The Crisis in Abyei

Report
from Small Arms Survey
Published on 01 Mar 2013 View Original

Two years after Abyei was supposed to have a referendum to determine its political future, negotiations over the territory are at a standstill. Negotiations over a proposal by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for a referendum in October 2013 are mired in disagreements over voter eligibility, as they were in 2010, when Abyei’s referendum was last discussed.

The AUHIP’s proposal (‘Final Status of the Abyei Area’) was circulated on 21 September 2012, and attempts to revive the possibility of a popular referendum to determine the territory’s future, as set out in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement’s Abyei Protocol. The previous referendum was to be voted on by the Ngok Dinka and other Sudanese nationals resident in Abyei. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) insisted that the Missiriya—pastoralist cattle herders that use Abyei for grazing during the dry season—were nomads, not properly resident in the territory, and thus should not be allowed to vote in the referendum. The National Congress Party (NCP) insisted that there could be no referendum without Missiriya participation. According to the Abyei Protocol, the criteria for determining residency were to be established by the Abyei Referendum Commission, a body never established due to disagreements over who would have the right to vote.

See Full [Report](http://wo years after Abyei was supposed to have a referendum to determine its political future, negotiations over the territory are at a standstill. Negotiations over a proposal by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for a referendum in October 2013 are mired in disagreements over voter eligibility, as they were in 2010, when Abyei’s referendum was last discussed.

The AUHIP’s proposal (‘Final Status of the Abyei Area’) was circulated on 21 September 2012, and attempts to revive the possibility of a popular referendum to determine the territory’s future, as set out in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement’s Abyei Protocol. The previous referendum was to be voted on by the Ngok Dinka and other Sudanese nationals resident in Abyei. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) insisted that the Missiriya—pastoralist cattle herders that use Abyei for grazing during the dry season—were nomads, not properly resident in the territory, and thus should not be allowed to vote in the referendum. The National Congress Party (NCP) insisted that there could be no referendum without Missiriya participation. According to the Abyei Protocol, the criteria for determining residency were to be established by the Abyei Referendum Commission, a body never established due to disagreements over who would have the right to vote.)