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South Sudan Digest – December 2011 Editon

December 16th, 2011

The November Digest can be downloaded as a PDF here: December Digest

South Sudan Civil Society – Monthly Digest

Vol. 1, No. 9

November/December 2011-Release

Justice Africa Literature Review

Abstract: This digest provides the latest updates on key developments in The Republic of Southern Sudan. It combines reports from think tanks, NGOs, electronic media and experts both from abroad and on the ground to highlight the greatest assets and impediments to regional security, governance, human rights and Civil Society during this critical period of transition.

Table of Content

1. Peace and Security
1.1 Abyei Province
1.2 Blue Nile State
1.3 Jonglei State
1.4 South Kordofan
1.5 Unity State
1.6 Upper Nile State
1.7 Western Equatoria State
1.8 Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration
1.9 Internally Displaced People
2.United Nations
3.Economy
3.1 Currency
3.2 Education
3.3 Food Security
3.4 Oil Revenues and Export
4. Governance and Civil Society
4.1 Governance
5. Gender Issues
6. Health
7. Related Issues
7.1 Darfur
7.2 LRA
8. Analysis/Official Reports/Press Release

Voices from South Sudan

9. Interview With Benjamin Ocheingh

10. Workshop: The Role of Persons with Disabilities in Nation Building

11. Interview with Prof John Akec

12. Civil Society in South Sudan: Position, limitations and role in nation building

1. Peace and Security

1.1 Abyei Province
7th December – A Misseriya leader has affirmed that all members of the tribe are united on Abyei and that they will not give up the land at any rate. Emir Hiraika Mohamed Osman, the general Emir of Misseriya in Khartoum, announced that the tribe has presented 57 documents and correspondences confirming that Abyei belongs to the North, but that the Hague Tribunal had clearly favoured Dinka at the expense of Misseriya. See the Sudan Vision interview with the Emir for more information.[1]

8th December – The United Nations’ peacekeeping chief, Hervé Ladsous, says the security situation in the disputed region of Abyei is fragile. He told the Security Council that a joint border monitoring mechanism needs to be created to build confidence between the two sides. The armed forces of Sudan and South Sudan have not withdrawn from the area, in violation of a June agreement between the parties.

“Personnel of the South Sudan police force are still present within the area and it seems that the two parties are currently in the process of replacing their military staff with police officers, and this also contravenes the letter and spirit of the agreement of the 20th of June,” said Ladsous.[2]

1.2 Blue Nile
27th November – The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs in Blue Nile State, Nur Al-Din Awad affirmed the stability of the humanitarian situation in the state, adding that the recent victories of the armed forces helped to provide the necessary and urgent services to those affected.[3]

6th December – Amnesty International’s Livewire reported that every single refugee they encountered in a hastily set up camp in Dorro, Upper Nile State, said they had fled their homes “because of the bombing”. They have been displaced by repeated Sudanese army airstrikes on their towns and villages in Sudan’s Blue Nile State. More than 20,000 have fled their homes since the conflict broke out between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – North (SPLM/A-N) on 1 September this year[4].

9th December – IRIN news warns that aid agencies must plan for worsening conditions in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Since early July 2011, some 20,000 refugees have fled South Kordofan and another 30,000 have fled Blue Nile state into South Sudan. A further 36,000 Sudanese refugees are estimated to have arrived in Ethiopia from Blue Nile State since September.

“Given the continued denial of [humanitarian] access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, we must now plan for a major deterioration in the condition of people there, including rising malnutrition, food insecurity and the dangers of unexploded ordnance and landmines,” advised Valerie Amos, UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.[5]

1.3 Jonglei
6th December – About 45 people are said to have died and many others forced to flee their homes in Jalle in the state of Jonglei after another spasm of violence. The UNMISS dispatched a team to the area to investigate the cause of the attacks. Local residents claim the attack came from the Murle community and that cattle (a key source of income and status in South Sudan) were stolen.[6]

9th December – The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan today stressed the need to press ahead with the reconciliation process in Jonglei state where another outbreak of inter-ethnic violence that occurred earlier this week has left more than 40 people dead, most of them women, children and the elderly.

UNMISS condemned the violence and urged the Government of South Sudan, traditional leaders, and other authorities to strengthen efforts to bring the bloodshed to an end and to identify the perpetrators so that they can be brought to justice.[7]

1.4 South Kordofan
3rdDecember – The Sudanese Army claims they have gained control over the Buhairat Al-Abyad area, which was a stronghold for the SPLM-N.

A statement from the Sudanese Army reported that “The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on Saturday evening managed to defeat the SPLA rebels in South Kordofan at Buhrat Al-Abyad area. The SAF seized the Command of the 9th division (the stronghold of the SPLA rebels in the area) with its three camps.”[8]

6th December – The SPLM-N have accused the SAF of bombing the cities of Kauda, Baram and neighbouring villages in South Kordofan. Arno Nuguthulu, spokesperson of the SPLM-N, stated that government troops were using Iranian-made comet missiles based in Kadugli for bombing. He added that “The bombing killed and inured many civilians in their homes and stirred panic among the population. The National Congress Party’s (NCP’s) use of lethal weapons by all military means suggests their willingness to commit genocide”.[9]

10th December – The governor of South Kordofan state, Ahmed Haroun, has escaped an attack on his life by members of the SPLM-N, according to local press reports. The assassination attempt was carried out during his visit to the remote area of Alatmor, which was retaken earlier in the week by the Sudanese army. Haroun was unharmed and regarded the incident as “insignificant”.[10]

1.5 Unity State
23rd November – Consultations organised by the South Sudanese government and sponsored by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) entitled “Community Security and Small Arms Control”, which aim to promote peace and security among communities, have begun in three Unity State counties. The consultations will draw participants from women and youth groups, the government, elders and traditional leaders as well as law enforcement officials.

“This gathering will engage communities to discuss issues of community insecurity and analyse the situation for possible solutions,” remarked international trainer Peter Kilonzo.

