Ban Hails Election Commission As Major Progress in North-South Peace Accord
UN News Service (New York)
26 November 2008
Posted to the web 26 November 2008
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the decree signed yesterday by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir appointing the National Electoral Commission, calling it a major step towards implementing the accords that ended a two-decade-long civil war in the south of Africa's largest country.
Organizing free and fair elections next year is a key element of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement concluding the north-south civil war, which killed at least 2 million people and displaced 4.5 million others.
The UN stands ready to support the electoral process. Mr. Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas told a news briefing in New York today.
On Sudan's second war front, in the western region of Darfur, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes today visited Hamadiya camp, home for up to 40,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) uprooted by the five-year war there between Government forces and rebels. Overall, the conflict has killed an estimated 300,000 people and driven another 2.7 million from their homes.
Mr. Holmes, on the second day of a visit to the strife-torn region, also visited the town Zalingei in West Darfur, meeting with Government and civic leaders and calling attention to the devastating effect that the conflict is having on the environment.
In Taiba, the only Arab IDP camp in Darfur, he met with families and the elderly who told him about the daily challenges they face, including the need for food and secondary school education for their children.
Yesterday he visited the Kalma camp in Nyala, one of the largest sites for IDPs in South Darfur, where he saw first-hand the work of aid organizations, met with schoolchildren and saw a women's handicraft project.
Tomorrow Mr. Holmes - who is also the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator - is set to leave Darfur for a two-day visit to southern Sudan.