THE NINE NGOK DINKA CHIEFDOMS OF ABYEI AREA

TO: All Members of the African Union Peace & Security Council (AU-PSC) Sub: Conduct of Abyei Referendum in October, 2013 as Per AUHIP Proposal
October 26th, 2013 Your Excellencies, We, the Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms of Abyei area would like to register our sincere appreciations and thankfulness to the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on two Sudans and its members; namely the former Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Pierre Buyoya for their commendable efforts in producing the Proposal on Final Status of Abyei area which the AUPSC adopted at its 339th meeting held on 24th October, 2012 as a fair, equitable and workable solution to the dispute between the two countries. Similarly, we thank the entire AU for their ceaseless engagement with the two countries in order to find durable and peacefully-negotiated solutions for all outstanding post-secession issues between Sudan and South Sudan. As we appreciate UNISFA for their robust engagement to maintain security and order in Abyei area, we also commend the efforts of UN agencies and INGOs in provision of basic services to impoverished returnees and IDPs in Abyei area since 2011 crisis. The right of self-determination for the people of Abyei was affirmed in Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972 between government of Sudan and the then Southern Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM) . This right of self-determination was dishonoured when government of Sudan obstructed the conduct of Abyei referendum in late 1970s and declared Sharia Laws in Sudan which ignited full-scale war between North and South Sudan. Again, in Asmara, Eritrea 1995, the right of self-determination for the Ngok Dinka people was affirmed by National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the conference which brought together all Sudanese opposition parties and movements including the SPLA/M. Furthermore, the Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA) of April 1997 between government of Sudan and defected factions of SPLA/M also confirmed the right of self-determination for the Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms. Lastly, the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). The verdict of the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration defined the area of the Ngok Dinka chiefdoms where their right of self-determination through referendum that should have been conducted simultaneously with that of South Sudan in January, 2011. But excruciatingly enough, the government of Sudan once again denied the Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms of their right for self-determination and razed to ashes the whole Abyei town and hundreds of villages to mark the second destruction of the area during the relative peace after the conclusion of the CPA.

Abyei Nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms’ Letter to African Union (AU) – 26thOctober, 2013

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Esteemed members of AUPSC, The Abyei area has always been in turmoil for over 58 years since the first insurgence in 1955 in South Sudan all through to this moment. Staying in relative peace has been an elusive attempt in Abyei but the AUHIP’s Proposal of Sep 21st, 2012 came as salvation accord which restored hopes among the overwhelmingly oppressed Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms whose referendum was repeatedly cancelled over the past four decades. But, so shockingly, it is more than a year now and AUPSC is still unable to live up to its commitment to endorse the AUHIP’s Proposal on Abyei as final and binding solution in order to resolve the final status of Abyei area. The people of Abyei area have greatly remained silent and shown remarkable patience to the whole world and the African continent in particular, just to maintain peace between South Sudan and Sudan and give more chances for peaceful resolution of the standoff over Abyei. However, it is evident that there is no little light of hope in the end of African Union’s (AU) tunnel to find very soon lasting solution for Abyei issue. The AUPSC has convened more than seven meetings and summits on Abyei and facilitated more than ten rounds of negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan to resolve Abyei conflict. Yet, Sudan government remains adamant to defying all agreements and resolutions concerning the conduct of Abyei referendum in October 2013. The Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms of Abyei area have walked all the roads, knocked at all the doors and accepted very dear concessions for the sake of peace, nonetheless, Sudan government continued to lay mountains of obstacles in the course of peace only to maintain the status quo in Abyei area to subject innocent civilians to excessive suffering and to loot the Abyei oil. Dear AUPSC Members, Your persistent calls without immediate actions in all previous communiqués to refer the final resolution to Abyei conflict to the two Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan depict a major setback to implementation of your September 21st, 2012 Proposal on Final Status of Abyei due to the fact that the Abyei issue was referred to the African Union (AU) because of the failure of the same two Presidents to find lasting solution to the Abyei impasse in the past eight and half years. Deplorably, the AUPSC has even conspicuously backtracked on its moral and political obligations in the communiqué of its 339th meeting dated October 24th, 2012 which pledged that “Council decides that, in the event that the Parties fail to reach agreement on the Final Status of the Abyei Area within the six-week period mentioned above, Council will endorse the 21st September 2012 Proposal as final and binding, and would seek the endorsement by the UN Security Council of the same”. To date the AUPSC neither endorsed the Proposal nor had it referred to the UN Security Council for further action. The unnecessary delay to act and reneging of the AUPSC to endorse its own Proposal on Abyei has warranted government of Sudan to abrogate the conduct of Abyei referendum in October, 2013 and this has made the situation into power keg that could spark pervasive renewal of fighting at any time in Abyei area. Dear AUPSC members, Our hopes have seriously dwindled, our patience has wholly depleted and our suffering in displacement especially among women, children and elderly people is