The Bureau for Community Security and Small Arms (BCSSAC), in collaboration with the Peace Commission, are serving as key facilitators for the training. Following the Rubkona, Koch and Guit discussions, consultations will move to the six remaining counties, with UNMISS providing transportation.[11]

2nd December – UNMISS are engaged in de-mining in Unity state. UNMISS have cleared the 90-kilometre Bentiu-Tharjat Road of mines and it is expected that the 65-kilometre Bentiu-Mayom route will be cleared and declared open to regular traffic within days. United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC) Bentiu Team Leader, Chris Fielding, has urged the people of Unity not to mine roads. “This doesn’t only take away lives but brings untold suffering to the people.”[12]

4th December – The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) took control of the town of Jau in South Sudan over the weekend. The attack was believed to be part of the efforts by SAF to pursue rebels from the Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) whom it believes are hiding in Jau. According to the area commissioner, Mabeak Lang Bilkuey, the attack came as a surprise to the SPLA forces in the area. Heavy fighting between the SPLA and the SAF has been ongoing and the SPLA have managed to resume control over parts of Jau. The SAF, however, are advancing towards the refugee camps in Parieng.

According to Bilkuey; “one of the reasons why they are fighting in the Jau Payam was because they want to take over the areas which are under [control] of South Sudan and [housing] the Sudanese refugees from the north. They are attacking Jau because they believe it is the base of SPLM/A-N hideout that they use to fight them in the South Kordofan State.”[13]

7th December – Sudan accused South Sudan of reputedly attacking the region of Jau which it claims lies within the borders of Sudan. The Foreign Ministry of Sudan issued a statement saying that it “condemns this blatant attack on Sudan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, by a state that does not respect its neighbours, and wants to make itself an element of instability in the region.”

SPLA spokesman Philip Aguer confirmed there had been conflict in Jau, but insisted that the area was south of the disputed border. “The SPLA has been trying to defend the area and the Sudanese armed forces have been attacking it and bombarding with Antonovs, MiGs, long-range ground artilleries and all military powers,” he told AFP.

The SAF claimed that in their recent attack on Jau they had captured camps of SPLM-N rebels aligned to the SPLA. However, a rebel spokesman backed Aguer’s statement that Jau was located south of the border, and insisted they had had no presence there since the south gained independence in July.

Analysts warned that if both sides continue to supply the other’s rebels it would impact negatively on the negotiations to resolve the complicated post-succession issues. [14]

1.6 Upper Nile State
2nd December – Refugees are arriving into the village of Doro in South Sudan, fleeing from the bombing of their villages in Blue Nile State.

“War was coming – we saw the aeroplanes. They bombed our village,” said a 50-year-old man in Doro. “We have been on the road for eight days. There were long lines of people walking with us. We arrived three days ago, and we have spent a few days without food.”

Doctors without Borders (MSF) are providing emergency medical care to the estimated 13,000 refugees in the area. Over the coming days, the MSF team will initiate a therapeutic feeding programme to treat children under five affected by severe malnutrition. They will also issue vaccinations to prevent outbreaks of disease.[15]

9th December – The registered number of refugees gathering at the village of Doro, as of December 7, was 21,500 and increasing daily. Anywhere from 500 to 1,000 newcomers are registering every day. The walk from their homelands in Blue Nile State is a journey lasting anywhere from one week to one month.

A community elder told MSF staff that he believes his entire community of 5,000 has fled to Doro. “We came, all of us,” he said. “No one remains behind.”

Doctors without Borders have set up a temporary clinic in Doro and have to date conducted 700 consultations[16].

1.7 Western Equatoria State
23rd November – The UNMISS Human Rights section conducted a one-day training session for local judges in Western Equatoria state to bolster the capacity of South Sudan’s judiciary. Under the title “Human Rights Standards in Payam Court Proceedings”, the activity was aimed at educating Payam court judges in basic human rights principles and standards in court proceedings, to enhance their ability to deliver justice in compliance with human rights law.

In opening remarks, Ryambe Benjamin Wani, Western Equatoria Director of Local Government, said the workshop would improve the work of local judges by identifying boundaries between customary law courts and the judiciary.

“We need to improve and upgrade the skill of our local judges and the judicial organ, which was missing during the war and was replaced by traditional leaders,” Mr. Wani said. He noted that most local judges lacked formal training, having been selected or elected according to local traditions and customs. “The structures, powers and functions of the legal system need to be separated and defined to avoid overlaps between judiciary and traditional courts,” he said.[17]

1.8 Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration
23rd November – Aiming to release all child soldiers in South Sudan, a three-day workshop for their demobilisation began today in the capital of Juba. The workshop will form the basis for an action plan to release any child soldiers from the SPLA.

“The United Nations is going to support this programme as long as it takes,” affirmed UN Deputy Representative of the Secretary-General, Lise Grande, during the opening remarks. “We have the confidence that the army and the government are going to be able to get every single child soldier out.”

“Six hundred child soldiers have been released from the barracks,” she noted. “The UN has travelled to more than 50 different barracks and some facilities to see the child soldiers.”[18]

7th December – To support the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of former South Sudanese combatants, residents of Mapel Payam, Western Bahr El-Ghazal State, today donated a 1.2- kilometre-square piece of land for a DDR transitional facility. UNMISS will provide technical support for the process.

As stipulated in South Sudan’s National DDR Strategy, transition facilities will be set up in all 10 states for the demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants. UNMISS is designing and constructing the facilities on behalf of the South Sudan DDR Commission.[19]

1.9 Internally Displaced People
25th November – UN experts have warned that the number of people fleeing unrest in Sudan is likely to reach 100,000 by the end of the year. So far, 76,000 people have fled Sudan for Ethiopia to avoid clashes in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state. Some 16,000 have fled Blue Nile to the South Sudan state of Upper Nile. An additional 20,000 have fled South Kordofan for Unity State.

The UNHCR has been delivering aid to the refugees that have mainly settled along the border areas. However, some are residing in extremely remote areas and it is difficult to access them, according to Raouf Mazou of the UNHCR. Much of the aid has been provided by helicopter but the UNHCR hopes the approaching dry season will make roads accessible.[20]

2. UN

8th December – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki, to discuss the situation in Somalia and Sudan. On Sudan, the Secretary-General, the President and the Foreign Minister discussed the need to resolve outstanding issues in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Sudan and South Sudan, particularly the question of the disputed area of Abyei.

The Secretary-General underlined the importance of harmonising the relationship between Sudan and South Sudan, including the need for assistance from other countries in the region.[21]

3. Economy

3.1 Currency
30th November – The Central Bank of South Sudan has announced that it is embarking on a modernisation of the country’s payments, clearing and settlement systems. Kornelio Koryom Mayiik, the Governor of the Central Bank explained that the initiative is part of their strategic vision of revolutionising the payments and settlement system into one that is comparable with the rest of the world.[22]

3.2 Education
10th December – South Sudanese students graduating from the University of Nairobi in Kenya, have called on the Juba government to increase efforts to improve the quality of education in the country.

