Archive for: February 2018

Latest Report: Half of South Sudanese hungry, as famine looms again

BY: AFP, FEB/27/2018, SSN;

Nearly half of the population in war-torn South Sudan is experiencing extreme hunger, with many more set to run out of food as famine looms, government and UN agencies said Monday.

A year after South Sudan became the first country in six years to experience famine, due to a drawn out civil war, its National Bureau of Statistics warned that 40 percent more people were going hungry this year, even before the lean season sets in.

The state bureau said in a statement that in January 5.3 million people, representing 48 percent of the population, were facing acute food insecurity.

In 2017 some 100,000 people were affected by a famine — meaning people started dying due to lack of food. It was declared over in June.

“Improved access and a massive humanitarian response succeeded in containing and averting famine later last year.

Despite this, the food insecurity outlook has never been so dire as it is now,” said a joint statement from three United Nations aid agencies.

Four years of civil war have devastated agriculture, while prices have soared and rains have also been unreliable.

The country has also been hit by crop-destroying armyworm caterpillars.

“The situation is deteriorating with each year of conflict as more people lose the little they had.

We are alarmed as the lean season when the harvest runs out is expected to start this year much earlier than usual,” said Adnan Khan, World Food Programme (WFP) country director.

The statistics bureau and aid agencies warned that if humanitarian assistance was not stepped up, more than seven million people could become food insecure — two thirds of the population.

Eleven counties are at risk of famine. Without assistance, as of May, more than 1.3 million children under five will be at risk of acute malnutrition.

Allain Noudehou, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, told a press conference that only 5.5 percent of $1.7 billion (1.3 billion euros) in aid needed in 2018 had been received.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, was engulfed by civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his rival and former deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup against him.

Violence — initially between ethnic Dinka supporters of Kiir and ethnic Nuer supporters of Machar — has since spread to other parts of the country, engulfing other ethnic groups.

The last ceasefire, signed in December, was broken within hours while the latest round of peace talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa have stalled.

South Sudan: Why The AU/UN should impose Peace

By Joseph Oreste Odhok, South Sudan, FEB/27/2018, SSN;

The failure of the opposition groups and the government to reach an agreement at the second round of “High Level Revitalization Forum” has dashed the hopes and yearning for peace of the downtrodden people of South Sudan.

The Kiir Government and the opposition groups seemed to be more focused on trivial matters of power-sharing and securing the ratio each group would have than concentrating efforts on addressing the root causes of the conflict.

Alas! IGAD mediation team seems to pursue the same narrow and individualistic interest agenda. For what is that proposal to create four positions of presidential aides if it is not a mockery?

It is insanity to think that by dividing power among the very people who have brought the country to where it is now would bring peace.

South Sudanese are awakening from their deep sleep and are beginning to realize that they aren’t genuinely being represented in the peace talks.

A couple of days ago, I was almost chocked to hear a women representative to the peace talks saying over the national TV that they have agreed to raise women representation quota to 35%; what an idiot! Did they go there to divide positions or to bring peace?

It appears the next round of peace talks is unlikely to reach any peace deal given the implicit intention of the government to obstruct mediators effort to conclude a just peace agreement.

This intended obstruction could be seen in the constitution of the government negotiating team to the peace talks which include some individuals who are morally bankrupt and well known for their violation of peace and disrespect to humanitarian actors.

President Kiir is deeply sunk to the neck in the blood of innocent citizens of the country and there is nothing he can do that will reparate the damage caused.

He would not venture any peace deal that enshrines in its provisions an article for “Accountability and justice” which he deems as a threat not only to his generals but also to himself.

Despite mounting pressure by the AU/UN, the Troika Countries and the unilateral punitive measures —targeted sanctions against corrupt individuals & arms embargo— imposed by the US on the warring parties to make peace, President Kiir stubbornly continues to defy the call for a genuine and sustainable peace deal.

He wants the peace that is dictated on his terms or else he would impose it militarily. He wants mediators out of the peace process.

