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Global Totals: Deadly Census in Darfur

Sudan began its fifth census Tuesday and tragedy wasted no time. Armed raiders shot at least two people in a Darfur displacement camp yesterday. Residents at the camp were protesting the national census and saying they would refuse to take part because they did not trust government organizers.

The census has been hailed as an important step towards Sudan's democratic elections, set to be held in 2009 under the terms of a north-south peace deal. It will also be used to decide the distribution of power and wealth. To see the story of one woman's journey and the US involvement,


One woman who has been living in a refugee camp in Uganda said of the hard and dangerous journey home to be counted, "I am extremely happy to be back in my village. It looks the same as when I last saw it. It's a day that I have dreamt of for many years."

Many Darfuris have vowed to boycott the census because they doubt the results will be accurate. Sudan's semi-autonomous south has said it may not be bound by the results because thousands of displaced southerners would not be counted.

The US State Department has an official position on the count, saying that they welcome the start of the Fifth Sudan Population and Housing Census and praising it as a milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which was supposed to end 21 years of civil war. The US also has a big financial stake in the census, having contributed $9.1 million towards preparations.

Do you see the census as a positive step? Are you hopeful that it can be fairly done? Does the US financial involvement surprise you?


stephley stephley 9 years
The U.S. has labeled Sudan as a state that sponsors terrorism but it's also said to be a good place to pick up information on terrorist movements so we've got sort of a love-hate relationship with the government. The Bush Administration presses on humanitarian issues but not so much that it cuts off communication.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
Where'd the 9.1 million dollars go? To some politician's pocket? I want an accounting of every penny the USofA has invested in the Sudan. And Jimmy Carter should be sent to go with the census takers in Southern Sudan. Let's put him to work doing something useful for a change. With the genocide in the Sudan, I doubt that the census will be taken lawfully in the South. They should be taking their own census. And census takers should have NO GUNS with them when they enter the homes. Genocide kills a Country's future.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I feel like it means the State Department has contributed $9.1 million, but that's just to help with census preparation, not to help with anything else going on in Darfur. In which case, I agree with Betty; it seems wasteful to me.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
I don't understand what our interests are in the area, but I would guess they are strategic. Plus, it really is a huge tragedy to see what's happening there. The US Govt contributed $9.1 mil, or is that just money that has come from the US in general? It seems like enough movie stars have spoken out to raise awareness of this issue that they'd be throwing a lot more money into it. It honestly sounds like a low amount to me!
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
Im just going to comment on the $9.1 Million contributed. Its very hard for me to see the logic in that since we are ourselves are in such a deficit.
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