One of the 16 South Sudanese students who graduated on 2 December, Malual Majok, told reporters that they have a “duty to repay the sacrifice which others have made” and failure to do so would be tantamount to a betrayal of their fellow citizens.[23]

3.3 Food Security
5th December – Italian Development Cooperation is supporting the World Food Programme (WFP) in South Sudan, with the approval of a voluntary emergency donation of 800,000 for food aid initiatives. The Italian donation will be used to buy and distribute 480 tonnes of fortified food supplements to prevent infant malnutrition. This supplement will be distributed each day to about 16,000 children under the age of three during the most critical months.[24]

3.4 Oil Revenues and Export
30th November – Sudan has not cancelled oil exports from South Sudan and has no plans to do so, according to a Sudanese governmental official. This is contrary to a statement made by Sudan’s acting oil minister on Monday, where he assured Sudan would cease oil exports until the two countries could agree on transit fees. However, according to the same official, Sudan had confiscated crude shipments in lieu of payments it claims are owed by South Sudan.[25]

5th December – Beijing is sending an envoy to resolve the conflict over oil exports between Sudan and South Sudan. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has stated that Liu Guijin, a special representative of the Chinese government on African affairs, will visit Sudan and South Sudan in the coming days to promote talks between the two countries. China relies on South Sudan for nearly five percent of its oil and therefore has substantial interest in the matter. China is also a key ally to Khartoum and is the major military supplier to the country.[26]

9th December – The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) have announced that US companies are now allowed to export oil equipment to South Sudan without special permission. Based on the new rules, U.S. companies can also export equipment through Sudan as long as South Sudan is the final destination.[27]

4. Governance and Civil Society 

4.1 Governance
6th December – The Coalition for the International Criminal Court today called on South Sudan to prioritise the agreement of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). AllAfrica.com stress that “By acceding to the Rome Statute, the government of RSS would demonstrate its commitment to the global fight against impunity and promoting the rule of law.” The article further observed that “In a letter dated 5 December 2011 to RSS President H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the Coalition a global network of more than 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 countries advocating for a fair, effective and independent ICC and improved access to justice for victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity urged the government of RSS to begin the accession process of the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty.”

At the time of print, 120 countries have joined the Rome Statue with Cape Verde, Moldova and Vanuatu being some of its youngest members.[28]

8th December – South Sudan made its first appearance as an independent country at the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa. Global warming would seem to be a low priority for South Sudan but is in fact a pressing concern, according to Minister for Environment, Alfred Lado Gore. Food security is a major concern in the country and the climate change has a significant negative effect on South Sudan’s agriculture.

“People want to cultivate but no longer know when rain comes. And when they come, sometimes they are even floods and they destroy the crops”, Gore informed the summit.[29]

5. Gender Issues

24th November – More than 50 women began a three-day training session entitled ‘Participation and Representation in Political Processes’ today in the Western Bahr-El Ghazal capital of Wau. The training session was organised by the South Sudanese Network for Democratic Elections (SSNDE) and a representative, Amani Ibrahim, explained their motivation; “we are concerned with women’s participation in political aspects to allow them to engage actively in the forthcoming constitutional development process.”[30]

7th December – The Senior Human Rights Officer in UNMISS highlighted the fact that the majority of gender-based violence victims in South Sudan suffer in silence.

“I didn’t bring with me any new study released on sexual violence in South Sudan. No matter what the numbers given are, the scale is not easy to determine because of stigma and silence. Many victims choose to suffer in silence than come forward. Any report you read may only represent the tip of the iceberg,” warned Theodore Rectenwald of UNMISS.[31]

6. Health

24th November – Some 32 cases of measles have been reported in Rumbek East County, Lakes State, the State Ministry of Health informed UN Radio Miraya. A highly contagious viral disease, measles is a leading cause of death among young children, according to the World Health Organisation.

“We have an outbreak, or you may correctly say cases of measles coming up, in some of our counties in Lakes State,” said Ministry of Health Director-General Achut Achut. “The most affected county is Rumbek East County in a place called Billing.”

Despite availability of vaccines, frequent violence in the state has undermined access to vaccinators. Mr. Achut added that their health workers are frightened to enter the area during the rounds of vaccinations.[32]

29th November – As the borders of South Sudan opened for trade and commerce after the country gained independence, health experts say the country is now fighting a new war against the spread of HIV/AIDS.

One of the main concerns of spreading HIV/AIDS is the thousands of sex-workers that have come to Juba from neighbouring countries. HIV rates are thought to be rapidly increasing in brothels where women face violence from men, with very low awareness of the risk of disease.[33]

4th December – On Sunday, South Sudan called on activists and community groups to focus on promoting maternal health care, which is a major challenge in the new nation. Maternal mortality rates are among the worst in the world with 2,054 mothers out 100,000 dying during labour, according to figures from the Ministry of Health. Prenatal health care is free in South Sudan but there are less than 100 midwives for the entire country, which has a population of over 8 million.[34]

6th December – The spread of HIV in isolated parts of South Sudan is being tackled by a church-run project which is also challenging prejudice.

The Diocese of Yei began a year-long project in Jombu known as Channels of Hope. The project draws on Bible studies to affirm the value of all human life. Approximately 40 people were trained for four days on HIV awareness, including information on its transmission, signs and symptoms.

The result is that attitudes have changed in the community, which is now keen for this knowledge to be spread to all nearby villages.[35]

7. Related Issues

7.1 Darfur
28th November – The head of the joint United Nations/African Union mission in Darfur, Ibrahim Gambari, stated that the formation of a new rebel alliance is threatening prospects for peace in Sudan. The number of deaths as a result of armed confrontation in Darfur is decreasing, but tensions are on the rise.

The newly created Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) comprises four military forces from Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Gambari maintained that Darfur could not be isolated from troubling developments in other parts of Sudan, including Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, where the Sudan’s army are battling rebels. He also expressed concern over the frayed relationship between Sudan and South Sudan due to post-breakup issues involving borders and the sharing of oil revenue.[36]

2nd December – The International Criminal Court (ICC) have issued an arrest warrant for the current Sudanese Defence Minister, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.

The evidence allowed the Office of the Prosecutor to conclude that Mr. Hussein is among those who bear the greatest criminal responsibility for the same crimes and incidents, presented in previous warrants of arrest for Ahmed Harun and Ali Kushayb, issued by the Court on 27 April 2007.

