Addis Ababa, June 18, 2014 (SSNA) — We the Consortium of External Civil Society Organisations of South Sudan (CECSOSS) are extremely disappointed with the delay of the critical phase of this round of peace talks, that should lead to an end to the senseless suffering and deaths of innocent civilians, and provide space to address the eminent famine. We particularly deplore the very issue which contributed to this unfortunate situation, the lack of transparency, that has marred the initially good gesture by IGAD of including all stakeholders.
The Consortium of External Civil Society Organisations of South Sudan (CECSOSS) represents forty two (42) South Sudanese organisations registered in South Sudan, but currently operating outside Juba due to the crisis that started on December 15, 2013. It is worth mentioning that individual groups within this consortium have been separately engaging with the IGAD Special Envoys on the peace process, since the beginning of the crisis.
It is worth noting that the consortium has not been represented among the civil society peace delegates from Juba, despite efforts to directly get in touch with IGAD on the issue, as per our letter to Amb. Mesfin Seyoum dated June 6, 2014. Neither have we received any response from his office to date, and as a result, the consortium representatives missed the symposium.
In the effort to participate in this key point of the process, the round table peace talks that was scheduled for June 12, we the selected representatives of the consortium made our way to Addis on June 10 and requested a meeting with the IGAD Special Envoys on participation in the round talks, but are yet to secure an audience with them.
We are greatly concerned that the civil society representatives from Juba do not sufficiently include the representation of vulnerable groups directly affected by the conflict (refugees, internally displaced persons and the persons with special needs). It is therefore unfortunate that the very population directly affected by this conflict are not represented in the selected CS delegates.
We therefore call for:
1. A transparent process of re-selection of civil society delegates to the round table peace talks to be undertaken immediately, and should include those representing the communities directly affected by the conflict. As most of these groups are already here in Addis, this should not take more than a couple of hours.
2. An immediate resumption of the talks, and in this regard we strongly feel that the current mediators are challenged. Hence we strongly believe including a female member to the three-man team of IGAD Special Envoys is necessary, and will change the staled dynamics of the talks here in Addis. We recommend African women who have successful experiences in similar peace processes, to join the peace talks with immediate effect.
Consortium of External Civil Society Organisations of South Sudan