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Many obstacles for Sudan’s smaller communities ahead of key elections

9 April 2010

Violence and bureaucracy are likely to prevent smaller communities from casting their vote in the weekend elections in Sudan. While the opposition boycott has grabbed headlines, issues facing smaller communities, including incidents of continuing violence, have been missed out.

According to Minority Rights Group International's partner organization in Sudan, there has been substantial election-related violence, for instance in the eastern Jonglei state, amongst the Jie, Murle and the Toposa communities.

The failure by the state to provide adequate security in these areas has exacerbated the violence and could pose a serious problem during and after the elections. There are reportedly only about a dozen police officers protecting 11 polling stations, which are spread across wide areas of often swampy terrain.

Pastoralist communities have also complained that the election process has not taken into consideration their unique culture, which is likely to prevent them from casting their votes. Small groups, such as the Misseriya and the Daju, who move between the north and the south say the election rules require voting at the same place where registration took place. However, at the time of the elections, many within these communities would have travelled with their cattle far away from their homes and will not be in a position to return to cast their votes.

For more information on the problems faced by minorities during and after the elections please contact:

Paul Oleyo Longony

Boma Development Initiative – A local NGO working on Peace building in eastern Jonglei

Satellite phone: +8821643335652