Independence Referendum: Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Chapter I: The Machakos Protocol (Signed at Machakos, Kenya on 20th July, 2002)

Part A: Agreed Principles

1.3 That the people of South Sudan have the right to self-determination, inter alia,
through a referendum to determine their future status.
The Right to Self-Determination for the People of South Sudan

1.3 That the people of South Sudan have the right to self-determination, inter alia, through a referendum to determine their future status.

PART B: THE TRANSITION PROCESS

2.4 An independent Assessment and Evaluation Commission shall be established during the Pre-Transition Period to monitor the implementation of the Peace Agreement during the Interim Period. This Commission shall conduct a midterm evaluation of the unity arrangements established under the Peace Agreement.

2.4.1 The composition of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission shall consist of equal representation from the GoS and the SPLMI A, and not more than two (2) representatives, respectively, from each of the following categories:

2.4.1.1 Member states of the IGAD Sub-Committee on Sudan (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda);

2.4.1.2 Observer States (Italy, Norway, UK and US); and

2.4.1.3 Any other countries or regional or international bodies to be agreed upon by the Parties.

2.4.2 The Parties shall work with the Commission during the Interim Period with a view to improving the institutions and arrangements created under the Agreement and making the unity of Sudan attractive to the people of South Sudan.

2.5 At the end of the six (6) year Interim Period there shall be an internationally monitored referendum, organized jointly by the OOS and the SPLMI A, for the people of South Sudan to: confirm the unity of the Sudan by voting to adopt the system of government established under the Peace Agreement; or to vote for secession.

2.6 The Parties shall refrain from any form of unilateral revocation or abrogation of the Peace Agreement.

2.10 Other Independent and/or National Institutions to be established in Accordance with the Peace Agreement:

2.10.1 The National Constitutional Review Commission, as detailed in Section 2.12 herein, shall also detail the mandate and provide for the appointment and other mechanisms to ensure the independence of the following institutions:

2.10.0.5 An ad-hoc Commission to monitor and ensure accuracy, legitimacy, and transparency of the Referendum as mentioned in the Machakos Protocol on Self-Determination for the People of South Sudan, which shall also include international experts;

Chapter IV: The Resolution of the Abyei Conflict (Signed at Naivasha, Kenya on 26th May, 2004)

8. Abyei Referendum Commission

8.1 There shall be established by the Presidency an Abyei Referendum Commission to conduct Abyei referendum simultaneously with the referendum of Southern Sudan. The composition of the Commission shall be determined by the Presidency.

8.2 The residents of Abyei shall cast a separate ballot. The proposition voted on in the separate ballot shall present residents of Abyei with the following choices; irrespective of the results of the Southern referendum:

a. That Abyei retain its special administrative status in the north;

b. That Abyei be part of Bahr el Ghazal.

8.3 The January 1, 1956 line between north and south shall be inviolate, except as agreed above.

Implementation History

2005

Intermediate Implementation

The 2005 CPA provided that the people of South Sudan would have right to self-determination and, in this regard, people of south Sudan would have the option to confirm unity or to vote for secession. South Sudan’s right to self-determination was incorporated in the interim constitution (Article 219). As such, the people of south Sudan would exercise their self-determination in a referendum that was to be held by the end of six year interim period. Similarly, the CPA gave the residents of Abyei the opportunity to cast a separate ballot in order to make a choice between retaining its special administrative status in the north or being a part of South Sudan. This provision was also incorporated into the interim constitution (Article 183.3). The constitution came into effect on 9 July 2005.1

  • 1. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, March 2006.
2006

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2007

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2008

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2009

Intermediate Implementation

With respect to holding a referendum in southern Sudan, some important achievements were made. As provided in 2005 CPA, the National Assembly adopted the Southern Sudan Referendum Bill in December 2009.2

  • 2. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, October 2010.
2010

Intermediate Implementation

The members of the referendum commission were appointed in June 2010. The National Assembly approved the nominees appointed to serve on the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission submitted by the Presidency on 28 June 2010. The Government of Southern Sudan nominated members to serve in the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau who were to be sworn in in July. In August, members of the ten Southern Sudan Referendum State High Committees were nominated and sworn in. On 2 September 2010, Mohamed Osman El-Negoumi was nominated as the Secretary General of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission; and his nomination was ratified by the Presidency. Parties to the CPA also held a post-referendum negotiation exposure workshop in Juba on 20 July 2010 as part of their discussion on post-referendum issues.3

Once the institutional structures were in place, the referendum commission approved the voter registration training manual and training of the State Referendum High Committee state level trainers in South Sudan started and was completed on 28 October. A South Sudan political Parties Conference was also organized in Juba from 13-17 October which adopted a “Common Code of Conduct for the Referenda and Popular Consultations.”4 Voter registration took place on 15 November as scheduled by the referendum commission and was extended for 7 days until 8 December 2010.5

The National Assembly adopted the Abyei Referendum Bill 2009.6 There was no progress on setting up an institutional framework for the referendum.   

  • 3. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, October 2010.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, December 2010.
  • 6. Ibid.
2011

Full Implementation

The referendum for southern Sudan took place from 9 to 15 January 2011. The referendum was conducted in the Sudan and in eight out-of-country-voting (OCV) countries (with the exception of an OCV centre in Brisbane, where the polling continued until 18 January).7 On 7 February 2011, the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission announced the final results for the Referendum. 1.17% of valid votes were cast in favor of unity and 98.83% of valid votes were cast in favor of secession, with a 97.58% voter turnout (3,851,994 registered voters).8 This confirms the provision related to self-determination for southern Sudan was implemented. Nevertheless, the Abyei referendum did not take place as the north and south couldn't agree on who was eligible to vote.9 Southern Sudan called for a referendum for Abyei and insisted that Abyei belonged to south Sudan.10

Southern Sudan became an independent state of South Sudan on 9 July 2011.

  • 7. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, January 2011.
  • 8. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, February 2011.
  • 9. "Southern Sudan Official: Abyei Belongs with Us," Associated Press Online, April 29, 2011.
  • 10. "Sudan; South Calls for Abyei Referendum," Africa News, May 26, 2011.