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Cablegate: Undercounting, Intimidation Mar Darfur Census

VZCZCXRO6084
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0748/01 1371110
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161110Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0832
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0219
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000748

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM KPKO SOCI UNSC SU

SUBJECT: UNDERCOUNTING, INTIMIDATION MAR DARFUR CENSUS


1. (SBU) SUMMARY. With the census officially completed,
international organizations are taking stock of census results.
While UNAMID, with support from the United Nations Population Fund
(UNFPA), is preparing a detailed analysis of the exercise and
expected results, preliminary observations indicate significant
undercounting of internally displaced persons (IDPs), and
intimidation perpetrated both against and by the civilian population
in Darfur. The census sample should be large enough to produce
fairly accurate results; however, the resistance encountered
throughout the process makes de-linking the census and upcoming
elections a top priority over the next year. END SUMMARY.

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IDPs, Movements Undercounted; Arab Nomads Overcounted
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2. (SBU) In a May 12 meeting, UNAMID Civil Affairs (CA) Chief
Wariara Mbugua called census participation in the IDP camps
"predictable," with about half of the camps in Darfur refusing to
participate at all, some partially enumerated and a few that
cooperated fully. She said that OCHA had camp residency statistics
from 2007 which could be used as a guideline; however, she
acknowledged that "those numbers will have increased due to
continuing displacement." She noted that the majority of camps
which refused to participate were those populated by SLA-Abdul Wahid
supporters. Demonstrations were organized in Kalma camp, where
between 4000 and 5000 IDPs marched against the census, and in Zam
Zam and Abu Shouk in El Fasher.
She characterized the numbers of IDPs who were not enumerated as
"substantial."

3. (SBU) In general, the movements also resisted the census, and GoS
enumerators were not allowed into rebel controlled areas. CA and
UNFPA estimate that such areas make up 20% of the region; however,
they admit that those lands are not mapped, so the actual percentage
could be higher.

4. (SBU) To make matters worse, Mbugua claimed that the census had
actually started a few days earlier in areas heavily populated by
nomadic (i.e. Arab) groups. "It was part of a GOS strategy to both
assure full enumeration and inflate actual numbers," she said.

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Intimidation of Civilians, Intimidation by Civilians
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5. (SBU) Mbugua confirmed that GoS soldiers had surrounded the IDP
camp in Zalingei during the second week of the census in an attempt
to pressure the IDPs into cooperating with enumerators. After two
tense days, CA staff managed to broker an agreement whereby the GoS
would not enter the camp, and the IDPs were not counted.

6. (SBU) By the second week of the census, Mbugua continued,
citizens had grown increasingly wary of the process, refusing to
take part and threatening enumerators. As a result, some
enumerators refused to go into certain neighborhoods, including
outlying areas of El Fasher, for fear of being attacked. She
confirmed that two teams of enumerators had been abducted south of
Nyala, and that no one had heard from them since. In Sector West, a
grenade was thrown into the house of an enumerator, and several
others reported being threatened with knives during the course of
their duties.


7. (SBU) Because of these incidents, Mbugua, who has a background in
statistics and practical experience conducting censuses, suspected
that there had also been "significant undercounting in urban areas."
However, she was confident that the large sample size would help to
show the areas that were undercounted, and produce fairly accurate
results.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Central Bureau of Statistics Refuses to Meet
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8. (SBU) Fieldoffs attempted to discuss the issues raised by UNAMID
and UNFPA with the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). However the
director of the North Darfur CBS office refused to meet, saying that
she would not meet with any international personnel to discuss the
census unless directed to do so by the CBS head office in Khartoum.
(Note: In the past, local CBS officials have willingly discussed
issues, including the census, with fieldoffs. End Note.)

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De-Linking Census from Elections
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KHARTOUM 00000748 002 OF 002

8. (SBU) Mbugua worried that the problems encountered while
conducting the census did not bode well for next year's elections.
"Darfuris don't participate - they don't participate in the
Ceasefire Commission or in restarting the stalled political process,
and they didn't participate in the census," she complained. Given
this history, and the fact that elections are a benchmark for the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), not the Darfur Peace Agreement
(DPA), Mbugua said that it would difficult to convince them to
participate in the elections. It was important, she said, to
de-link the issue of the census from the upcoming elections. The
census had nothing to do with voter registration, and "we should all
do everything in our power to ensure that people are not confused."


9. (SBU) Mbugua continued that a strong focus on civic education, as
well as international pressure on key community leaders, would be
essential to persuade Darfuris to participate in the elections.
"They have disenfranchised themselves from all other mainstream
participation. What's left for them but the elections?" she mused.

- - - -
Comment
- - - -

9. (SBU) Although it did not lead to the violence that some feared,
the census was clearly unpopular in Darfur. It is also true that
Darfuris generally link the census and elections together as part of
a package "deal-we-didn't-get," and have little interest or concern
for perceived CPA benchmarks. It will be crucial to engage IDP and
other community leaders in the run-up to the elections, and
significant public and civic information campaigns will have to be
mounted to convince Darfuris that their own stakes in election
results are as high as or higher than those of their Southern
compatriots. IDP reaction to the census-elections package will be
reported septel.

FERNANDEZ

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