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VOA Town Hall: South Sudan's Historic Referendum

What it means for the people, the country and the future

Several leading members of southern Sudan’s civil society gathered December 14 in Juba for a “town hall” style event organized by the Voice of America to discuss the region's referendum on independence.

Lilliane Riziq, director of the South Sudan Women’s Empowerment Network, told the gathering at the Nyakuron Cultural Center that “women’s organizations are not being consulted about the referendum.” Riziq said women are “deeply concerned that too little attention is being paid…to identifying and addressing gender considerations in the post-referendum negotiations.”

Another speaker, Mahjoub Mohammed Salih, a Sudanese journalist and recipient of the Golden Pen Award, used the forum to urge government broadcasters to cover the planned January 9 referendum in a fair and balanced manner.

Salih, chairman of the media committee of the Sudan Referendum Commission, said “government-owned media must give equal time and opportunity to both options of unity and separation, and that has to be respected.”

Other speakers included Anis Haggar, a Sudanese businessman who discussed the economic issues associated with the possible division of the country, and Taban Lo Liyong, a writer who discussed Sudan’s future.


John Tanza Mabusu and Charlton Doki
Sudan in Focus co-hosts


Mr. Mahjoub Mohamed Salih, Al Ayam newspaper

Part 1:

Part 2:

Mr. Anis Haggar, Businessman


Ms. Lilian Riziq, Civil society leader

Part 1:

Part 2:

Mr. Joseph Abuk, Writer and activist