Statement by Mark Toner, Deputy Spokesperson – Sudan: U.S. Expresses Serious Concern Regarding Darfur Referendum

April 9, 2016

The United States expresses serious concern regarding the Government of Sudan’s plans to conduct a referendum on April 11-13 over the political future of Darfur. If held under current rules and conditions, a referendum on the status of Darfur cannot be considered a credible expression of the will of the people of Darfur. Moreover, it will undermine the peace process now under way.

Insecurity in Darfur and inadequate registration of Darfuris residing in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps prohibit sufficient participation. Furthermore, the Darfur Referendum Commission’s recent announcement that Darfuris residing outside of Darfur will be ineligible to vote disenfranchises millions of Darfuris, refugees, and IDPs.

Lasting peace in Sudan will only be attained through a political process that addresses the underlying causes of the Darfur conflict, secures a lasting cessation of hostilities, and creates the space for meaningful participation of Darfuri groups and all Sudanese in an inclusive and genuine national dialogue. The announced Darfur Referendum will contradict these key objectives and the broader goal of peace and stability in Darfur.

The United States will continue to support the people of Sudan who wish to advance peaceful governance and inclusive participatory politics for long-term stability in Sudan.