Sudan is home to the longest running conflict in the world. In Southern Sudan alone, two million people have lost their lives, and four million have been displaced. Darfur in Northern Sudan is another hotspot. The Khartoum government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) signed a peace agreement in 2005 which stipulated that Southern Sudan would hold a referendum to decide whether it would remain part of Sudan. Another referendum will be held in Abyei on whether it will remain with Northern Sudan or become a part of Southern Sudan.
The panel will assess the political situation leading up to the referendum on 9 January, use the good offices of the Secretary-General of the UN to build confidence among the parties, and maintain credibility during and after the referendum in order to prevent an adverse environment.