And as long as he continues to get support from some unscrupulous leaders of the regional bloc (IGAD) and also from the Northern Africa State which is tacitly planning to use South Sudan territories to fight its proxy war.

To that end, President Kiir is preparing to launch an overall military offensive aimed at capturing the remaining territories under the occupation of SPLA–IO’s Riak faction and also those under the other armed groups and consequently declare the country purportedly free of rebellion.

What Kind of Peace does South Sudan need?

“The oppressors, who oppress, exploit and rape by virtue of their power; cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves,” writes Paulo Freire.

It is now clear that Salva Kiir is not ready to relinquish power any time soon. His maintaining of the status quo will surely exacerbate the suffering of the people and ultimately drive them out of the country to take refuge in the neighbouring countries as the war drags on.

South Sudan needs peace. It needs peace now and not tomorrow. It needs peace that endures not peace that will be breached within hours.

It needs sustainable peace, where individuals accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity are held accountable.

Peace that restores stability to the country and mends the social fabric so that different ethnicities will be able to coexist once again and rebuild their lives.

Peace that makes every South Sudanese feel secured and their properties protected.

Peace of equal justice to all and above all peace that makes the political and security leaders accountable to the citizens.

As stated in the above quote by Friere, this quote applies to Mr. Kiir and his cronies and to lesser extent to his former deputy and hence makes both of them unfit to partake in the negotiations.

It equally disqualifies them from being partners in the transitional government that will implement the agreement and lead the country to the general elections by the end of the transitional period.

As Dr. Riek is already under house confinement, Kiir should quit and be given safe exit or else he should be ejected by any available means.

The people of South Sudan have suffered for so long. They’ve had enough!

The AU/UN are under moral obligation and also duty bound to act in the interest of the innocent citizens of South Sudan and also to maintain regional security and international peace.

UN accuses 40 South Sudanese SPLA generals of war crimes

BY: Mansuru NYALAZIRI, Eyeradio.org, FEB/23/2018, SSN;

UN Human Rights Commission says it has collected evidence to hold more than 40 South Sudanese officials accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On Friday, the Commission released its first report since it was mandated by the Human Rights Council.

It is mandate was to collect and preserve evidence for use in the Hybrid Court and other accountability mechanisms agreed under the 2015 peace agreement.

In the 58,000-page document, the Commission has already identified 8 Lieutenant Generals, 17 Major-Generals, 8 Brigadier Generals, 5 Colonels and 3 State Governors who may bear individual responsibility for serious violations of human rights and international crimes.

“We not only looked at the incidents or events that occurred, but we also collected evidence which looked at the patterns in conducts, the question of command structures, those individuals who were in command and control,” Yasmin Sooka, the Chairperson of the Commission told Eye Radio via telephone from Nairobi.

“On the basis of that, you actually begin to identify those who, in fact, were in those structures.”

Last year, the UN commission said the AU was making itself complicit in South Sudan’s bloodshed by failing to set up the court.

It called the AU again today for the court to be established.

EYERADIO.org

Pres. Kiir, Resign as you’re unfit to lead South Sudan: Letter from Canon Clement Janda

Open Letter: General Salva Kiir Mayardit,
Presi.dent, The Republic of South Sudan
Juba, dated Feb/20/2018.

Dear General Kiir Mayardiit,

I greet you in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. On the occasion of this Lent season, I have chosen to communicate to you on the important issue of managing or Country.

As we are all aware, you have been our leader for 13 years, since July 2005,. As it is very clear, the country is worse off now than when you started.

There is no chance of the cuntry getting better than now as it’s descending deeper and deeper into the pit.

For this reason, I am appealing to your Christian conscience to do what brave leaders do just like President Zuma of South Africa did and the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

Please, my brother in Christ, RESIGN NOW AND LEAVE another South Sudanese to take oer the leadership of our Country.

