Support For a Peaceful Referendum in Sudan


On the 9th of January 2011, Southern Sudanese will choose if they want to separate from the rest of the country or continue to be a part of Sudan. If you want to support a peaceful referendum, here are some suggestions how you can act. Now.

Briefing Note

from the Multi-Stakeholder Planning Process on

Planning for Effective Violence Prevention and Peacebuilding in Southern Sudan – The Referendum and Beyond

October 19 – 22, Juba, Southern Sudan

Planning for Effective Violence Prevention and Peacebuilding in Southern Sudan – The Referendum and Beyond

From October 19 – 22 at the Jebel Lodge just outside Juba, two 2-day Multi-Stakeholder Planning Processes were held bringing together representatives of the GoSS, the Ministry for Peace and CPA Implementation, the Peace and Reconciliation Committee of the Assembly, and key local, national and international organisations and actors including religious leaders, the United Nations, the World Bank, and others.

The two events provided a multi-stakeholder planning and design process bringing together relevant / key institutions involved in preparations for the referendum and current / existing prevention, peacebuilding and civilian peacekeeping measures. [1]

The Multi-Stakeholder Planning Process was designed:

  1. As a facilitated planning process
  2. Bringing together key actors and stakeholders
  3. With mandated responsibility on the issues being addressed

Its purpose was to:

  1. Provide a practical /operational planning and design process to

q  Jointly Identify / Assess the Situation / Risk

q  Jointly Identify Existing and Planned Measures – incl. Strengths, Gaps

q  Jointly Identify Recommended / Proposed Measures

  1. Improve Coordination, Quality, Effectiveness and Impact
  2. Provide Operational Results that benefitted all participating stakeholders

Briefing Note

This Briefing Note is the first immediate output from that process. It is a draft note collecting key recommendations and proposals put forward by participants in the Multi-Stakeholder Planning Process, listed here in the order of:

  1. Key Proposals
  2. Government and Leadership
  3. Security Forces and Armed Groups
  4. Mass Campaign for a Peaceful Referendum
  5. Community-Based Peacebuilding
  6. North-South Measures
  7. International Organisations
  8. Media & Information Communication / Public Relations
  9. Coordination & Implementation of Planning and Violence Prevention

The Key Proposals section collects several of the principal recommendations brought forward by Working Groups during the Planning Process. Other sections identify sector or action specific recommendations. Taken as a whole they provide the foundations for a practical action / work plan to strengthen peacebuilding and prevention before, during and after the referendum.

While only a draft, this document may be circulated widely to relevant stakeholders and institutions. Input and recommendations are invited to further improve the document. Its purpose is to provide a practical identification of viable / realistic measures which can be adopted to strengthen capacities for prevention and peacebuilding before, during and after the upcoming referendum.

The Multi-Stakeholder Planning Processes were facilitated by the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) of PATRIR which is providing on-going support upon request. PATRIR was invited by DED’s Civil Peace Service programme in Sudan and its partners.


KEY PROPOSALS

1. Coordinate: Effective Violence Prevention and Peacebuilding

To hold at the earliest opportunity a Coordination Meeting to bring together all key state, national and international organisations engaged in election preparations and peacebuilding and prevention measures. The meeting should be called by the Ministry for Peace and CPA Implementation and actively supported by national and international organisations. Coordination bodies / meetings should also be organized at the Boma and State levels to identify and bring together all actors, agencies and groups involved in peacebuilding and violence prevention to improve cooperation, impact and effectiveness.

2. Peace Pledge

To adopt and promote a Peace Pledge which can be taken up by all the peoples and citizens of Sudan. This Peace Pledge should be a commitment to:

o    The prevention of violence before, during and after the referendum

o    Respecting the human rights and dignity of all the people of Sudan

o    A commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts and ensuring the needs of all peoples and communities are respected

3. Non-Aggression and No Use of Violence Pledge

For GoNU and GoSS to unilaterally or jointly declare Non-Aggression and No Use of Violence Pledges for the military, militia and all armed forces of North and South Sudan, to state that their forces will:

o   Never initiate military, aggressive, offensive actions, acts of violence or operations against the forces or peoples of Sudan

o   That their forces will pro-actively cooperate with local authorities, religious and traditional leaders, and civil society to support local peacebuilding and prevention measures

4. Mass Social Mobilization and Public Awareness Raising Campaign for a Peaceful Referendum

To launch massive social mobilization and public engagement and awareness raising campaigns – to be supported by religious institutions, civil society, local and international NGOs – to mobilize and engage citizens and all sectors of society in North and South for a peaceful referendum and beyond.

