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April 15, 2015

Civil Society dismay at decision to deploy observation monitors to Sudan elections

Right now, Sudan is in the process of conducting an election that cannot possibly reflect the will of the Sudanese people.  The violence endemic throughout the country and the regime’s efforts to suppress political parties, civil society and press freedoms make the polling that is happening in the country meaningless.  The elections may well also undermine any chance that a real national dialogue that can eventually lead to an end to Sudan’s multiple conflicts will ever succeed.

Reflecting the deep disappointment with the process, Sudanese and other African civil society organizations reached out to the African Union to voice their concern over the AU’s decision to deploy an observer mission. Below is their public letter.

Subject: Civil Society dismay at decision to deploy observation monitors to Sudan elections

13 April 2015
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Excellencies, Representatives of the AU Peace and Security Council Member States,

H.E. Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, African Union Commission,

H.E. President Thabo Mbeki, Chair of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel,
Your Excellencies,
We, the undersigned Sudanese and African civil society organizations, write with deep concern about the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council to send an observation mission to monitor the 13 – 15 April 2015 Sudanese general elections, in direct contradiction to the recommendations of the African Union’s own pre-elections assessment mission.

We call upon Your Excellencies, to:

1. Ensure that the African Union does not legitimize a process aimed at prolonging the Government of Sudan’s continued political, human rights and humanitarian abuses and which is grossly inconsistent with the standards of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), and exacerbates the root causes of Sudan’s problems and undermines all progress over the past year to bring about a comprehensive negotiated settlement to the country’s multiple crises; While we do not endorse the decision to deploy the mission, it must report objectively and accurately on structural flaws in the election process.

2. Demand that the Government of Sudan participate in a genuine, transparent and inclusive national dialogue facilitated by independent and neutral moderators that leads to a transitional period ending in participatory elections;

3. Reiterate to the Government of Sudan and all stakeholders that a process must be inclusive and cannot exclusively happen inside Sudan, in order to allow for all interested stakeholders to participate.

Your Excellencies,

As concluded by the AU’s pre-elections assessment mission report, “the necessary conditions and environment for the holding of transparent, competitive, free and fair elections as agreed in the AU principles governing democratic elections have not been satisfied.” Moreover, the mission reported that “the prevailing situation in the country and negative impact the conduct of these elections would have on the national dialogue process, including the potential for increase in violence, it is the considered view of the assessment team that deploying an AUEOM (AU Elections Observation Mission) under this circumstance would not be viable and effective, and would not contribute to democracy building in Sudan as enshrined in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) and the OAU Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa.”

The continued intransigence on the part of the Government of Sudan and its refusal to participate in a Pre-Dialogue Preparatory meeting convened by the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in late-March, has resulted in the failure of its own ostensible desire to hold a national dialogue, is in direct contravention of the AUPSC’s September 2014 Communique 456, which called for such a meeting, and is leading to a total collapse of the AU’s efforts to facilitate and mediate for a negotiated settlement of Sudan’s crises. We urge Your Excellencies to ensure that the African Union sets a positive precedent and does not further legitimize a flawed process.

The undersigned:

Africa Friends Association – Tunisia

African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies – Uganda

Al-Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment – Sudan

Arab Programme for Human Rights Activists – Egypt

Arab Coalition for Sudan

Arab Network for Human Rights Information – Egypt

Arab Organisation for Human Rights – Libya

Arab Organisation for Human Rights – Mauritania

Arab Institute for Democracy – Tunisia

Algeria League for Defense of Human Rights – Algeria

Civil Society Initiative – Sudan

Conscience International – Sierra Leone

Darfur Bar Association – Sudan

Governance Bureau – Sudan

Human Rights Development Organisation – Sudan

International Refugee Rights Initiative – Uganda

Journalists for Human Rights – Sudan

Kamma Organisation for Development Initiatives – Sudan

Lawyers for Human Rights – South Africa

Nuba Relief Rehabilitation and Development Organisation – Sudan

Regional Centre for the Development of Civil Society – Sudan

SOS Exclusion – Cote d’Ivoire

Sudan Consortium

Sudan Democracy First Group – Sudan

Zarga Organisation for Rural Development – Sudan

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