1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa
  4. Sudan

"Enemies of peace" threaten CPA

Southern Sudanese soldiers from the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) parade through Juba in May 2009 for celebrations to mark the 26th anniversary of the start of Sudan's civil war
(Peter Martell/IRIN)

Greater efforts must be made to ensure that Sudan’s North-South peace deal holds in the face of rising tensions between the former enemies ahead of elections in February, analysts warned.

The historic 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ended years of war and laid down key benchmarks including elections, demarcation of the North-South border and a referendum on Southern independence in 2011.

"What we need is both a recommitment to the CPA and to its effective implementation - both on the part of the parties and of the international community that supports the CPA," Sir Derek Plumbly, chairman of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission, which oversees progress in the peace deal, said on 3 June.

Plumbly, who met Southern President Salva Kiir in Juba, spoke of difficulties facing Sudan such as lower oil prices and the arrest warrant for President Omar el-Bashir by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.

"There are a lot of distractions, problems, difficult economic times; [the] issue of security here in the South, international pressures, the ICC," he told reporters. "All these things take us away from this key issue; we can’t afford to carry on as before."

Last month Kiir told a military rally in Juba to mark the 26th anniversary of the outbreak of the civil war that Southern Sudan remained threatened by unnamed internal and external forces.

"The CPA, [which] we concluded as a result of our enormous sacrifices, is seriously threatened by enemies of peace from within our realm and without," he said.

Aid agencies and analysts estimate that about two million people died during the conflict.


Despite the peace accord, distrust remains high between the two sides - still divided by ideological, cultural and religious differences over which the war was fought. Analysts say the possibility of renewed war exists.

"The GoSS’s [Government of Southern Sudan] security planning continues to be largely based on the perception that the North is actively working to undermine the CPA and that a future war is likely," the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey warned in a report in May. 

[Sudan] Salva Kiir Mayardit at a news conference in Khartoum on 5 September 2005. [Date picture taken: 09/05/2005]

Vice-President Salva Kiir Mayardit's new year message was optimistic (file photo)...
Derk Segaar/IRIN
[Sudan] Salva Kiir Mayardit at a news conference in Khartoum on 5 September 2005. [Date picture taken: 09/05/2005]
Monday, October 24, 2005
Lingering uncertainties over North-South truce
[Sudan] Salva Kiir Mayardit at a news conference in Khartoum on 5 September 2005. [Date picture taken: 09/05/2005]

Photo: Derk Segaar/IRIN
Southern Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit

More recently, the South was particularly angered by the results of the 2008 census. The count was intended to provide crucial information ahead of elections but the South believes the North tried to lower the number of southerners.

Two independent centres were set up to separately run the census using the same questionnaires, with the UN Population Fund coordinating the count.

Isaiah Chol Aruai, chairman of the Southern Sudan Centre for Census and Statistics, responsible for the count in the South, said it was concerned about the outcome in several areas of the North.

Aruai said his northern counterpart, the Central Bureau of Statistics, ignored calls to examine their data more closely.

"They refused," he said. "And that refusal increased our scepticism and doubts about the integrity of the data they have."

Southerners say they make up at least a third of the total population, but the census showed that the South had 21 percent of Sudan’s 39.15 million people.

They also claim the North undercounted southerners living there and inflated other northern populations, thereby shifting the percentage balance of the population.

The South's own results recorded 8.2 million people in 10 states.

Plumbly said he hoped the dispute over the census would be resolved, saying there were "evolving positions" over the issue.

"The parties have been talking about it," he said. "I am hopeful that we will now be able to move on... to preparations for the elections without this disrupting it."

A key concern for the South – that the lower-than-expected balance of population would affect the division of oil revenue and political power – has apparently been ameliorated.

"There is clarity that there is no impact of the census on wealth-sharing arrangements, which is clearly very important, or on power-sharing as they stand, up until the time of the elections," Plumbly said.

Abyei dispute

Plumbly commended the two sides for trying to resolve the dispute over the oil-rich border area of Abyei through an international arbitration tribunal in The Hague. A "final and binding" decision is expected "in the coming weeks".

''What we need is both a recommitment to the CPA and to its effective implementation''

Last year, clashes between northern and southern forces in Abyei displaced thousands of people.

More than 1,000 people have died and many more displaced in ethnic clashes across the South in recent months.

Recent death rates have been higher than those in the war-torn region of Darfur, the UN’s special representative to Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, said on 4 June.

"The international community needs to refocus on the fragile North–South ceasefire and a Southern government that is struggling to cope with mounting internal and external pressures," the Small Arms project warned.

"In particular, the UN Mission in Sudan could more effectively operationalize its core mandate to monitor the ceasefire and security arrangements of the CPA and could establish a more dynamic presence on the ground," it added.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.

Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.

We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.

Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian. 

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.