Of course action speaks louder than words.

The majorities among you here are widows of fallen heroes either in war or in the town of the liberated areas; this referendum is yours to decide the future of Southern Sudan. I once again thank the facilitator for empowering our women.

After reviewing the Referendum Act 209, participants understood the roles of the women and community leaders in the forthcoming Referendum 2011. They were able to outline the challenges and recommendations.

Challenges based on the Southern Sudanese women point of view:

  • The delay on North-South Border demarcation
  • The difficulty in the transportation to the rural areas
  • Failure to implement the CPA and Abyei protocol, might lead to violence due to the frustration of the people and erupt of violence
  • The dysfunctional of the South Sudan Referendum Commission ( SSRC)
  • No respect to the timeframe outlined in the South Sudan Referendum Act 2009, in regard to the voter education and registration dead line.
  • Lack of women participation in decision making, only one woman out of 8 members of the SSRC.
  • Southern Sudanese candidates of Sudan certificate in Khartoum, which scheduled for March 2011, will be affected by the referendum process.
  • There must be a clear mandates in place for the local Chiefs assisting in identification of the eligible voters in Southern Sudan.
  • The need of increasing Security in the polling centers during referendum.
  • Should be a clear mechanism in place to prevent rigging and ensure free and fair referendum in South Sudan
  • Early involvement of the international observers is a must

The workshop concluded by formation of the South Sudan Women's Network for a Peaceful Referendum in Northern and Western Bhar El Gazal State. We are yet to reach other women in the 10 States.