Representatives of the ‚ÄúSudanese Group in Ottawa for Supporting the Democratic Transition‚ÄĚ, a collection of Sudanese-Canadians and activists, will today approach the Sudanese embassy in Ottawa to register and to protest restrictive measures that will bar an estimated 25,000 Sudanese-Canadians from voting in the April 2010 elections in Sudan. In particular, the ‚ÄúGroup‚ÄĚ decries the following prohibitive measures:
Conflicting information about identity documents to be used in the registration process.
The regulation that prospective voters must have a valid Sudanese passport and a valid Canadian passport to register will automatically disqualify thousands of Sudanese-Canadians who came to Canada from refugee camps. Refugee camp residents, the majority of whom come from poor rural backgrounds, don‚Äôt possess any identification at all.
¬∑Incessant alteration in the information regarding the registration process.
The embassy stated that only valid Sudanese passports will be used for registration. Then another stipulation was added that says prospective voters must have a valid Sudanese passport and a valid Canadian passport.
¬∑Stipulation that registration will only occur in one centre (Ottawa) for all Sudanese in Canada.
This will prevent thousands from voting because of the expenses required to travel to Ottawa, even if potential voters possess all the documents required. The Group demands the opening of extra registration centres across Canada and relaxing the rules to allow registration online or by fax.
¬∑Limited time-frame for registration
In Sudan registration started in early November, but in Canada the process started on November 10. It is expected to end on Nov. 30.
The Group is urging the Sudan embassy in Ottawa to ensure that all Sudanese are registered and that all prohibitive stipulations are removed.
What: Protest Rally at Sudanese Embassy, 354 Stewart Street, Ottawa.
When: Monday 23, November 2009.
Why: Protest rally against measures that bar Sudanese-Canadians from registering for Sudanese elections early next year.
The following representatives from the ‚ÄúGroup‚ÄĚ will be available for comment at the rally: Eiman Fathi (613-246-8367) Lomumba Eman (613-601-1546 (c)); Musa Issa (613-314-5101 (c))