UN Human Rights Chief: Southern Sudan referendum must be free and fair

With two days to go before South Sudanese vote in a crucial referendum on the status of their region, authorities in the country are being urged to ensure the vote is free and fair. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says swift and effective measures must be taken to stop any attempts to intimidate voters or to subvert the result. Patrick Maigua Reports from Geneva.

Sudan referendum voting materials

Sudan referendum voting materials

Up to four million South Sudanese are expected to vote in Sunday’s referendum to decide whether the region will break from the north and become Africa’s newest country.

UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay said it was the responsibility of both the Khartoum government and the Southern Sudan government to ensure voters rights were upheld before, during and after the referendum.

She said violations registered in the run up to the referendum including media restriction arbitrary arrests and detentions should not be allowed to resurface.

Ms Pillay welcomed the pledge by President Omar al-Bashir to respect the outcome of the referendum and to continue to contribute to the development of Southern Sudan as a peaceful neighbour if it opts for separation.

She said the referendum should not be viewed as the end of the peace process adding that both parties must continue to abide by the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement including amicably resolving pending issues such as the sharing of oil resources.

Patrick Maigua at the United Nations.


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