The crimes were perpetrated during attacks upon the towns and villages of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar and Arawala in the Wadi Salih and Mukjar localities of West Darfur. The attacks followed a common pattern: the Government of Sudan forces surrounded the villages, the Air Force dropped bombs indiscriminately and foot soldiers, including Militia/Janjaweed, killed, raped and looted the entire village, forcing the displacement of four million inhabitants.

The Prosecutor will brief the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur on 15 December 2011 at UN Headquarters.[37]

7.2 LRA
6th December – In October, the US sent 100 Special Forces soldiers to help Uganda track down LRA chief and international fugitive Joseph Kony, who has wreaked havoc over four nations for more than two decades. The soldiers have now begun a region-wide hunt for fighters from the Lord’s Resistance Army. The majority of US troops will be based in Uganda, while a smaller number will be based in jungle areas in neighbouring countries to advise regional armies tracking the rebels. Nzara in South Sudan is one of the places where US troops have been deployed.[38]

8. Analysis /Official Reports /Press Releases

November –‘Dowry and Division: Youth and State Building in South Sudan’ by Marc Sommers and Stephanie Schwartz, USIP.

Most South Sudanese youths are undereducated and underemployed, and their priorities and perspectives are largely unknown. To address this critical knowledge gap, the authors conducted field research between April and May 2011 with youth, adults, and government and nongovernmental officials in Juba and two South Sudanese states.[39]

November – ‘Sudan Food Security Alert’, USAID

Armed conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army–North (SPLA-N) in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, since June and September 2011 respectively, continues to have a major impact on lives, livelihoods, and food security. This report argues that the food insecurity is severe in the conflict ridden states.[40]

27th November – ‘Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abyei’, UN

The report provides an update on the situation in Abyei and on the deployment and operations of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) since the UN’s previous report in 29 September 2011.[41]

29th November – ‘Humanitarian Assistance in Review, FY 2002 – 2011: East and Central Africa’, USAID

Between FY 2002 and FY 2011, USAID provided more than $11.5 billion in humanitarian assistance in the East and Central Africa region. This review details the assistance provided by USAID.[42]

30th November – African Union Report and Communique of the 301st PSC Meeting

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 300th and 301st meetings, (held on 28 and 30 November 2011 respectively), adopted the following decision on the situation in Darfur and the activities of the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) on Sudan.[43]

December – ‘South Sudan Monitor’, Saferworld

This edition of the South Sudan Monitor considers some of the key issues and trends that have emerged in 2011. It looks at the many unresolved CPA issues and the political developments of the country. It deals with insecurity in the country with a focus on armed militias, community violence and North-South clashes. It also assesses the humanitarian situation in South Sudan. The newsletter ends with a South Sudan timeline of 2011.[44]

December – ‘Sanctuary in the City? Urban Displacement and Vulnerability in Yei, South Sudan’, Overseas Development Institute

This study explores the phenomenon of displacement in the urban environment and the implications and challenges it poses for humanitarian action in Yei, South Sudan. The study aims to deepen understanding of the drivers and history of displacement in Yei, and to review policies and legal frameworks for displaced populations, including protection, housing, land and urban development policies.[45]

December – ‘Gender and State-building in South Sudan’, USIP

Decades of conflict in South Sudan as well as socio-economic and political marginalisation at the hands of successive governments in Khartoum affected women in a gender-specific manner. Independence thus creates opportunities for women’s economic and social empowerment, ensuring that the new country’s political and economic structures and institutions reflect commitments to women’s participation and human rights. In turn, empowering women will enable South Sudan to strengthen its economic and political structures and institutions.[46]

6th December – Joint statement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, and United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague concerning negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan.

They encourage both governments to reach an agreement on outstanding post-CPA issues. They also commend the efforts of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in facilitating these negotiations, while wholeheartedly supporting their continued engagement.[47]

9th December – Declaration by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union on Sudan and South Sudan.

The European Union urges the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan to redouble their efforts to resolve all outstanding issues in the post-secession negotiations, in line with the principle of the two viable states, and to adopt a holistic approach to the search for peace. This declaration details the EU’s concern over growing tension between Sudan and South Sudan.[48]


Voices from South Sudan

 9. Interview with Benjamin Ocheingh

Benjamin Ocheingh is one of the leading members of the Justice Africa team who is very familiar with the social, political and economic landscapes of South Sudan.  Currently he is the Coordinator of the Civil Society Support Project in the Juba Country Office.  He previously worked with Save the Children (Sweden) and at the LRA peace talks in Northern Uganda. He has spent six years working in Southern Sudan on several projects in the areas of education, health, water and sanitation for former child soldiers. Moreover, Ben played a key role in the drafting of the South Sudan Child Act. Before joining Justice Africa, he worked as a Programme Officer with the largest Youth Organisation in Sudan.

1. Tell us about your background and role with Justice Africa.

Immediately after school, I worked with Save the Children, Sweden and at the LRA peace talks in Northern Uganda. I also worked in Southern Sudan as a Program Coordinator on several projects in the areas of education, health, water and sanitation for former child soldiers; as well as supporting DDR activities. Before joining Justice Africa, I worked with the largest Youth Organisation in Sudan as Program Officer. I have completed a BSC Degree majoring in Natural Resource Management and Anthropology, and further studies in training for Project Management and Planning. I have also lately developed a strong interest in programming and international cooperation in conflict transformation.

For Justice Africa, I work as a Coordinator for the Support to South Sudan Civil Society Program. This program seeks to provide technical facilitation support to the civil society in their advocacy and lobby efforts in the transition of South Sudan. The aims are to achieve an empowered, knowledgeable and vibrant civil society driven by the common purpose of ensuring the actualisation of universal moral principles and values of democracy, good governance, popular participation and socio- economic justice during the transition period in South Sudan.

2. Can you tell us about the developments of civil society in South Sudan?

At this point, the development of civil society in South Sudan is in a poor state. The government of South Sudan is the newest nation in the world, emerging from a 50 year civil conflict that largely attributed to marginalisation, political domination, corruption and exploitation. Without doubt, the civil society played a crucial role to address these issues by calling for genuine democratisation processes during this period. However, with the new social political dispensation that resulted from the referendum of self determination for people of South Sudan in January 2011 and the consequent independence in July 2011, the focus of civil society has greatly shifted from the North-South to South-South. This implies that their role in nation building in the new republic of South Sudan is much needed at present.  The issues thus far highlighted by civil society include conflict, corruption, nepotism, respect and promotion of human rights, transparency and accountability, women’s rights and other vulnerable groups to media freedom. Through their experience from the diaspora, the civil society continues to appreciate the need to work through a collaborative agenda guided by common vision and mission within themselves. As result, in the last eight months, numerous civil society coalitions have emerged in South Sudan with different mandates but all seeking to contribute to peaceful transformation and nation building. One such credible coalition is the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance that was formed in the first South Sudan Civil Society Convention, held in July 2011 after the independence celebrations. The main aim of this convention was to bring together civil society organisations from the ten states of South Sudan to discuss their role in the new nation. The convention also ended with key recommendations that the civil society are now working hard to implement.

