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Cablegate: Splm Reps in North Darfur: We Don't Believe the Census Will

VZCZCXRO1615
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0603 1090957
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180957Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0593
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000603

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS, DRL
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: SPLM REPS IN NORTH DARFUR: WE DON'T BELIEVE THE CENSUS WILL
BE FAIR OR ACCURATE

REFERENCE: (A) KHARTOUM 591

(B) KHARTOUM 575
(C) KHARTOUM 584
(D) KHARTOUM 556

1. (SBU) Speaking at the newly-opened North Darfur SPLM office,
nearly a dozen SPLM reps told poloff on April 15 that Darfurians
don't support the census because it will not benefit the people of
Darfur. The SPLM reps said that the SPLM will not support a census
that enables the NCP to manipulate Darfur. According to the reps,
the NCP will undercount Darfurians to be 5 million, instead of the
10 million that the Darfurian SPLM reps claim live in the region.
(Note: The actual figure is probably closer to 5 million. End
note.)

2. (SBU) The reps explained that two million people in the IDP camps
and other Darfurians scattered throughout the world have lost their
land to Arabs from Senegal, Chad, Niger and Mauritania. These
foreigners will be counted as Arab Northerners, they charged, and
will take over land that belongs to Darfurians. In addition, they
believe that because there is no question on ethnicity on the census
questionnaires, there will be no way for Southerners in Darfur to be
counted as Southerners. (Note: In fact, the census questionnaire
does ask whether a citizen is a "northerner" or "southerner" and
also asks what region of the country he/she is from. Southerners in
the North will be counted as northerners based on where they reside;
however, this could be a point for negotiation between the parties
since many southerners in the North are IDPs. End note.)

3. (SBU) SPLM representatives believe that the NCP wants the census
to take place in Darfur regardless of the insecurity it may create.
In addition, they claimed that because enumerators for the North
have been trained in Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) offices,
they have been indoctrinated by the NCP and are no longer neutral in
their approach (Note: we have no evidence that this is the case. End
note).

4. (SBU) Comment: As with the South, Darfurians are eager to claim
that the size of their population is much larger than reality
reflects. The fact that many Darfurians, encouraged by exile and
rebel leaders, will not participate by choice, that they believe the
GoS will manipulate data to undercount their region, and that they
have an unrealistic perception of their own population numbers will
lead many Darfurians to reject final census results if they numbers
do not reflect what they would like to see. Given that the census
has become so politicized, it is unlikely that any result in Darfur
will be useful, other than as a statistic to be negotiated prior to
the 2009 elections.

FERNANDEZ

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