Enough Project, a group focused on conflict resolution in Africa, published a 17-page report Friday on the fate of Abyei, a disputed region between Sudan and South Sudan.
Co-founder John Prendergast said the future for Abyei lies in resolving issues from the past.
Which Sudanese government controls Abyei was to be decided in the 2011 referendum for South Sudan's independence. Neither government could agree, however, on who was eligible to take part in the Abyei referendum.
Prendergrast said a U.N. peacekeeping mission patrolling the region was keeping a lid on the turmoil but can't stay there forever.
"The international community must use this moment to support a lasting resolution," he said in a statement.
More than 120,000 people are displaced by violence from the border region.
The region's Ngok Dinka tribe held a unilateral referendum this week, deciding to let the South Sudanese government govern Abyei. The rival Misseriya tribe, allied with Sudan, plans its own referendum.
Neither Sudanese government recognized the validity of the referendum.