The drafting of the permanent constitution of South Sudan is scheduled to begin early next year, and the civil society are working hard to contribute to this crucial step in state building. The civil society are also participating in other important legislations such the Media Bill, Petroleum and Mining Bill and Revenue Bill, all of which they envision will be used to hold the government accountable in its development strategy. The ideology of a government watchdog is now increasingly appreciated by civil society and this is partly because many believe that the government is virtually a one party state or because the ruling party, SPLM, constitutes almost 99% of the members in the National Legislative Assembly, hence the civil society now acts as the opposition.

3. What are some of the biggest challenges that civil society face today?

The challenges facing civil society can be characterised into three categories;

a) CSO Internal Organisation Management

Most CSOs have been formed out of individual ideology, while others have been formed by individuals who have come together in collective opinion. In both instances, developing a long- term plan and implementation strategies always seems very challenging, partly because of limited technical capacity and also because some CSOs are engaged in project driven initiatives. In most cases, it would be wise to develop a project based on research in close consultations with the beneficiaries, but this is rarely the case. Some CSOs opt for certain projects simply because the funds were available with certain international organisations. However, this is being harmonised through several capacity building initiatives and changing attitudes.

b) The Environment at National and State Level

One of the biggest challenges at is this stage is that members of the civil society are being continuously absorbed into the government. This can be discussed in two dimensions; the principle of civility and nationalism. Some citizens think, bearing in mind what their country has undergone in terms of destruction of property and life, that they should be part of nation building at any level with any partner. The opposing belief is that a genuine civil society must remain as a separate element outside of government and business sectors, both organised and essentially disorganised, and represent people working to achieve their aspirations and live creative, active, healthy lives.

Another factor is the CSO relationship with government and community. The background history again must be considered; South Sudan is emerging from civil war against one part of the country which means that at one point, all civil society groups were rallying behind the SPLA/SPLM. In the wake of relative peace and stability however, the obstacle is now adaptability on both ends; the challenge of the SPLA/SPLM to accept constructive criticism from the civil society and the challenge of CSOs to criticise the movement they believe has just delivered them from oppression. The major concern for most CSOs is that the government could soon begin to view them as enemies rather than partners in development. To counter this, CSOs remain careful about their approach to the government and continue to advocate for constructive engagements rather than attempt a confrontational tactic.

c) The International Level Influence

The international level influence can also be regarded in two dimensions;

The first is direct influence, in terms of support and indirect support through coordination and networking. Few international partners have found civil society capable of developing and implementing their own initiative; in most cases, the international organisations develop their priority themes based on the information at their disposal. In some instances, this has worked very well but for the most part, it has failed due to inadequate participation from beneficiaries, the community or individuals in the initial project design or development.

The indirect international influence is the advocacy and lobby advantage that CSOs would perhaps use to ensure that their demands are met. There is increased lobbying at international level, whereby government donors attach conditions to the aid given to developing countries. This has proven very effective in other countries, where aid money is only transferred when the government has met certain conditions, especially in the areas of democratisation and human rights. In most instances, the conditions set by the international organisations are initiated or catalysed by civil society.

In summary, the consolidation of legitimacy is crucial to civil society both at national and international level. One such example in South Sudan is the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance, which is currently developing and consolidating its structure from grass roots to national and international level, in order to meaningfully represent the views and opinions of citizens in South Sudan.

4. This edition of the digest is the final one… What are your views on the digest? How effective has it been?

I will start by giving a brief background to civil society.

The digest was intended to provide updates on key developments in Southern Sudan during the post-CPA era. It combines reports from think tanks, NGOs, electronic media and experts, both from abroad and on the ground, to highlight the greatest assets and impediments to regional security, governance, human rights and civil society during this critical period of transition.

The main goal was to achieve an empowered, knowledgeable and vibrant civil society, driven by the common purpose of ensuring the actualisation of universal moral principles and values of democracy, good governance, popular participation and socio- economic justice in South Sudan.

This goal was to be realised through a coalition building project, which was implemented by Justice Africa in partnership with the South Sudan Civil Society taskforce, a coalition of thirteen CSOs in South Sudan. The two partners worked tirelessly to ensure that the following was achieved:

  • Information sourcing and dissemination, including networking and sharing of abilities, skills and know-how
  • Policy identification, development and influence – mostly to be done through policy analysis, analysis of the democratisation and transition process, and consequent documentations
  • Empowerment, education and public enlightenment
  • Promoting the coordination and cooperation of groups
  • CSO consensus building and opinion shaping through organised participatory consultation and consensus building processes
  • Attitude formation and change including conscientisation and sensitisation

To sum up, the digest would not be only be critical, but also stimulate intellectual engagements in civil society by clarification of facts and evidences. This would, in turn, shape opinions and promote values and dignity for the sake of decision making in matters of national importance.

My views on the digest are as follows;

The digest has been successful in trying to empower, educate and enlighten the public, especially the civil society. It was also a valuable source of information sharing through the dissemination of knowledge with partners, including their activities.

The digest should now seek further local partnerships and could also be adjusted to act as a platform for civil society intellectual engagements.

Other potential partners to the digest could be universities, research institutions, the South Sudan Academics and Researchers Forum, religious institutions, women’s movements, special groups and so forth. This could be achieved by sharing links of local newspaper websites with the digest among others.

5. What inspired you to start the digest?

I have always been involved in intellectual engagement, even since high school with debating associations or clubs. After encountering civil society in South Sudan and the tremendous challenges facing the whole region, I thought that a suitable media for intellectual debate and information exchange could contribute to decision making processes in South Sudan.

I was a Program Officer in one of the largest youth groups in South Sudan, which was a member of the Southern Sudan Civil Society Referendum Taskforce, a group of CSO leaders and networks. It represented a wide range of constituents working in the areas of peace and justice, human rights, free and open press, economic development, democratic reform, armed violence-prevention and a number of other sub-sectors. More than 160 civil society organisations were represented by the SSCSRT.

