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Cablegate: Post-2011 Southern Independence Could Leave Khartoum Idp's

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001428

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PGOV EAID KIRF KPKO SOCI SU
SUBJECT: POST-2011 SOUTHERN INDEPENDENCE COULD LEAVE KHARTOUM IDP'S
VULNERABLE TO VIOLENCE

1. (U) SUMMARY: Little attention is being paid to the mechanics of
an initially non-violent break-up if, as widely expected, Southern
Sudan votes for independence in the 2011 referendum. Several IDP
experts have raised the possibility that Northern anger towards
Southerners could be directed at the large - and vulnerable -
community of Southern IDPs resident in the Khartoum area. Such a
reaction would probably set off a round of retaliatory violence in
the South against the large Northern trader community there. Our
contacts cite the unhappy examples of the violence that accompanied
Eritrea's independence from Ethiopia, the India/Pakistan partition,
and the violence directed against Northern traders in Juba when
Southern Sudanese leader (and Sudan First Vice President) John
Garang was killed in a 2005 helicopter crash, to warn that the
country could degenerate into violence as a result of the
referendum. However, this will depend on the way Northern and
Southern political leaders handle the referendum and possible
secession. Some in the North, even in the NCP, say they would be
happy to see the South secede. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) In considering the situation of the Southern IDP population
in the Khartoum area, Poloff spoke with Mission IDP Specialist,
Deacon Kamal Said Samaan, the Khartoum Catholic archdiocese's IDP
expert (and national secretary of the Sudanese St Vincent De Paul
Society, an international Catholic NGO); and a collection of IDP
community leaders, at a meeting in Khartoum facilitated by CARE.

PICTURE OF KHARTOUM'S IDP COMMUNITY
-----------------------------------
3. (U) These experts agreed that, currently, there is no clear
statistical picture of the remaining IDP community in the Khartoum
area, because no studies have been carried out lately. Many people
have gone back to the south as "voluntary returnees" (at their own
expense) since studies were last done. However, these returns have
not been tracked. There is a steady stream of people moving South,
but many then return to Khartoum because of the capital's better
economic opportunities, and the much poorer infrastructure, health
conditions, and educational opportunities for their children in the
South. Non-Muslim Southern Sudanese are now found in every Northern
town up to the Egyptian border. Additionally, there is a stream of
Southerners who are not classified as IDPs, but rather move north as
economic migrants, or due to inter-tribal tensions in the South.
Also, the recent violence in Abyei sent a new wave of IDPs to
Khartoum, although some of these have started to return.

4. (U) The flow of IDPs to Khartoum dates back to about 1985, with
the first cycle of drought, especially from Kordofan and Darfur. A
second wave began in the 1990s, mostly as a result of the war in
Southern Sudan. At its peak, around 2003, there were some two
million IDPs in the Khartoum area, of some four million nationwide.
Only a small number of the estimated 2.5 million displaced by the
Darfur conflict that began in 2004, most of whom remained in camps
there, came to Khartoum. The United Nations Mission in Sudan
(UNMIS) estimates that some 2.1 million IDPs have returned
nationwide, as a result of organized or voluntary returns. Some
30-35 percent of that total returned to the Three Areas (Abyei, Nuba
Mountains, Blue Nile), and the rest to the South. Our contacts
estimated that some two million IDPs may remain in the Khartoum
area, many of them as "squatters," who do not have legal rights to
the land upon which they reside.

5. (U) Four IDP camps are situated in the Khartoum area - two in
Omdurman (across the Nile River from the capital of Khartoum) and
two on the Khartoum side of the river, but further out in the
countryside. The two camps in Omdurman have largely been absorbed
by the growth of that city, and its residents have to various
degrees been integrated into the local economy, to the extent that
some resent being referred to as "IDPs." People familiar with the
IDP camps say the camps are notably less crowded than in the past as
a result of returns; however, it is difficult to quantify the
remaining IDP population.

INTENTIONS OF KHARTOUM'S IDPS
------------------------------

6. (U) The IOM (International Organization for Migration) carried
out an "intention survey" of Sudan's IDPs in 2006. That study
revealed that some 60% of interviewees eventually wanted to return
to the South or to the Three Areas; about 11% were undecided; with
the remaining quarter indicating they wanted to be integrated where
they were. The IDPs that remain in Khartoum will continue to face a
number of challenges that require longer-term development approaches
instead of emergency relief activities. The Sudanese government
continues to limit access to the IDP camps and closely controls the
kinds of assistance provided to these areas. (Note: In August,
USAID was denied camp permits to assess flood damage in IDP areas

KHARTOUM 00001428 002 OF 003


and informed that donors have to apply for permits to camps through
implementing partners. End Note.)