5. Peace Committees and Standing Infrastructure for Peace

To strengthen existing Peace Committees and establish Peace Committees where they don’t exist, to strengthen infrastructure and capacities for prevention, peacebuilding and civilian peacekeeping.

6. Identify and Address Critical At Risk Areas / Situations

To identify areas most at risk of violence and critical incidents before, during or after the referendum and support active peacebuilding and violence mitigation efforts to address these situations and prevent their serving as triggers to violence escalation.

7. Prepare Violence Prevention and Mitigation Strategies and Measures

To proactively identify and prepare violence prevention and mitigation strategies and measures to:

o   Address actual / possible drivers of conflict / risk before they become violent

o   To strengthen preparedness and coordination with all relevant actors and agencies

o   To manage critical / violent incidents if they do occur to prevent escalation and strengthen peacebuilding

8. Recognize the Importance of Violence Prevention, Peacebuilding and Civilian Peacekeeping

For all State, civil society, religious leaders, local authorities, media, NGOs and international organisations and the international community to recognize that the prevention of violence before, during and after the elections is a critical and immediate priority and to invest significant, serious and capable efforts and measures to support peacebuilding and strengthen / put in place capacities and active measures for violence prevention.


Government and Leadership

1.      Peace Pledge: To adopt and promote a Peace Pledge which can be taken up by all the peoples and citizens of Sudan. This Peace Pledge should be a commitment to:

o   The prevention of violence before, during and after the referendum

o   Respecting the human rights and dignity of all the people of Sudan

o   A commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts and ensuring the needs of all peoples and communities are respected

2.      Non-Aggression and No Use of Violence Pledge: To unilaterally or jointly declare Non-Aggression and No Use of Violence Pledges for the military, militia and all armed forces of North and South Sudan, to state that their forces will:

o   Never initiate military, aggressive, offensive actions, acts of violence or operations against the forces or peoples of Sudan

o   That their forces will pro-actively cooperate with local authorities, religious and traditional leaders, and civil society to support local peacebuilding and prevention measures

3.      Refrain from using threatening / aggressive / escalatory and demonizing language: To refrain from the use of threatening, demonizing, escalatory and aggressive language which is a known key driver to violence and war. All government leaders, authorities, and party members to pro-actively work to promote confidence-building language and support peaceful measures.

4.      Launch a Mass Public Awareness and Social Mobilization Campaign for a peaceful referendum: To launch massive social mobilization and public engagement and awareness raising campaigns – to be supported by religious institutions, civil society, local and international NGOs – to mobilize and engage citizens and all sectors of society in North and South for a peaceful referendum and beyond.

5.      Support Peacebuilding and Violence Prevention Measures at all levels of society: To call upon state authorities, religious leaders, local authorities, traditional leaders, and NGOs to work for peacebuilding and prevention. To give clear instructions to all levels of state, police and security forces to cooperate with and support the work of civil society for peacebuilding and prevention.

6.      Strengthen Standing Infrastructure for Peacebuilding and Prevention of Violence: To strengthen the role of Peace Committees where they exist and to establish them where they don’t exist; to encourage all actors working for peacebuilding, prevention and stabilisation to coordinate in their efforts at prevention and mitigation from community to state levels. For violence prevention to be effective it requires standing capabilities in place in advance to manage and prevent violence effectively, at all levels, especially local/community and state levels.

7.      Call upon greater support for Prevention and Peacebuilding by International Community: To make clear to international organisations that a special focus on prevention of violence and peacebuilding for the referendum should cut across all programme lines and requires increased specific attention.

