12 November 2010 -- The Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB) and the Central Equatoria State Referendum High Committee today hosted an event in Juba to publicize the start of voter registration for the January 2011 Southern Sudan referendum on self-determination on 15 November.
Attending the launch was the chairperson of the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau and deputy chairperson of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) Justice Chan Reec Madut, representatives of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development, the African Union Liaison Office in Juba, national and civil society organizations, community leaders and members of various communities.
"This is not another round of elections," said Mr. Madut. "It is about the destiny of the people of Southern Sudan, that is why it is important for the people of Southern Sudan to turn up for the registration and vote."
He urged the audience to cast ballots in order to meet the minimum 60 per cent turnout percentage needed to make the referendum result binding and legal. The head of the referendum bureau revealed that the SSRC had approved symbols for the ballot choices of continued unity or the separation of Southern Sudan from the rest of the country.
Two hands clasping each other will represent the unity option while a lone hand will signify separation, said Mr. Madut.
He took the opportunity to thank the United Nations and other partners for their support in bringing the referendum process to its present stage.
The head of the Central Equatoria State Referendum High Committee said the process still faces many challenges, but Professor Alfred Lokuji urged the people of Southern Sudan to vote in next year's long awaited referendum and "make history on the African continent."
The approximately 2,600 voter registration centres represents a drop from the number of locations where people could register for last April's general election, and Mr. Lokuji encouraged citizens with cars or other means of transport to help those unable to reach the nearest registration centre.