New York- US (PANA) -- A group of NGOs and aid agencies on Friday urged world lea ders to take concrete action to ensure peace, safety and development for all Sud a nese people, as they vote in January on whether the south should remain part of S udan.
The NGOs, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, Tearfund, World Vision and Chri stian Aid, all of which have worked in Sudan.
made the warning in an open letter circulated at the UN headquarters in New York.
They warned that, "the next few months are among the most crucial in Sudan's his tory.
"Failure to act risks a new eruption of violence and threatens the future of Afr icaâ?s largest country, with just over 100 days to the referendum.
" The NGOs said "despite the fast-approaching deadline, many key issues remain unr esolved, including the demarcation of the north-south border, voter registration and the sharing of oil revenues.
" The agencies also said diplomatic engagement to help address these must go hand in hand with ensuring that civilians are protected from violence, receive the hu m anitarian aid they need and that basic development goals are delivered.
According to them: "The landmark 2005 peace agreement that set the stage for the referendum was a great achievement in close partnership with the international c ommunity.
" However, the agencies warned that, "its legacy could be undone over the coming m onths without a strong plan supported by world leaders and immediate efforts to p revent violence.
"The security situation across Sudan remains volatile as the referendum approach es.
In southern Sudan, 188,000 people have been forced from their homes so far t h is year.
" They also added "world leaders must not lose focus on the plight of civilians in Darfur, where the UN said the situation has again deteriorated in recent months with a serious increase in civilian deaths and suffering.