I appeal to you not to listen to the likes of (ministers) Michael Makuei and Martin Lomoro, who would rather tell you “things are well” when in fact nothing is going right.

I wish to remind you that you have never enjoyed a cordial relationship with Dr. Riek Machar right from the beginning.

So, no miracles will happen to allow you share power with him. So both of you must give South Sudan the chance to move on without any of you.

Since in your scheme of mind, any appointment must be filled by thinking of a Dinka first, a Nuer second and may be a Chollo third, if only people like Natanial Oluak were alive.

(Do you recall a joke you told me in January 2010 at Yei Air Field, about appointment of a Commissioner for Abbiyei?

You said, “The Jallaba did not want a Dinka or a Nuer to head the Abbiyei Commission.”

If only Nathaniel Oluak were alive, they might consider a Collo! So, you asked me if I was the angel that the Jallaba would accept?!

Since therefore, any appointment must be given to a Dinka first, please pick a good and upright Dinka and hand the reign of power to him/her.

Please, do not give it to somebody who is anti-social, very selfish and is near you.

The world is watching to see whether you are capable of salvaging something of your legacy as the leader who brought independence to South Sudan.

But now is the time to give leadership to somebody who will bring peace and prosperity to South Sudan.

I trust that you can take that bold step during this Lent season of 2018.

Sincerely in Christ,

(Signed)
CANON CLEMENT JANDA
Comrade-at-Large

A Transitional Government without Kiir can’t avail peace in South Sudan

By: Taban Abel Aguek, Member of Parliament, FEB/22/2018, SSN;

As talks on the Revitalization of the Peace Agreement continue in Addis Ababa (which has collapsed), many suggestions are being put forth on ways and means to remedy the situation in South Sudan. The search for peace in South Sudan is good but it seems strange that, as we look for solutions to the conflict in South Sudan, we create more mistakes that tend to prolong war than avail peace.

In real essence, the Addis Ababa peace agreements seem to plant more recipes for war than avail complete cure for our problems.

“A new Transitional Government without President Salva Kiir is a farce; a mere fallacy devoid of reason and one that delivers no concrete solution to South Sudan’s conflict.”

In the first agreement there was an issue of two armies which later resulted in the Juba fight on 8th July, 2016.

Another new recipe for war again today is if IGAD accepts the demand by the opposition groups and one civil society organization called Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ) for President Salva Kiir Mayardit to be excluded in the new transitional government of South Sudan.

In the first place, I am one of the South Sudanese that did not support the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF), I was rather supporting the National Dialogue. In my opinion, the National Dialogue should first have given been a chance. If it fails, then we would be obliged to try the Revitalization of the 2015 Peace Agreement.

So I am one of the South Sudanese people who opposed the HLRF because I believe that, both legally and principally, there is a legitimate Peace Agreement already on the table. The Government in Juba was formed through the provisions (and is operating) using the same guidelines of the agreement that was signed by all parties and witnessed by all stakeholders, Troika included.

Some people won’t tell us directly but they seem to insinuate that Dr. Riek Machar is either synonymous with the agreement or he is the agreement himself. When Riek is not in government these people say that the peace agreement has collapsed. Yet, the same people who claim that the agreement has collapsed, the SPLM Former Detainees for instance, do still have their ministers even today in the Transitional Government of National Unity in Juba. That is what we call hypocrisy.

The other cheeky thing is that the same people who gave us the agreement now turn around to shift blame to the government on their own flaws in the agreement. The flaws we pointed out in the 2015 peace agreement which were actually published across all South Sudanese media were ignored. One such flaw was the issue of two armies in one country. More mistakes should be avoided now.

The South Sudan Peace Agreementof August 2015, clause 6.4 says that, “And in the event that the post of the First Vice President falls vacant during the Transitional Period, for any reason, including mental infirmity or physical incapacity of the office holder, the replacement shall be nominated by the unified ruling party. Such a process of nomination shall not exceed forty-eight (48) hours. The successor as the First Vice President shall serve in office until the end of the Transitional Period.”

