January 7, 2014 (SSNA) — We the South Sudanese women in different parts of the world, from all ethnicities and walks of life, brought together by the unfortunate events of the last three (3) weeks, dismayed by the continued deaths and displacement of innocent civilians, concerned by the increasing suffering of vulnerable affected groups especially women and children,aware of our collective failures as a people that has brought about the current unfortunate crisis, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our fallen heroes not so long ago, and guided by the principles of unity and humanity that will lead us back on the path of justice, transparency, accountability, hope, love, forgiveness, healing, and celebration of our diversity, culture and history; stand together as mothers, sisters, and daughters of South Sudan, in a desperate call for an end to the current deaths, displacement and suffering of our people.
At this juncture, we take the opportunity to:
i. Appreciate the efforts of IGAD and the international community in initiating the Addis talks, as of the 4th of January 2014, but note the slow progress in getting the parties to agree on cessation of hostilities as a matter of urgency;
ii. Welcome the AUʼs stand as stated in the AU Peace and Security Council Chairperson Report of the 30th December 2013, on the situation in South Sudan, particularly the appeal for immediate cessation of hostilities as a sign of commitment and stressing “.. the urgent imperative of an inclusive dialogue among all concerned stakeholders based on the rejection of the use of force, respect for human rights and dignity, the rule of law and constitutional legality”. (see articles 24 of the report);
iii. Acknowledge the bilateral and multilateral efforts for the release of the political detainees and cessation of hostilities, noting that over 1000 people have died and over 180,000 displaced as a result of this crisis.
As we continue to mourn the loss of our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters who have died a senseless death; dreading the unceasing suffering of those faced with displacement, separation, violence, hatred, uncertainty, fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones; troubled by the slow progress of the negotiations in Addis for cessation of hostilities to put an immediate stop to the bloodletting; concerned by the rhetoric of hostility and use of military force uttered by our leaders and member states in the region; worried about the fate of those affected and displaced given reports by the UN that relief is quickly running out; faced with the increasing fear of uncertainty for the countryʼs future, we the South Sudanese Women call upon:
Our leaders on both sides of the conflict, to show true leadership in stopping the bloodletting and displacement of innocent civilians, bringing a swift end to the current crisis through honest and sincere dialogue, refraining from hostile rhetoric and cynicism against each other, making the necessary compromises while upholding the true principles of democracy, freedom and equal opportunities, for the greater good of the people of South Sudan;
Our President, H.E. Salva Kirr Mayardit to stop the ongoing killings in Juba and accelerate the release of political detainees.
The international community and friends of South Sudan, most notably IGAD, the AUSC, the UNSC, the Troika member states, China and Sudan to step-up their efforts through:
i. Understanding the urgency in resolving the crisis. In this regard we call for the increased role of the African Union in the mediation efforts for a swift agreement to cessation of hostilities so as to end the bloodletting and displacement of civilians;
ii. Provision of relief and humanitarian assistance to the affected populations wherever they are, prioritizing vulnerable groups namely children, expecting and lactating women, the physically disabled, the elderly and the chronically and severely ill.
iii. Immediate deployment of an additional well equipped 5,000 UN police and peace keeping personnel for the protection of civilians and monitoring of human rights atrocities and the cease fire modalities to be agreed;
iv. Refraining from, and condemning the use of military force, or any such rhetoric that may aggravate the situation further by any member of the Region and/or friends of South Sudan, and stick to the path of peaceful negotiations; In this spirit we deplore the continued presence of Ugandan troops in South Sudan and demand their immediate withdrawal in the interest of restoring trust in the IGAD efforts.
We also call upon the youth and communities of South Sudan, in and outside the Country, to take the moral high ground and promote a peaceful solution to the current crisis, understanding that as one people our individual freedom depends on the freedom of our country men and women; that it is in such testing times that showing unity across ethnic borders makes us stronger as a people; and that it is the sum of all individuals in our nation that defines us as South Sudanese.
As a nation of significant wealth and a proud and dignified people, we appeal to all concerned to step up efforts to reverse the current situation and ensure a return to peace and stability in this new nation.
God bless our Country, its leaders and its people.