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Prayers, Observation Urged for Sudan Referendum

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January 8, 2011 | bpfna

by Johnny Almond
January 7, 2011

(BPFNA) — Baptists around the world are being urged to pray for the people of south Sudan as they vote to decide on declaring their independence from the rest of the country. The reference, scheduled for January 9 to 15, is expected to see participation from as many as 3.9 million registered voters. To be considered legitimate, the referendum must receive votes from at least sixty percent of those registered.

A statement released by the Baptist World Alliance and aimed specifically at Baptists is one of many released by religious and humanitarian organizations calling for positive thought, prayer and other action by interested parties the world over. Click here to read the statement from BWA.

Another effort, the Satellite Sentinel Project, has been involved in active peacemaking in Sudan by providing the international community an "eye" on the area. Combined satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google's "Map Maker" technology, the project seeks to deter any resumption of war between North and South Sudan. This effort, first established by actor George Clooney, provides an 'early warning system' to deter mass atrocities by focusing world attention and generating rapid responses on human rights and human security concerns. This technology will be used to help 'witness' the election process and can be accessed at www.satsentinel.org.

The elections will also be monitored by an array of domestic and international election observers, including a three-member United Nations panel led by former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, a Carter Center mission led by Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan, and a European Union observation mission.

On a more personal level, the organization Nonviolent Peace Force is urging people to donate their Facebook status space by displaying the message, "I stand with the people of Sudan today as they vote in a controversial referendum. I will do my part to prevent violence there by spreading the word. Friends - will you add your voice by posting this message to your Facebook page?"

BPFNA has co-sponsored several Conflict Transformation workshops in Sudan, led by Lee McKenna of Toronto. McKenna's December 2010 trip was postponed because her travel visa was denied. To get a glimpse of her work in Sudan, visit www.bpfna.org/sudan and read journal entries from a previous trip.

-Johnny Almond is BPFNA's Communications & Technology Manager.


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