8.      Guarantee Safety and Security: To clearly and consistently guarantee and work for the safety and security of all peoples of Sudan, including Northerners in the South and Southerners in the North. To take clear, proactive measures to authentically ensure security and the feeling of safety and human security for all people of Sudan.

9.      Complete Negotiations and Referendum Preparations: To complete authentically and in good faith negotiations and all preparations for a free, fair and peaceful referendum and to commit to continued cooperation and North-South dialogue and peacebuilding on all relevant matters.

Security Forces and Armed Groups

1.      Non-Aggression and No Use of Violence: To commit all of the military, security and militia forces of GoNU and GoSS and all armed groups in Sudan to non-aggression and no use of violence.

2.      Appropriate Measures for Mitigation and Violence Prevention: For GoNU and GoSS to instruct all security and military personnel to use appropriate non-violent measures for violence prevention and mitigation and to refrain from escalatory actions.

3.      Preparation & Training for Prevention and Violence Mitigation: To organize trainings / rapid sensitization programmes for officers and soldiers on non-violent / non-escalatory response and crisis mitigation/situation management. Ensuring appropriate, non-escalatory response and non-violent situation management by security forces is key to preventing escalation of critical incidents.

4.      Cooperate with Local Peacebuilding / Peacemaking Measures & Efforts: To instruct all security and police forces to proactively support and cooperate with peacebuilding/peacemaking efforts of local authorities, civil society organisations, religious and traditional leaders.

5.      Coordinate Prevention Preparedness:

o   Establish coordinating bodies with local authorities, peace committees, traditional and religious leaders and civil society organisations to strengthen prevention preparedness

o   Establish a Joint Military Commission or work with an already existing joint body to coordinate prevention and crisis mitigation measures with Northern and Southern security   forces.

6.      Preventing and Managing Critical Incidents: Develop clear guidelines, practical communication and critical incident management and prevention, and confidence building measures.

7.      Demilitarize border zone: Take clear and visible measures to demilitarize the border zone between North and South including withdrawal of forces and placing of mutually acceptable peacekeeping / observation forces.

8.      Disarmament of small guns / weapons: Practical measures to support disarmament, particularly in areas susceptible to critical risk / violence escalation.

Mass Campaign for a Peaceful Referendum

1.      To carry out a massive awareness raising and social mobilization campaign for violence prevention and for a peaceful / nonviolent referendum from leadership to community levels;

2.      To develop a Peace Pledge which to be taken by leadership, religious leaders, local authorities, media, civil society organisations, traditional leadership, security forces students, and all peoples of Sudan – North and South

3.      To engage traditional and religious leaders, artists, musicians, students, media, NGOs and others in promoting a mass campaign for a peaceful referendum and promoting messages and practical measures for peace and prevention;

4.      To encourage musicians and artists / forum theatre to develop songs and performances to raise people’s awareness about the potential of violence and what they can do for peace and violence prevention

5.      For international organisations and actors to actively support a mass public awareness and social mobilization campaign for violence prevention and a peaceful referendum

6.      For the Ministry of Peace (GoSS) and the Ministry of Information (GoSS) to work with media and civil society to coordinate on the logistics and content of a mass mobilization campaign for a peaceful referendum

Community-Based Peacebuilding

1.      Organize peacebuilding information and coordination forums at the local and state level to strengthen cooperation and coordination and avoid overlapping activities by other sectors

2.      Reach out to organizations working in peacebuilding in each state / community

3.      Identify local peace actors: women group leaders, youth leaders, church leaders, chiefs and others

4.      Set up / strengthen Peace Committees at Boma and State levels

5.      Form Peace Committees from different clans/tribes

6.      Quick training of Forum Theatre groups and organize public rallies in the communities

7.      Train and support civilian peacekeeping

8.      Strengthen the capacity of civil society to carry out a mass non-violence campaign during the referendum

9.      Mobilize individuals and organisations which have already been trained to focus on violence prevention

10.  The government to instruct army and law keeping forces to cooperate with civilians in peacekeeping, peacebuilding and violence prevention