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increasingly shocking. The civilians who have returned to their villages of origin are even under imminent threats of renewed tension due to the presence of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in the area. In understanding the status quo, it is imperative to note that the Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms will not bear any delaying tactics and persuasions to postpone the referendum on self-determination during this month of October because any attempt in that direction will certainly explode the already fragile situation in Abyei area. The AUPSC should conscientiously take note of South Sudan’s President recent letter addressed to the AU, dated October 8th, 2013 in which H.E President Salva mentioned that “He does see himself and President Al-Bashiir agreeing very soon on Abyei and thus requested the AUPSC to take urgent actions by forming Abyei referendum commission and to ask both countries to send in their nominees respectively” As usual the joint AUPSC and UNSC consultative meeting in October 8th – 10th, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia did not bear any tangible results on Abyei issue with exception of the routine calls that always fall on deaf ears of Sudan government. Excellencies, members of AUPSC, The Presidential summit between Salva Kiir and Al-Bashiir in October 22nd, 2013 in Juba came without concrete results on when the Abyei referendum shall be conducted and it is clearly evident that they will never reach an agreement soon on the final status of Abyei area. Also the inaction of the African Union on AUHIP’s Proposal on Abyei in addition to perpetual reneging of Khartoum’s regime on Abyei referendum will not pass as normal business. But the will of the Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms shall prevail over, as the community referendum is on-going. We are certain that no any void call and advice will convince us once again to postpone the referendum. We believe that the results of the popular referendum shall reflect the genuine will of the people of Abyei and shall preciously help the two countries to resolve the Abyei issue permanently. Finally, we strongly condemn lack of political will from government of Sudan to resolve Abyei issue as manifested in preventing AUPSC delegation visit to Abyei. Therefore, we the Nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms of Abyei area and all Civil Society Organisations after the failure of AUPSC to determine the date for Abyei referendum would like to reiterate strongly our positions as follows: 1. The community referendum on self-determination to determine the final status of Abyei area is currently being organised and shall finish by end of this October, 2013. In the event that the community referendum determines Abyei as part of either country, the results shall be endorsed in respective Legislative Assemblies and used as basis and reference for resolution of the final status of Abyei area. 2. The Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms shall only stop from considering the results of their community referendum as not final if only the AUPSC could immediately form Abyei referendum commission and come up with realistic timeframe and detailed schedules on when the referendum should be conducted before end of December 2013.

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3. Should the AUPSC fail to respond urgently on when Abyei referendum shall be held then it shall bear the responsibility for any escalation and tension that may arise during or in the aftermath of the on-going Popular Referendum. However, we call upon UNISFA to step up its Civil Protection component in order to provide necessary protection for the voters in various voting centres during the upcoming Popular Referendum. 4. We strongly call upon AU and UNISFA to ensure full withdrawal of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from various areas within Abyei area borders especially those stationed in Kech (Diffra)) oil fields. The withdrawal of SAF from Diffra should be unconditional and implemented with immediate effect. The AUPSC should ensure that Sudan government respects the UN Security Council’s resolution NO 2046 which calls for withdrawal of all unauthorised forces outside of Abyei borders 5. We call upon all the international community and humanitarian agencies to provide basic services and livelihoods support to vulnerable returnees and IDPs in Abyei area. Signed on behalf of Abyei area communities by: 1. The Nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms – Abyei area 2. Abyei Civil Society Organisations (ACSOs) – Abyei area 3. Abyei Youth Union (AYU) – Abyei area 4. Abyei Women Union (AWN) – Abyei area 5. Abyei Universities Students’ Associations (ABUISA) 6. Abyei Chamber of Commerce (ACC) – Abyei area 7. Abyei Pastoralists’ Union (APU) – Abyei area 8. Abyei Teachers’ Union (ATU) – Abyei area 9. Abyei Human Rights Society (AHRS) – Abyei area 10. Abyei Youth for Referendum (AYR) – Abyei Area 11. Abyei Community Organisation in Juba 12. Abyei Community Organisation in Kuajok, Warrap State 13. Abyei Community Organisation in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal State 14. Association of the Nine Ngok Dinka Chiefdoms in Diaspora 15. Abyei Faith-based Organisations (AFO) CC: UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon UN Security Council (UNSC) AU-HIP on Sudan and South Sudan US Special Envoy for the two Sudans Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) EU Special Representatives on the two Sudans Chinese Special Representative on African Affairs UN Special Envoy for the two Sudans UK Special Representative for the two Sudan Members of Troika Countries UNISFA Head of Mission President of the Republic of South Sudan

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