The SSCSRT was formed with the aim of ensuring a free, peaceful and credible referendum process, contributing to a stable post-referendum period, as well as strengthening the civil society sector in preparation for its effective participation in referendum processes and future civic pursuits.

The taskforce was formed in May 2010, consisting of civil society networks and activists with the common goal of working to secure a positive future for Southern Sudan, and shared principles of justice, peace, human dignity and freedom for all. Such a convergence of civil society was a momentous achievement, in light of the desperate need for constructive and strong engagements in the ongoing momentous political process and transformation of the South.

The taskforce aimed to fulfill three civil society needs:

1) Function as a Think Tank for Southern Sudanese analysis and perspectives on issues

2) Act as an Advocacy and Lobby Group

3) Serve as a Consultative Forum for soliciting and building consensus on civil society views and positions

At the time, the think tank was represented by Kennet Korayi, a researcher and civil society activist, Nhial Bol, editor of Citizen Newspaper, and myself.

Upon joining Justice Africa, I proceeded to further the think tank idea with my colleagues and this resulted in the current digest. A particular source of inspiration was the Council on Foreign Relations (http://www.cfr.org), which is an independent, non-partisan membership organisation, think tank and publisher recommended to me by Neha Erasmus, then the outgoing Program Coordinator for Justice Africa. The following sources were also very useful: Africa Confidential, the Indian Ocean Newsletter, Magreb Confidential, Africa Energy and Mining Intelligence.

Finally, I wish to offer my utmost and sincere appreciation to all colleagues who participated in one way or another to ensure that the digest was functional and constructively useful. I am very optimistic that the digest will continue to expand and serve the interests of a wide range of disciplines that promote human dignity, values, good governance and development in the new socio-political dispensation of South Sudan.

10. Workshop: The Role of Persons with Disabilities in Nation Building

On 21 November 2011, Justice Africa held a disability workshop with 20 representatives from disabled person’s organisations and networks.

This was a follow-up workshop to the Civil Society Convention organised by Justice Africa and the Civil Society Taskforce in July 2011. The South Sudan Civil Society Alliance was consequently set up, consisting of over 250 civil society activists, that have vowed to support the long-term aims of the Convention. Within this framework, a group known as Special Actors for Change was founded to consider the interests of those who are vulnerable to social marginalisation; notably women, youths and people with disabilities (PWDs).

This workshop focused specifically on disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) and how opportunities could be created to define their role in the political and social transformation of South Sudan. It is hoped that the Alliance will lobby and campaign for the issues raised by the Special Actors for Change.

The workshop intended to re-examine recommendations outlined in the Convention, discuss the role of PWDs in the nation building process and undertake a SWOT analysis to determine the strengths and weaknesses of DPOs in South Sudan.

It was facilitated by Stephen Pande, Benjamin Ochiengh and Hannah Logan of Justice Africa.

Ben Lowe of the South Sudan Association for the Visually Impaired (SSAVI) made a presentation discussing how PWDs have contributed to the development of South Sudan. He commended the contributions they have already made to society but noted the lack of appreciation or recognition of this participation. He used the failed DPO campaign for 5% proportional representation in the constitution as an example.

Henry Soka of Handicapped International focused on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was set up to specifically tackle discrimination against PWDs and to promote equal enjoyment of human rights. He highlighted the importance of a strengthened disability movement and the need for South Sudan to sign and ratify the Convention in order to fully protect the rights of PWDs.

After Ben outlined the SWOT analysis, a plan for effective implementation of the recommendations was discussed, and a decision was made to include 7 representatives from various DPOs on the interim steering committee.

These members met again on 25 November and decided to form a network of all DPOs across the ten states of South Sudan: the South Sudan Network for Persons with Disabilities. Their objectives have been agreed upon and their first step shall be to draft a constitution.

11. Interview with Prof John Akec

Chairperson of Academic and Researchers Forum for Development

1. Can you say something about your background and the South Sudan Academics and Researchers Forum Development?

Academics and Researchers Forum for Development is a think-tank and an advocacy group for poverty reduction and good governance that was launched in Juba in February 2011. Its mission includes the promotion of informed policy formulation; striving to promote the indigenization of development in South Sudan; and fostering of a culture of intellectual innovation, creativity, and knowledge generation amongst South Sudanese academics and researchers

2. What is your role in the Forum?

I chair the management board of the Forum. The management board is responsible for steering the organization towards achieving its vision, mission, and goals.

3. What are challenges facing South Sudan now in nation building?

The challenges are too many to count. They can be overwhelming. They include provision fixing of the economy, provision of security and ensuring rule of law and basic freedoms, cultivating a culture of respect for human rights, provision of basic services such as safe drinking water, health,  education, food security, electricity and good transportation infrastructure.

4. Can you outline key national development priorities for South Sudan and how do you think the civil society can meaningfully engage with government in its implementation strategies.

Top of our agenda should be education (general, technical-vocational, and higher education), development of agriculture and alternative sources of energy, getting to grip with managing of oil sector ensuring its sustainability as a source of funding other economic sectors, and building communications and road infrastructure. Civil society groups are well informed voices of the citizens and the government should strive to consult with civil society when designing policies and strategies in order to ensure that the adopted policies are improved and have the best chance of success and making a difference in people’s lives.

5. How do think the digest can relate or partner with the forum in future

We are co-partners in advocacy for good governance and it is possible to organize events or carry out joint projects in civic education. Whether we are talking about economic development or human rights, those values need to be cultivated slowly through civic education. There is an enormous task in our hands to build cultures and values that will underpin the formation of a viable, prosperous, and peaceful state in South Sudan. That will take time, but we need to begin now.

12. Civil Society in South Sudan: Position, limitations and role in nation building

December 2011

Introduction

On November 19, 2004, the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A signed a declaration committing themselves to conclude a final comprehensive peace agreement by 31 December 2004, in the context of an extraordinary session organised by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in Nairobi, Kenya.

The UNSC unanimously adopted Resolution 1574, which welcomed the commitment of the government and the SPLM/A to achieve an agreement by the end of 2004, and underscored the intention of the international community to assist the Sudanese people and support the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement. In keeping with their commitment to the UNSC, the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A completed the final elements of the comprehensive agreement on December 31, 2004. The two parties formally signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on January 9, 2005. The civil society and the international community regarded this as a historic landmark and a decisive step forward towards peace in Sudan and the Great Lakes region.

The 2005 CPA established a new Government of National Unity and the interim Government of Southern Sudan, and called for wealth-sharing, power-sharing, and security arrangements between the two parties as well as a ceasefire, withdrawal of troops from southern Sudan and the repatriation and resettlement of refugees.