11.  Engage groups now fighting in peace dialogues – so fighting won’t trigger violence / escalated risk

12.  Involve chiefs and traditional leaders to bring people together

13.  Identify good common songs for peace in Sudan

14.  Involve local actors in public mobilization using local resources (language, local people)

15.  Recognize the damaging role of rumours and develop mechanisms for confidence building and rumour management to prevent rumours causing incidents and violence escalation

North-South Measures

1.       Demilitarize border zone

2.      Greater efforts need to be carried out across the North and the South to strengthen resistance to violence, positive relations and confidence building, and active peace measures

3.      Engage both populations in a massive peace campaign for a peaceful referendum and prevention of violence in Sudan

4.      Engage religious authorities and bodies North and South to promote peaceful messages to their congregations and actively call for government, security forces and all peoples of Sudan to promote respect, peace, and to refrain from / prevent any violent or escalatory messages

5.      Strengthen partnership and engagement of civil society organisations North and South in promoting the campaign for a peaceful referendum

6.       Develop peacebuilding and prevention measures specifically focusing on the border area and conflicts / situations which could escalate, working to address them before the referendum, build confidence, and put in place practical management and mitigation capacities to prevent violence escalation

7.      Encourage joint statements by joint actions by leaders, religious bodies, students, businesses and civil society in North and South to strengthen momentum, engagement and mutual trust and confidence for a peaceful referendum

International Organisations

1.      Clearly identify the issue of a peaceful referendum as an urgent priority

a.      Rapid funding to support peace and prevention

b.      Peacebuilding and violence prevention cross-cutting across referendum process

2.      Meet to explore ideas / approaches to implementing violence prevention

a.      Heads of all agencies

b.      Operational level (those managing peacebuilding, security, development, referendum programmes)

3.      Identify action / work plan for violence prevention and back-up / contingency planning in case of violence

4.      Better coordination amongst international actors over a diplomatic strategy

5.      Work to have 1 agenda and speak with 1 common voice

6.      Refrain from escalatory comments on / around January 9

7.      Support peace initiatives along border in most sensitive areas to address conflict drivers and strengthen peacebuilding and prevention capacities

8.      Actively work to support the prevention agendas of national and local partners

9.      Message to donor community to prioritize prevention & peacebuilding

10.  Embrace and support the development of the Peace Pledge

11.  Assess funding for referendum / preparation for referendum and identify funds to support prevention and peacebuilding

12.  Be flexible / appropriate in funding

13.  Advocate to prioritize civilian protection and peacekeeping

14.  Quick impact projects in sensitive areas

15.  Don’t evacuate – scale up

Media & Information Communication / Public Relations

1.      The media should be fully involved in peace media and balanced reporting both in the south and north

2.      Critical for government and media to work together to control rumours and statements

3.      Media should be engaged as a partner in the campaign for a peaceful referendum

Coordination & Implementation of Planning and Violence Prevention

1.      The Ministry for Peace and CPA Implementation should convene a coordination meeting at the earliest possible opportunity to bring together all relevant state, national and international organisations which can contribute to violence prevention and peacebuilding and assist in coordinating measures

2.      The Ministry for Peace and CPA Implementation should proactively work with all state bodies to strengthen prevention and peacebuilding measures and capabilities and to manage possible outbreaks of violence

3.      Local authorities, Peace Committees and civil society actors at the State and Boma levels should identify actors / organisations working for peacebuilding and prevention and coordinate efforts at their levels

4.      Priority measures for prevention and peacebuilding should be identified and agreed to improve coordination, cooperation and impact

5.       Funds available for prevention and peacebuilding before, during and after referendum should be identified

6.       Establish a strategy for resource mobilization for prevention and peacebuilding including rapid funding mechanisms

7.      The outputs and recommendations of the Multi-Stakeholder Planning Process on Planning for Effective Violence Prevention and Peacebuilding in Southern Sudan –  The Referendum and Beyond should be promoted and distributed broadly amongst state institutions and national and international organisations and actors supporting a peaceful referendum in Sudan


[1] The first of the two events held under the title “The Referendum and Beyond: Mapping and Identifying Key Risk Factors, Existing and Planned Programmes, and Viable / Realistic Measures for Violence Prevention and Peacebuilding”. The second was “Planning / Designing Measures for Prevention, Mitigation and Peacebuilding

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