After the J1 fight, President Salva Kiir on record went live on media calling on both sides to stop fighting and he specifically called on Dr Riek Machar to come to office. Dr Riek Machar, instead of heeding to such call, kept on fighting for another seventy-two hours until he and his forces had to be finally pushed out of Juba.

If Dr Riek had accepted the plea of the President to cease fighting and come to office, he would have stayed as the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan until today.

After long tireless efforts, there was nothing the Transitional Government could do otherr than ask the members of his party to sit and nominate another person in Riek’s place as provided for in the agreement. That is how Gen. Taban Deng Gai became the First Vice President of this country.

Again, records show that Gen. Taban has outwitted Dr Riek on many occasions. Each time Dr Riek stands up against Gen Taban, it is Taban that in the end laughs last and laughs best.

One recent example was when Dr Riek, as a sitting Vice President, supported his wife to be Governor of Unity State in 2010 against Gen Taban. Gen Taban did not only win against Dr Riek’s wife but in fact he wrestled control of Dr Riek’s home state. When some Riek –allied militias probed up against Taban in Bentiu, Taban ruthlessly squashed them into submission in a very short time.

By current standing, Gen. Taban Deng Gai has already taken with him more than half of the SPLM-IO rank and file members. Those who have remained in Dr. Riek’s war are a few students mainly in the diaspora and some remnants who have long become highway terrorists that deserve to be banned in the region and treated like Kony’s LRA.

The second reason why I don’t support the HLRF is that we need to discourage the politics of rebellion. South Sudanese want to use rebellions as means to get to political and military offices.

Now in South Sudan, if you have five loyal soldiers, you can kill five people on a highway, go to Addis Ababa peace talks after five days and all of a sudden you either an SPLA general or minister just in five days. That is why most rebel movements in our country are briefcase organizations.

Their stories are big, their atrocities are downplayed and the stakeholders continue to give them ground. That is why many South Sudanese accepted the Addis Ababa II, or call it the IGAD High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF).

If South Sudan government had rejected the Revitalization Forum of the peace agreement, it would have been easy to take it as being responsible for the continuity of war and suffering of the South Sudanese people. So, it went to such talks in good faith.

All in all, what we need in South Sudan is peace and stability. Period! Whichever way total peace can be achieved in this country, if it is through HLRF, so much the best.

But the problem now is that the highly proclaimed and the High Level Revitalization Forum is again trying to condone very useless demands, in fact untruthful demands, that may keep peace at bay for long time.

One of such demands by the opposition groups is that President Salva Kiir Mayradit be excluded from leading the proposed new Transitional Government. Another Human Rights Body, the Centre for Peace and Justice, had earlier suggested that both Kiir and Riek Machar be exempted from the transitional government.

According Radio Tamazuj, the opposition demand that Kiir be excluded from leading the transitional national government is that they accuse him of violating the 2015 peace accord. CPJ on the the other hand in a statement published by Sudan Tribune argues that “Experience shows that Kiir and Riek cannot work together,” asserting further that President Kiir attempted to kill Dr Riek twice.

Both arguments are not only incorrect but they are not practical in pursuing peace in the country. Regardless of all notoriety, propaganda and the games, the bottom line is: peace cannot be achieved at this time in this country without President Salva Kiir.

I still maintain that the 2015 peace agreement did not collapse. It is being revitalized at the request of rebels and pressure from Troika. The 2015 peace agreement faced major hiccups when Dr Riek’s soldiers in Juba were misled into thinking that they could overrun Juba.

But still there is no enough and convincing reason that President Kiir be excluded from leading the government. That could amount to nothing less but an organized coup, which is not acceptable in all terms.

Well, CPJ might be correct that it is difficult for President Kiir and Dr Riek to work together. But again it is not necessary that they work together. The rhetoric by Mr Tito Anthony published on Sudan Tribune that, Kiir tried to “assassinate Riek twice” is not only false but a scam designed to get his argument through.

