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Cablegate: Where the Census Meets Darfur

VZCZCXRO7053
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0155/01 0321015
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011015Z FEB 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9856
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000155

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, AF SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO KDEM SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: WHERE THE CENSUS MEETS DARFUR

REF: KHARTOUM 114

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The UN is deeply concerned about the GNU's ability
to conduct a census in Darfur. Rebel groups and IDPs are resisting
the census due to a deep distrust of the government in Khartoum and
a lack of understanding about the census. Moreover, the Presidency
has yet to officially recognize the April 15-30 dates for census
enumeration and without a presidential decree, the census cannot
take place. The presidency must issue a decree immediately so that
critical census preparation activities, such as advocacy campaigns
and enumerator training, can begin. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- --------
MISTRUST MAY LEAD TO NON-PARTICIPATION AND DISRUPTION
--------------------------------------------- --------
2. (SBU) On 29 January UNFPA lead representative Bill Musoke briefed
poloff on his recent visit to Darfur during which he examined
preparation for the national census. UNFPA is the agency
responsible for coordinating the census operation and provides
technical support to its undertaking. Musoke, a Ugandan who has
been working for UNFPA in Sudan for three months, said that there is
a complete lack of knowledge among Darfurians about the census. The
Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has made no effort to advocate
for the census in the North, even though the GNU's 2008 budget sets
aside funding for it (reftel). Darfurians naturally mistrust the
exercise, said Musoke. They are asking why the government in
Khartoum wants to know who they are, where they come from, and how
many they are. According to Musoke, 20 percent of the Darfur area
has not been mapped due to the inability of government staff to
enter areas for security reasons (reftel). [Note: Twenty percent
of the area is not indicative of the percentage of Darfurian
households that have not yet been mapped. The twenty percent of
areas includes IDP camps and rebel areas that cannot safely be
accessed, corresponding to over 2 million people. End note.]

3. (SBU) Musoke also fears that rebel leaders will encourage their
people not to participate in, or even "disrupt" the census. Musoke
suggested that UN civil affairs officers, because they have access
to rebel areas and IDP camps, brief rebel leaders and sheikhs in the
camps about the census. Musoke explained that if IDPs are willing
to participate, UNFPA will train teachers in the camps to function
as enumerators.

4. (SBU) In a separate meeting with poloff on 29 January, UNMIS
officers who had just returned from Darfur agreed that the lack of a
strong information campaign is a major impediment to conducting the
census in Darfur. UNMIS officers stated that the CBS office in
Darfur plans to undertake census advocacy in Darfur, primarily via
the radio, only one week before the census is set to take place
(which they deemed inadequate).

---------------
VOLATILE AREAS
---------------
5. (SBU) Florian Baalcke, UNMIS Field Security Coordination Officer,
told polooff on 29 January that camps along the Zalingei Corridor in
West Darfur are likely to be the hotspots for any problems related
to the census. He mentioned that Kalma Camp in South Darfur,
historically the most volatile and unruly of all the camps, could
also become a problem. For the time being, however, he said, Kalma
Camp is quiet. "If enumerators start in the wrong place, problems
will stir up quickly", said Baalcke. "Things can happen [in the
camps] at the snap of someone's fingers in Paris or Khartoum" said
Baalcke, indicating that IDPs will look for cues from leaders such
as Abdelwahid and Minni Minnawi on how to react to kenss
enwmerapign. BaAlckg`amsk`noted0tHiur5mmrw`spread"qmhCklI" bauweEfQQcylpto the
Central African Republic during the spring months.
Musoke explained that in Uganda, enumerators used the tribal chiefs
as a focal point for the enumeration of nomadic households that
could not be reached. He said counting the nomadic groups in this
way provided "reasonable" results. Musoke said UNFPA plans to bring
an Ethiopian census advisor to Sudan to deal specifically with the
issue of nomadic groups. [Note: Ethiopia just conducted a national
census in 2007. End note.]

-----------------------
NO PRESIDENTIAL DECREE

KHARTOUM 00000155 002 OF 002


-----------------------
7. (SBU) Musoke expressed grave concern over the fact that the
Presidency has not yet publicly blessed the dates of April 15-30 for
the national census. Until a presidential decree is issued, the
April 2008 census date is not definite. Musoke said the decree will
"kickstart" many census activities, such as nation-wide advocacy.
He also said that Darfur rebel leaders will most likely speak out on
whether or not they will participate in the census once a
presidential decree has been issued. Both UNFPA (through SRSG Ashraf
Qazi) and the CBS (through former Director Awad Hag Ali) have
pressed the Presidency (through influential Minister for
Presidential Affairs Major General Bakri Salih) on this initiative.


------------------------------
New CBS Director Yassin Abdeen
------------------------------
8. (SBU) Musoke and his Chief Technical Advisor, Herbert Kandeh,
said that new CBS Director Abdeen must get up-to-speed on the
census. Although he was appointed last week, he has yet to hold a
formal meeting with UNFPA staff.

9. (SBU) COMMENT: Census enumeration in Darfur poses a significant
challenge to government enumerators and UNFPA. The 20 percent
Darfur that cannot be mapped is home to over 2 million people in IDP
camps and rebel-controlled areas. It seems likely that rebel
leaders will warn their communities against participating in the
census due to their deep distrust of the government and lack of
understanding on the census - though this could be headed off by a
vigorous information campaign. Given the instability and volatility
of the IDP camps in Darfur, there is a real possibility that
enumeration could lead to violence if not handled carefully. The
main obstacle to an effective census at the moment, however, is the
lack of a presidential decree, which means that - like the South
where there are many technical problems - the major issue is the
question of Khartoum's (the NCP) intentions or will to make
transformational events like the census and elections actually
happen.

FERNANDEZ

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