The CPA also stipulated that by the end of the fourth year of an interim period, elections would be held at all levels, including for the national and South Sudanese presidency, state governorship and for the state legislatures. These elections were held in April 2010. It also stipulated that there would be a census and a referendum for self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan.

The implementation of the CPA was an uphill task, a task that required strong commitments from all its guarantors, the civil society and the citizens. However, despite all of the challenges, the implementation came to an end through the referendum; the South seceded through a landslide victory, giving birth to the Republic of South Sudan on July 9th 2011.

The formation of the Republic of South Sudan as Africa’s 55th state marked the culmination of one of Africa’s most successful peace processes. In part, such success is attributable to the efforts of Africa collaborating with partners to end the North-South conflict in Sudan through negotiation within the framework of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). One of such crucial partners was the civil society in the diaspora, who participated in extensive advocacy and lobbying, leading to the signing of the CPA in 2005.

Pre-Independence Era – Civil Society in the diaspora and the great trek home

Upon returning from the diaspora in 2005, the civil society continued to advocate and lobby for the implementation of the CPA by both parties; SPLM and NCP. However, numerous challenges were encountered, one of which was the absorption of the members of civil society into the government. While there was still need for a credible and principled civil society, the South Sudanese felt that they should be part of the formation of the new Government of South Sudan (GoSS). However, this created a vacuum and the remaining civil society organizations were left in disarray. It was during this time that Justice Africa began to carry out consultations to ascertain how best the South Sudanese civil society could be supported to meaningfully contribute to the social political transformation in South Sudan. At this point, key political events crucial in the implementation of the CPA were underway; the census, elections and referendum, all of which required a vibrant civil society in order for them to take place in a timely and credible manner.

When the time came to register the national population and housing census, civil society played a great role by encouraging wide civic education on the importance of the census and the participation of the citizens. However, disagreements concerning the number of IDPs and the diaspora population lead to the census results being contested by the GoSS, claiming that the results were manipulated to portray the size of the population of South Sudan as much smaller than expected.[49] Accordingly, the GoSS threatened to reject the findings. The census was crucial for many citizens as it would reveal the population of South Sudan for the very first time. The outcome of the results was deemed to be of great practical purpose as it could be used  to reflect the number of voters eligible to participate in the elections and the referendum. The outcome of the census would also assist the GoSS with development strategy and planning.

Once again, negotiations were, facilitated by several international partners and the civil society with the aim of settling the issue amicably, because without the census, there would be no election or referendum. Through the advocacy and lobbying efforts of the civil society for a peaceful resolution, both parties of the CPA accepted the census results with the focus now turning to the upcoming elections and referendum.

The 2010 Sudan Elections and the Referendum in 2011

Elections came, and once again the civil society played a vital role in civic education and advocacy, enabling the election to be described by many as free and fair, despite logistical constraints.

Immediately after elections, attention was shifted to the referendum of self-determination for South Sudan that took place on 9th January 2011. This referendum would result in the unity of Sudan or the independence of South Sudan.

The period between the elections and the referendum was characterised by numerous deadlocks between the main guarantors of the CPA; the SPLM and NCP. One of such was concerning the forthcoming referendum. In accordance with the agreements signed during the CPA, the referendum was planned to take place on the 9th July. However, critics argued that a referendum on this date would not be feasible. Consequently, the GoSS pointed fingers at the North and accused her of attempting to deliberately delay the referendum.[50] After several negotiations both parties resolved the issue and continued with the referendum as scheduled in the CPA. The role of civil society both in advocating for a peaceful, credible process was crucial at this stage.

Independence underway: the call for unity and CSO collective agenda

The success of the civil society advocacy initiatives during the pre-independence era, despite the significant challenges it faced, can mainly be attributed to the coalition building that provided CSOs with flexible technical facilitation.

It was during this time that civil society decided to come together to lay down a collective agenda, that would be the basis of constructive engagements in new social dispensation in South Sudan. This idea for unification was suggested as the nation was moving towards independence and citizens were becoming increasingly concerned with the shape that their government was going to take and how it would perform. The initiative for a collective CSO approach is believed to have been catalysed by the GoSS’s performance during the pre-independence era, which was blighted by graft, poor policies, tribalism and nepotism.  The initiative led to the first Civil Society Convention that was held in July 2011 immediately after independence. This convention sought to deliberate on the following issues (i) analysis of South Sudanese civil society and civil society as a concept in general; (ii) challenges and needs of South Sudan as an independent state; and (iii) the role and relations of South Sudanese civil society. One of the major outcomes of the convention was the formation of the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance that will act as a mandate to voice the concerns of South Sudanese citizens, guided by a common vision and mission.[51]

The Republic of South Sudan and the next steps for Civil Society

Though widely celebrated, the independence of South Sudan on 9th July was also seen by many as merely the beginning of a much more difficult process of building a peaceful, stable and prosperous state. One of the most serious challenges facing Africa’s newest state is the consolidation of its peace and security, corruption and human rights abuse issues.

The roles and key areas of advocacy, especially in the transition of the Republic of South Sudan, are discussed as follows;

1. Working to Promote Zero Tolerance to Tribalism, Nepotism and Corruption

The civil society of South Sudan call on South Sudanese people to reject tribalism, nepotism and corruption. The government and its citizens should put policies and laws in place that discourage their use.

The civil society acknowledges that tribalism exists in every society and can only be effectively eliminated by reason, not law. Corruption and nepotism are affected by tribalism. Corruption is more than bribery or embezzlement of funds; it includes abuse of power or authority for private gain. Civil society urges that the appointment of people to public positions based on familial or other ties is also corruption; appointments to all positions should be based on merit.

2. Promoting Zero Tolerance for Violence as a Political Means and to ensure that Elected Governments are Upheld 

Civil society has repeatedly called on the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan to exhibit zero tolerance for violence as a political means and ensure that elected governments are upheld. It further urges the new government to use consultation and dialogue as an alternative means of resolving conflicts.

The civil society recognises that civilised life requires restrain and self-control. Conflicts should be solved through dialogues, deliberation, debates or litigation. There must be zero tolerance for the use, threat or incitement of violence as a political means, regardless of circumstance or subject matter. The threat of political violence is greatest when political elites resort to means other than elections to attain power. Democracy is the only guarantee for political stability and peace. Politicians and political parties must therefore do their best to win elections honestly, not usurping power after elections. Otherwise, democratic breakdown may lead to coups or revolutions.

