May 9, 2014 (SSNA) — The South Sudan Women Cry for Peace Group have been following the unfortunate events that unfolded on the 15th of December 2013 with sadness. To that effect the group was established in January 2014 and thereafter released two statements dated the 7th of January and the 21st of February 2014 respectively. The first statement contributed significantly to the cessation of hostilities draft and the second called for a renewed commitment to the cessation of hostilities agreement, including the release of the remaining four in detention and Hon. Dr. Adwok Nyaba. We are grateful for the release of the four detainees and will continue to call for the government to lift the travel ban on Hon. Dr. Adwok Nyaba to allow him participate in the ongoing negotiations in Addis and/or undertake his personal needs as desired.
Addressing the key leaders in this crisis ahead of the Friday 9th May crucial meeting, we take the opportunity to brief H.E. the President, the leader of the SPLM-OP and the international community on the South Sudan Women Cry for Peace position on the way forward. The aim/ objective of this position is to achieve the following goals:
1. Stop the killings and revenge killings of innocent civilians caught up in the ethnic conflict.
2. Create space for the urgently needed humanitarian response for the victims of this crisis.
3. Create a conducive environment for an effective reconciliation process among the people of
4. Take the country back on the right path, the path to unity, equal distribution of wealth and livelihoods opportunities; accessible and trusted justice system; inclusive and representative political system; and an independent (of politics and tribalism), professional, efficient and structured military and paramilitary structures, among others.
5. Ensure the factors that led to this crisis are addressed in a conclusive and sustainable manner to avoid a repeat of a similar experience in the future.
With this in mind, we believe a return to basics is necessary, to undo the factors that led to the crisis, and recommend the following as immediate steps to be agreed by the two leaders with the support of the international community:
A. Dissolve the current government, including the parliament, independent commissions and set up a transitional government that does not include H.E. the President, the leader of the SPLMOP, the current cabinet Ministers in government, members of the mediating delegations on both sides, as well as former senior government officials since the independence of South Sudan, so as to create a neutral space for reconciliation, an important pre-requisite for peace.
B. Establish a transitional government with lean structures mainly led by experienced local/national technocrats (representative of the Country) in partnership with the United Nations.
C. Task the transitional government with a consultation process throughout South Sudan, to ensure all citizens voice their frustrations and contribute to the solutions to issues that led to thecrisis. Their contributions should be factored into the wider mandate of the transitionalgovernment and inform the reconciliation process.
D. Agree on an initial mandate for the transitional government to include: disarmament and military restructuring/trauma counselling and reconciliation/reconstruction of basic infrastructure/re-establishing basic services and strengthening livelihood opportunities/reestablishing a transparent electoral system and reviewing political party registration rules and conditions, (each of these areas can be fleshed out with the help of the respective technocrats) and a final draft can be finalised once contribution of citizens are synthesised.
E. Agree on a duration for the transitional period, and here we recommend a minimum period of two years, with the first year fully concentrating on programmes that strengthen reconciliation, healing and restoration of livelihoods among all people of South Sudan.
F. During the two years of transitional government, agree on a process for political party regulations review, taking into consideration factors within the SPLM that led to the currentcrisis and the factors that have strangled the emergence of a strong opposition party, a necessityfor democracy. The two year period will also be essential for new and existing political partiesto re-establish their identity as necessary and prepare for re-registration based on newregulations agreed, and election campaign.
G. Certain pre-agreed essential agreements with other Countries, such as the oil agreement with Sudan should continue as it stands, to ensure revenues derived from the oil continue to be the main source of revenues required for the transitional programme.
H. In addition to the mandate recommended above, the transitional government should be mandated to re-activate a joint human rights investigation team that includes the Human Rights Watch INGO, the UN Human Rights group, the AU Human Rights Committee and a local Human rights team, to work together in the investigation of atrocities committed as of the 15th of December 2013, for increased trust in the reconciliation process. The findings should be shared widely and inform both the reconciliation process as well as recommendations to ensure the experience never repeats itself in future.
I. A comprehensive reconciliations process should be determined in consultation with the victims in South Sudan and informed by the HR investigation findings that include among others access to the findings of the HR investigation, a compensation package, comprehensive support for return and resettlement of refugees and the internally displaced citizens; Country wide disarmament; trauma counselling for both the victims and the combats, a forum for dialogue between the most affected ethnic groups as well as among all citizens in the Country.
The SSWCFP group believes reconciliation is a pre-condition for sustainable stability in the Country and therefore should be mainstreamed sufficiently into the ‘road map’ to sustainable peace and stability in South Sudan. As such the recommendations above are all geared towards creating the right environment for an effective and efficient reconciliation process among the people of South Sudan. The SSWCFP also believe that short-cuts to ending this crisis will only create a temporary solution and we strongly advice that this is avoided at all costs. Efforts of all stakeholders should be geared towards a permanent solution for all disgruntled groups in South Sudan.
Signed: South Sudan Women Cry for Peace