7. (U) At a meeting with IDP community leaders in Khartoum on
September 7, a woman from Eastern Equatoria said members of her
community are "tired of Khartoum, and they want to go back." Most
of the community registered for voluntary return in 2005, but since
then, she added, "the IOM hasn't helped. We are very frustrated.
Many people are trying to raise money to return on their own."
Several of the other leaders seconded those sentiments, expressing
frustration that the expected assistance from IOM has not
materialized. (Note: In FY 2007 and FY 2008, USAID funded the
organized return program through IOM. The organized return program
is geared to assist the most vulnerable IDPs to return home,
particularly to remote areas. IOM prioritizes organized return
routes based on a number of criteria, including safety of the return
destination, number of registered families, and route security.
While it is not uncommon to hear complaints about unmet expectations
for assistance, IOM is providing a critical service through its
organized return operation and helping many people return to
Southern Sudan and the Three Areas. End Note.)

PROSPECT OF VIOLENCE IN 2011?
-----------------------------

8. (U) When asked what they expected might happen in 2011 , should
the South vote for independence, none of the IDP leaders raised the
possibility of violence. Several said that as Sudanese, they have
the right to live wherever they want to in Sudan, and they expected
that situation to continue even past 2011, regardless of the vote.

9. (U) However, both of the two IDP experts agreed that an outbreak
of hostility and violence was a distinct possibility. The Mission's
IDP expert said he hoped political leaders from both sides would
show wisdom and restraint in the future, but the example of Eritrean
independence from Ethiopia after the UN-supervised referendum in
1993 led him to believe there was a danger of violence. In a
recent meeting with econoff, the World Bank Country Manager, a
Pakistani national, compared the failure to plan for a post-2011
breakup to the similar failure to plan adequately for the partition
of India and Pakistan in 1947 and said it was likely to lead to
similar, horrific results.

10. (SBU) Deacon Kamal Samaan (protect) of the Catholic diocese of
Khartoum was much blunter in saying that he believed an outbreak of
violence against the Southern IDP community was quite probable. He
stressed that many Northerners - and the deacon being a Northern
Arab Christian - harbor great hostility for Southerners, basically
still thinking of them as "slaves" and "infidels," he said. He
stated flatly that "Sudan will never accept secession" of the South;
renewed warfare was one possibility, as well as inter-communal
violence, he said.

11. (U) Samaan said that if the infrastructure improves in the
South in the run-up to the 2011 referendum, that most Southerners
would return. However, he added that because of widespread
corruption and inter-tribal tensions in the South, he did not expect
the Southern infrastructure to improve to any appreciable degree
before 2011. Samaan also emphasized that Sudan's "islamization"
campaign remains in full force, despite the North's commitment in
the CPA to protect the rights of non-Muslims in Khartoum: children
have to study Islam in public schools; Christians are prevented from
building new churches in the North; many Southern IDP women are in
prison for brewing alcohol. He noted his office had recently been
successful in getting the death sentence commuted for a Southern
Christian woman convicted of adultery. Islamic intolerance will only
increase if the regime will no longer need to pay lip service to the
SPLM and CPA after 2011.

COMMENT
-------

12. (SBU) The parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and
their international partners are only beginning to consider the
implications of the likelihood that the South will vote for
separation in the referendum in 2011. Under prodding from some
members of the international community, there is minimal attention
to the possibility of working out a post-2011 oil revenue sharing
agreement. However, numerous other questions - the status and
security of Southerners living in the north and Northerners in the
south not the least of them - remain to be resolved in the rapidly
diminishing time remaining. Encouraging the two sides to think
about these issues now will not only help avert political violence
in 2011 if the South does choose independence, but also may serve
to make the referendum itself less threatening as it approaches.

KHARTOUM 00001428 003 OF 003


Unfortunately, as always in Sudan, there are simply too many
simultaneous crises that require constant tending and negotiation,
and prevent Sudan's leaders from planning ahead on other difficult
but critical long-term issues. While many in Sudan believe that
secession is inevitable and many in the North tell us they would
even welcome it, much will depend on the political environment in
2011 and how Sudan's leaders plan for and respond to these
challenges.

FERNANDEZ

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