President Kiir has had every chance, if he wanted, to kill Riek but he never wanted to kill Riek. The last fight in J1 sparked off by Riek’s soldiers can be the right example to use. After very intensive fight, Dr Rieks soldiers waned in the end but President Salva Kiir ordered his bodyguards not harm Dr Riek let alone kill him.

Dr Riek was escorted by Kiir’s bodyguards up to his residence in Jebel from which, without reciprocating the good deed, launched another brutal fight. The SPLA had no option left but to defend themselves, the country and the President.

If Dr Riek forces had captured J1, would one imagine Kiir being alive today? But there was Riek there without guards and Kiir protected him from his own angry bodyguards whose colleagues were killed.

Such a suggestion or call it a demand that a legitimately elected President be removed from power unconstitutionally is anti-peace. If such sentiments don’t stop then it’s our feeling that we as people of South Sudan to ask our delegates not to set foot in Addis Abba again.

Such suggestions once given room by IGAD may backfire in the very near future. IGAD leaders ought to be really careful. South African countries have developed a culture of overthrowing their leaders through army and/or party parliamentary caucuses. Our countries here in East Africa are trying to forge a way through which they can overthrow their elected leaders. We must try to avoid such ugly means of transfer of power.

President kiir is a validly elected President. One of the guys gunning for his seat today through the back door, Dr Lam Akol, only managed to garner less than 7% against Kiir in the 2010 general elections that were witnessed by UN and so many other global institutions.

Moreover, Kiir commands a large support in the ruling party, SPLM and across the country. Any attempt to remove President Kiir unconstitutionally shall straight away plunge the country into a complete chaotic mess.

Take it here: it is better when these so many splinter groups fight Kiir. Without Kiir, who is now the common enemy, there will be no one left to fight. It is better to have these people engaged in fighting Kiir. You wait when there is no Kiir there is nobody that cannot be President in South Sudan.

Generally, and for records, its good to state that talks in Addis Ababa may possibly produce an agreement that at best is modus vivendi. A change of governance presents not the lasting solution to the conflict.

What the Addis Ababa talks should majorly address is how the various armed groups be united and integrated into one command and then silence the guns. The talks must seek ways to bring the IDPs and refugees out of camps to their homes.

The other vital issue that needs joint efforts is how the revitalization and the restoration the South Sudan economy. If we stop war through honest and rightful means, then it is possible to achieve meaningful peace in our country.

The best and the only prudent way to settle the leadership wrangles in the country is through the democratic elections. If President Kiir loses elections, no one of his supporters will fire a bullet. But if forced out by a few delegates in Addis Ababa then there shall surely be more chaos than peace in this country for another very long time.

Taban Abel Aguek is a member of State Legislative Assembly in Eastern Lakes State, Yirol. He can be reached at abelaguek79@gmail.com.

A shattered hope: Revisiting the horrors of Kiir’s Juba’s massacre

By Duop Chak Wuol, FEB/22/2018, SSN;

Sometimes it is better to immerse yourself in other’s experiences to get an understanding of your own imagination. It is not rational to conclude that what you imagine is necessarily the case. However, it is logically valid that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is a reasonable way to understand his or her inner self.

It was more than four years ago when a hopeful five year old boy was slit in the throat in Juba and died instantly. His name was Peter Gatwech Nhial. This heartrending episode transpired in front of his parents. A few minutes later, the killers shot his father and mother. Fortunately, his father survived.

Peter’s life was ended by a ruthless ethnic militia employed by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to kill people. His death was a hope shattered: the life of an innocent child unjustly terminated, leaving his father to continue living life in pain. It was an act of violence committed against a helpless young South Sudanese child.

In January 2018, I visited one of the South Sudanese refugee camps located in Ethiopia’s western region, Gambella. The name of the camp is Nguenyyiel, and the site is also known as Kule Three. After my arrival in the camp, I asked for permission from the local authorities to be taken to a public place like a market, health center, or school.

