“University students are afraid they will be forced to return to the South after the referendum, sacrificing the tremendous investment of time and money they have made in their education,” stated Smith.
“The critical issue is that Southerners in the North and Northerners in the South are key targets for post-referendum violence, yet the UN has not adequately included them in its contingency planning,” said Joel Charny, RI’s Vice President for Policy and report co-author. “With six months to go, it’s time to move beyond scenario planning and into action to prevent widespread violence. International actors need to think in concrete terms about the possible risks to vulnerable communities like these and make specific plans about how the international community – represented by UNMIS and the UN country team – will respond.”
The report noted that Southerners in Khartoum uniformly expressed great concern about their legal rights following the referendum. “Citizenship issues are supposed to be addressed prior to the referendum but this has not risen to the same level of importance as oil revenue and border demarcation on the long list of priority issues,” stated Charny. “The U.S. and other governments must assist and pressure parties on both sides to reach an agreement that will prevent southerners in the north and northerners in the south from losing legal rights or becoming stateless."
Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates to end refugee crises and receives no government or UN funding. (refugeesinternational.org)