News / Africa

Southern Sudanese Vote in London

A Southern Sudanese woman smiles as she has her identification documents checked by an official before casting her vote for the Southern Sudan Referendum in a special polling station set up in central London, 09 Jan 2011.
A Southern Sudanese woman smiles as she has her identification documents checked by an official before casting her vote for the Southern Sudan Referendum in a special polling station set up in central London, 09 Jan 2011.

Europe’s Southern Sudanese Diaspora has headed to London to vote in Sudan’s referendum on independence.

In the heart of central London southern Sudanese from around Europe have come to vote in the country’s referendum. The vote will decide if Sudan is to split in two, creating a new country for Africa.

Rita , a southern Sudanese who has also been an observer here at the center in London, says it’s important for the south Sudanese diaspora to have its say.

“It’s very important for us because most of us are coming from asylum seeker backgrounds or refugees," said Paulino. "Since the war finished we need to go back home and where we want to rebuild our country and make our contribution.”

London is the only voting center for the whole of Europe. Yet just over 650 people registered to vote - that’s out of an estimated 10,000 in Europe. That’s in part because people were advised not to register unless they were sure they would turn up: 60 percent of registered voters had to cast their vote for the ballot to be recognized.

In London, more than 60 percent flooded the voting center on the first day.

Paulino says there’s another reason why so few registered.

“Most of those in Europe, some of them are staying there," said Paulino.  "They are illegal there so they can’t come through the borders within Europe easily so that’s why they couldn’t make it to come - that’s why most of them didn’t turn up.”

But despite the low registration in Europe, southern Sudanese living in countries around the continent have come to London in order to vote. Sarah Nyachan Bayak Tutlam is from Holland and came with her father and sister.

“I think this is a historical moment for all southern Sudanese, wherever they are or may be,” said Tutlam.

This week’s referendum on whether the oil-rich south should gain independence from the government based in the north was central to the peace deal made in 2005. That peace agreement ended a civil war that lasted two decades and left an estimated 2 million people dead.

Southern Sudanese are widely expected to vote for independence.

Dutch voter Tutlam says for her the day is particularly significant.

“I came to London to be able to vote for the referendum for the southern Sudanese because I was born in the war so I have been a refugee all my life," she said. "This is what I was dreaming for, that south Sudanese would get this day and I’m glad that I am a part of it and that I can vote.”

London isn’t the only international voting center that’s been set up. Voting is also taking place in Australia, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and the United States - the eight countries thought to have the most south Sudanese living outside the country.

Around 64,000 southern Sudanese have registered - that’s out of several hundred thousand who are thought to be living abroad.

You May Like

Key Al-Shabab Commander Captured

Zakariye Ismail Hersi was captured in a raid Saturday morning in the town of El Wak near the border with Kenya More

Relations Between Pakistan, Afghanistan Key to Fighting Taliban

A Pakistani official tells VOA that anti-terrorism campaign has resulted in improved counter-terrorism cooperation with Afghanistan More

160,000 Displaced by Flooding in Malaysia

Prime Minister Najib Razak visits hard-hit Kelantan state, announces nearly $145M in additional relief for victims More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.

All About America