My intention was to see, assess and experience the current refugees’ situations in the camp and compare them with the life I once lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. But I did not expect my tour to be overshadowed by this boy’s shocking story.

After a short walk, I met Peter’s father, Nhial Goy, at a nearby health center’s compound. I have to admit that my meeting with Nhial was accidental. When I first arrived at the compound, I saw a middle-aged man sitting on the compound with his head down. A few minutes later, his face was still leaning downward.

I then felt a moral obligation, though it was probably not a coherent choice, to greet him and perhaps attempt to ask him why he kept his head down for such a long time. It was an uncomfortable decision and my heart was, for reasons unknown to me, beating heavily.

I walked to him, greeted him, and extended my hand to him. A brief conversation transpired between the two of us — I asked him if he was well. He replied, “Yes, of course.” I then asked him why he kept his head down for many minutes. “Is there anything wrong?” I asked.

To my surprise, Nhial responded by lifting his head up, looking around, and bursting into tears. I was stunned to see Nhial’s face covered with seemingly endless tears. It was a throbbing moment — a moment that caused me to keep quiet for a while.

Astonished and not knowing where to begin, I asked him if I could get him a cup of water. Nhial replied, “No, I am fine.” I was baffled. I remember having a strange feeling in my mind that something was just not right about Nhial’s tears. After wrestling with my conscience, I decided to ask him again about his well-being and why he had cried.

Nhial had enough, tearful and determined to share his grief: “I am here to seek medical attention for my gunshot wounds,” he said. “My son and wife were killed in Juba. My only hope was shattered by Salva Kiir,” Nhial added. He explained that his wife, Nyabiey Ruon, died of her wounds a few hours after the attack.

Nhial disclosed to me that they were shot in the early morning of December 16 and he could not remember the exact time. He stated that he was waiting for his wounds to heal so that he could join the fight against South Sudan’s government, saying, “I am willing to fight against the person who took the lives of my wife and son.”

While I was stunned and did not know what to say, Peter’s father decided to take the lead and voluntarily showed me three huge permanent scars: one on his forehead and the other two on the right side of his lower abdomen — a chilling reminder of how horrifying the attack was. How he survived puzzled me, and I know for a fact that his miraculous death-escape needs medical explanation.

Nhial told me he thought he was going to die and that his rescue was God’s work. He explained that he was inside his house in Gudele with his dead wife and son when he heard the sound of an ambulance the morning of December 17, 2013 and decided to crawl out of his blood-filled home.

He said he was lucky enough to reach outside his gate before the ambulance arrived. There, one of the medical workers saw him and asked the driver to stop the car. He was then put into the ambulance and rushed to Juba’s teaching hospital.

As we continued our conversation, I noticed a continuous flow of tears from his eyes: it was one of the most painful moments in my life — my heart was bursting with sadness, I had to end the discussion about the tragedy.

Nhial later revealed to me that he was snicked out of the hospital to a UN-run camp in Juba by humanitarian aid personnel after he was told by a doctor that he was free to leave the hospital. The doctor advised that he should seek further medical attention in another hospital as Juba’s hospital did not have the right medications for his head wound.

He said he did not know whether his wife and son were buried and that he kept thinking about what happened to their bodies. In the back of my mind, I also knew that there were countless numbers of people who probably experienced the same cruelty.

Nhial was lucky enough to be snuck out of the camp by his relatives and escape to Kenya before his final destination, Nguenyyiel refugee camp.

Nhial’s horrifying story kept me thinking for three weeks and helped me to understand what Salva Kiir’s leadership is all about. It was a tough and touching experience for me, but it was an account that I would embrace even though it echoed the pain in my soul.

This narrative gave me opportunities to cry and laugh. But there are times when I get enraged with the level of brutality inflicted on Nhial’s family – especially when emotions get the best of me.