3. Promoting Free Expression and Association and Peaceful Assembly

The civil society call on the Republic of South Sudan and all its citizens to demonstrate its commitment to civil and political rights and freedoms. The CSOs have asked the new government to make a bold step and publicly affirm its commitment to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, including membership in any political party.

They further declare that a state which monopolises the legitimate use of violence should exist only to protect citizens from private violence, not to inflict violence. The state’s coercive power therefore must never be used against peaceful political activities. Instead, the state has the duty to protect political participation.

The civil society have also called on the government to end arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists, activists and political opponent to the SPLM. They urge for detainees to be released or charged with a recognisable criminal offence. CSOs call upon the government to enact media laws that guarantee freedom of expression and media freedom in accordance with internationally accepted standards.

4. The Civil Society Role in Promoting Transparency, Accountability and Inclusively

The South Sudan civil society have also repeatedly called upon all citizens and the Government of Republic of South Sudan to create a collective responsibility in ensuring that public resources, revenues from natural resources, aid money, donations and grants are effectively managed to the benefit of all citizens. They encourage the new government to involve its citizens in all decision making processes.

South Sudan CSOs acknowledge that one of the biggest challenges faced by the GOSS in the CPA era was the management of public resources and revenues from natural resources. The GoSS encountered criticism on public expenditure and corruption that led to a loss of millions of dollars that would have been used to improve or provide basic services. Furthermore, natural resource-related issues have been significant drivers of conflict and instability in Sudan. Unequal access to the country’s natural resource wealth has frequently been central to the marginalisation of Sudan’s peripheral regions.

This means that the Republic of South Sudan should put in place robust measures to ensure transparency, accountability and an all-inclusive approach in decision making processes.

CSOs in this regard want to work hard to ensure that the Republic of South Sudan effectively manages foreign aid monies, donations, grants and revenues accruing from its vast natural resources, especially oil and gas, to extend sustained basic services to its citizens.

 5. Protection of the Rights of Women, Girls and Persons with Disability

Again, the civil society in South Sudan are already working to see that the new government and its citizens declare zero tolerance for sexual and gender based violence. The civil society call on the Republic of South Sudan to demonstrate commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls by publicly denouncing early and forced marriage as well as developing a national strategy to address the problem.

CSOs advise that the Republic of South Sudan immediately ratify the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), and use them as guidance in drafting the new Constitution and other laws to promote gender equality.

The new nation must accelerate programs to educate men, women and children, as well as traditional authorities on the legal rights of women and girls under Sudanese and applicable international laws. The Ministry of Gender and Social Affairs should have adequate resources for such promotion and protection activities.

6.  Violence in Abyei, Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Rights of Citizens of South Sudan living in North Sudan

The South Sudan civil society have also consistently asked the two signatory parties of the CPA to respect and protect human rights in their regions. Of great concern is the killings, rape and dropping of bombs in the civilian communities of the Kordofan and Blue Nile regions.  CSOs call upon the two parties to adhere to the Addis Ababa Accord and other deliberations that promote and contribute to lasting peace in the region.

Civil society continues to advise the NCP and SPLM, the international community and other parties to expeditiously work on the pending issues of the CPA, notably the issues of Abyei and the North-South border, and to bring the popular consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states to their logical conclusions. But even as these parties await the process, the citizens in the three regions and the South Sudanese living in North Sudan must be guaranteed a right to life and access to all necessary basic services by both parties.

Challenges and limitations encountered by civil society are mainly characterised by the following; limited capacity, poor organisational management, lack of consolidated thematic constituencies, research capacities, inadequate strategic advocacy and lobby techniques, insufficient cohesion, project driven constituencies, legitimacy and limited CSO coverage.

The implications of the challenges and limitations outlined above mean that any technical facilitation and support to the South Sudan Civil Society shall focus mainly on the following:

  • Consensus Building: Organising meetings, consultations, dialogues and conferences on relevant emerging issues to harmonise the various positions of civil society.
  • Research: Solid, forward-looking research on issues of concern (governance, security, human rights, peace etc.) that will provide a platform for informed public debate and advocacy.
  • Policy Inputs: Organising an interface with stakeholders (government, parliament, companies, donor agencies, etc.) to have input on the ongoing national plan of action for development and service delivery.
  • Capacity building: Workshops and seminars to share knowledge within civil society and campaign skills to build leadership and research excellence.
  • Information sharing: Setting up a mechanism for ongoing sharing and dissemination of information on governance, development and service provision.
  • Campaigns: Engaging citizens in the management of the oil industry, the environment and oil revenues and relaying their views to stakeholders.
  • Publications: Publishing recommendations and policy positions of the platform through mass media.

Conclusion

It is evident now that several CSO initiatives are underway in South Sudan to try and address the issues outlined above; however, these initiatives will also require a level of commitment from civil society, the government, citizens and international partners.

The civil society have declared they will continue to generate public debate on issues of concern to citizens of this nation, and to prepare the larger South Sudanese community to exercise perpetual vigilance on issues of governance, democracy, rule of law, justice and equality. They also vow to expose potential abuses that have the tendency of undermining the spirit and practice of good governance and democracy.

In doing this, the civil society will have to join hands with other civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, community-based NGOs, International Aid agencies and development partners to ensure that there is a collective resolve to protect their national interest. To do this effectively; governments, parliament and the executive must limit discretion to the minimum extent possible and provide a transparent and accountable government with clear rules, regulatory certainty and avenues for public engagement in all sectors of government. The civil society therefore call on the general public to make their voices heard as parliament begins to draft  the Permanent  Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan that will define their  development path for the next twenty years and beyond. The  civil society have promised to make phone calls to members of parliament, write letters and hold meetings with them to stress the demand for transparency and accountability in the government of the Republic of South Sudan.

Written By:

Benjamin Ochiengh, Coordinator Support to South Sudan Civil Society Support Program

Email: ben@justiceafrica.org, bocheingh@gmail.com

Justice Africa, Juba Office

 

Edited By: Nina M. Dehghan

& Michelle Madden

Justice Africa, London Office

 

References

http://www.smallarmssurveysudan.org/publications-juba-workshop-statement.html.

www.theafricareport.com/index.php/2011111050174884/east-horn-africa/south-sudan-underfire-over-journalist-s-arrest-50174884.html

http://www.iss.co.za/uploads/No25Aug2011.pdf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-10806490

http://www.sudantribune.com/South-Sudan-parliament-throw-outs,31746


[15] Doctors Without Borders, http://reliefweb.int/node/462694

 

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