JPI Workshop Communique
January 23, 2012 (SSNA) — Washington, D.C. – Twenty-five South Sudanese Diaspora community leaders from across North America, including both Canada and the USA, gathered in Washington, DC January 21-22, 2012 and focused on helping bring peace to their native state of Jonglei in the new country of the Republic of South Sudan. We are known as the Jonglei Peace Initiative (JPI) and include men and women from the Anyuak, Nuer, Murle, and Dinka people. Officials from the Embassy of South Sudan and international resource people joined us. We have agreed to call ourselves JPI — USA.
After two days of deliberation, assessing the current context, and exploring ways to contribute toward a sustainable peace in Jonglei state and South Sudan, we issue the following:
WE CONCLUDED that the urgency and risk in Jonglei and South Sudan is extremely high and has the potential to:
1. Further entrench tribal tensions that are counterproductive to building the world’s newest nation.
2. Continue to result in the death and injury of innocent South Sudanese, including women and children.
3. Undermine the future of the new country of South Sudan and its economy by deterring investors and making peace through development impossible.
4. Create food insecurity by endangering farmers, cattle raisers and supply chains.
WE CALL for:
1. The Government of South Sudan, making use of its military and police and working in conjunction with the UNIMISS peacekeepers, to immediately create a disengagement and separation between fighting forces between tribal groups in Jonglei state and to assure all communities and citizens that they will be protected by the Government of South Sudan through the establishment of buffer zones and water points.
2. The youth warriors to immediately end all raiding, abductions, violence and destruction of their neighbors and their neighbors’ properties and return to their own lands so that a legitimate peace process can be initiated.
3. The placement of military and police forces near the water and toich lands of Jonglei to insure that renewed conflicts will not be allowed to escalate during the dry season and to provide a ceasefire environment that can create an opportunity for community leaders to mobilize people for a just and sustainable peace.
4. The President and Commander-in-Chief of South Sudan to make it clear that there will be strict military discipline and action will be taken against any deserters from the SPLA who seek to use their weapons to join raiding parties from their tribes in attacks on neighbors or who join militias which fight against the Government of South Sudan.
5. The UNIMISS forces, in their international mandate to protect civilians, be diligent in investigating any violent communal raids, gather credible evidence on the violations and violators, and turn that evidence over to the justice system of both the State and National governments of South Sudan for action so that the current environment of impunity can be transformed toward the rule of law and justice for all.
6. The full engagement in peace promotion of those who carry moral authority within all the Jonglei communities, including church leaders, chiefs, elders, women’s leaders, and youth leaders who are committed to peace. And the full engagement of the Sudanese Diaspora in supporting a just and lasting peace in Jonglei and South Sudan.
7. The full support of the international community and non-government organizations in:
a. Relieving the suffering of the people of Jonglei who are in the midst of a humanitarian disaster caused by the cycles of conflict and revenge, and
b. Funding, facilitating and supporting community, youth and government leaders who provide leadership for the communal peace process that must be comprehensive and must be fully implemented after it is agreed upon in conference.
8. The immediate planning of international donors and investors to be ready to work with communities for sustained development of all Jonglei communities, including roads and infrastructure, economic development, food and water resource management, the education of children, youth and adults, job creation, and the institution of good governance that includes the administration of the rule of law.
9. Since most of us are dual citizens of both the USA and Republic of South Sudan, we call on the law enforcement agencies of the USA to fully investigate and apply the laws of the USA to any situation where fundraising efforts may be done by individuals living in the US for the purposes of supporting tribal raids that result in terror for citizens in South Sudan and could even be supportive of genocide.
WE COMMIT to the following as the Jonglei Peace Initiative (JPI – USA):
1. We will stand against any individual Sudanese American who issues statements on the Internet claiming to represent whole communities and calling for conflict rather than working for peace. If those individuals violate any laws in the USA or Canada, we will support the effort of law enforcement agencies to uphold the laws, and we will personally seek to bring community pressure against such individuals while inviting them to turn from their ways and join the peace and reconciliation process.
2. We will send some of our own leaders during the coming months to Jonglei to work for peace among the youth and communities. We will go to the cattle camps to be with the youth. We will work with chiefs, elders, church leaders, and women’s leaders to teach, preach, and advocate for peace, to listen to the stories of pain, to identify the issues that must be resolved for a just peace to be established, and to identify the long term development opportunities that can be the basis of a sustainable peace.
3. We will work with any and every agency of government, church, civil society and NGOS in South Sudan to help coordinate a peace process at both the communal and state levels that will lead within 2012 to a just peace, established by the communities themselves using our traditions, methodologies and rituals, and that can be implemented and sustained so that Jonglei will be ready for a major peace through development initiative.
4. We will work within the Sudanese diaspora, especially those who are from the state of Jonglei, to keep them informed of what is happening on the ground, to mobilize them for support of a just peace for all tribes in Jonglei, and to build support for investors and international donors to help the citizens of Jonglei to build peace through development that gives hope for all our communities, both now and in the years to come.
5. Once a stable ceasefire is in place, protective forces are insuring the security of the communities, and a communal peace process is established, we will support the mobilization of all the communities of Jonglei to warehouse their weapons in government or UN managed armories so that the destruction that our communities have experienced will become a thing of the past.
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