I tried my best to separate my personal feelings from the brutality Kiir’s regime inflicted on Nhial and his deceased family. What enraged me the most about this particular tragedy was the fact that none of Peter’s parents had blood relations with any of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s (SPLM) senior political leaders, whom Salva Kiir accused in December 2013 of plotting a coup.

Nhial, Nyabiey, and Peter were all innocent civilians who were living the life of ordinary South Sudanese. They were not active in South Sudan’s politics and had no known records of supporting any particular political leader or party.

Kiir’s ethnic militia targeted Nhial’s family simply because they were of Nuer ethnicity. Peter and his mother were brutally murdered due to tribally-motivated political madness — it was, indeed, a hope shattered.

The author can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.

How likely are states to implement the US proposed arms ban on South Sudan?

BY: Mark Deng, a Law Ph.D Candidate, Univ. of Queensland, Australia, FEB/20/2018, SSN;

The Trump administration has recently announced an arms ban on South Sudan as a response to the seemingly intractable civil war in the country and the resultant humanitarian crisis. President Trump has called on both the regional countries in Africa and the UN Security Council to implement a global arms ban on South Sudan.

The arms ban came a few days after the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, called the government of South Sudan an “unfit partner” in the international effort to resolve the South Sudanese conflict.

While the comment may not have been an appropriate diplomatic thing to say to a foreign leader, and, indeed, an ally, it was made out of a frustration at the persistent failures of the South Sudanese leaders to make necessary compromises to break the impasse and bring durable peace to the country.

Adding to the frustration is the fact that the US government has invested over $11 billion dollars in South Sudan since 2011 to support the transitional process, peace talks, and development. Yet the situation in the country seems to be only getting worse.

The war has deeply divided the South Sudanese society and the arms ban was received in the country with mixed reactions.

The rebels and their supporters, on the one hand, welcome the ban as a necessary step to influence the government’s intransigent position on the ongoing consultations to resurrect and implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) signed in 2015 between the government and the rebels.

The ARCISS collapsed in July 2016 after a ferocious fight erupted outside the State House in Juba between the presidential guards and the bodyguards of the rebel leader, Dr Riek.

Dr Riek instantly claimed that the incident was a government’s calculated attempt to assassinate him, prompting him to withdraw from the Government of National Unity in fear for his life.

The government’s response to the arms ban, on the other hand, has not been positive. The First Vice President of South Sudan, Taban Deng Ghai, was quoted recently in a newspaper, saying that the US is no longer a partner in peace.

The Vice President gave this statement shortly after the government of South Sudan recalled its ambassador to Washington in protest to the arms ban. It is unclear as to what these growing diplomatic tensions between the US and South Sudan would lead.

Whatever disappointments the arms ban may have caused to the government of South Sudan, however, the people of South Sudan should never see the US government as an enemy, bearing in mind the indelible role that the Bush administration played to help the South Sudanese achieve their independence.

It is clear that the arms ban raises with it a number of issues, one of which is state sovereignty. According to the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, states are to respect each other’s territorial integrity. Put differently, no state should engage in acts that undermine another state’s capacity to maintain its national sovereignty.

The Treaty of Westphalia still holds today, however, it has come under heavy criticism. Some have argued that globalization and other factors that the treaty did not foresee and addressed have rendered the treaty ‘anachronistic’.

Mindful of the need to preserve the treaty, however, others have suggested that there should be exceptions to it. For example, it has been suggested that humanitarian crisis and breakdown of government in a state should be exceptions to the treaty.

I find myself in agreement with this view. A state sovereignty under which citizens do not enjoy the protection of their lives, rights, and freedoms serves no purpose.

The government of South Sudan may claim that the arms ban undermines its sovereignty but the ban, in my view, is justified as it is intended to stop human suffering in the country and further complications to the conflict.

However, the arms ban may have a justifiable ground, but it remains doubtful whether states will follow suit and implement it.

States are generally guided by their own national interests and international treaty obligations in implementing sanctions against a particular state.

The international arms trade is governed by the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) 2014, which is yet to earn the support of all states. As of present, only 93 countries out of the 193 UN member states have ratified the ATT. Among the non-signatory countries are China, Israel, Russia, and Ukraine, which all are the leading arms suppliers to South Sudan.

It is possible that Israel and Ukraine could implement the arms ban on South Sudan, given their close diplomatic ties with the US.

However, it is unlikely that China and Russia could do the same for two main reasons: (1) both countries have vested interests in mining the oil in South Sudan and may not be prepared to jeopardize these lucrative investments; and (2) they are not under ATT international obligations to implement the arms ban on South Sudan since they are not state parties to it.

In addition, the neighboring countries, particularly Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, may not be prepared to implement the arms ban on South Sudan. Aside from being members of IGAD, of which South Sudan is a member, these countries face the same issue of political instability as South Sudan.

On that basis, it is difficult to see how these countries can implement the arms ban on South Sudan due to the fear that any of them could suffer the same fate at any moment.

However, if these neighboring countries were to implement the arms ban on South Sudan, the ban could be effective. These countries are the channels through which arms enter South Sudan from arms suppliers.

In 2015, for example, a Chinese cargo ship, carrying different types of Chinese-made weapons, docked in the Port of Mombasa, Kenya. The cargo was unloaded and the weapons were transported by land to South Sudan.

In 2014, it was reported that South Sudan and Uganda signed a military cooperation agreement. The particulars of the agreement have not been made public but it is generally understood that the agreement authorizes Uganda to purchase arms from third parties on behalf of South Sudan.

While nothing is set in stone in diplomatic relations, the close ties between South Sudan and its neighboring countries, as well as the uncertain future they all face in the region, make it unlikely for these countries to implement the arms ban on South Sudan.

Sure, the Trump administration could apply pressure of any sort to these countries to get them to implement the arms ban but how that would play out cannot be predicted with certainty.

When talking about arms bans, it is important to consult history. History shows that arms bans hardly work. An Arms ban was, for example, imposed on Sudan by the European Union in 1994, yet it did not seem to stop arms supply to Sudan.

Reports indicate that China and Iran, two of Sudan’s close allies, continued to supply Sudan with arms despite the ban.

So, the reality is that it is difficult to control the flow of arms effectively, and the reason is that the arms trade is an international multi-billion dollar business. The states and international arms sale companies will always to try to flout and circumvent the rules in order to continue to make profits from arms sales.

The ATT aims to prevent and eradicate illicit arms trade but its regulatory system does not seem to be effective enough, considering the fact that recent arms sanctions against Syria and Libya have not been successful.

So, in the absence of an effective mechanism that ensures compliance with the treaty obligations for all countries, doubts hang over the success of the proposed arms ban on South Sudan.

It is likely that countries like China and Russia will continue to sell arms to South Sudan and it will all be business as usual.

Mark Deng is a law PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, Australia.
Email: mark.deng@uq.edu.au

South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) condemns Govt. violations

PRESS RELEASE: FEB/12/2018;

SSNMC Condemn Government’s Continuous Violation of Cessation of Hostilities. SSNMC would like to condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our ally’s defensive position in Nasir by government troops.

On Monday morning, the 12th of February 2018, our colleagues from the SPLM/SPLA–IO reported that their defensive position in Nasir was attacked by government troops without any provocation.

The government not only violating the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed on 21st December 2017, but also disregarding, disrespecting and providing no credibility to the High Revitalization Forum current taking place in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Since the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities on the 21st of December 2017, the government has continuously violated the agreement on numerous occasions in Upper Nile, Equatoria and Western Bahr El-Ghazal.

There had been indiscriminate attack against unarmed and innocent civilians across the country. Provision of humanitarian assistance to the famine-affected population continuous to be horrendous. This clearly manifests
government’s lack of care for the country and for the people.

Sincerely, SSNMC ask the Government of South Sudan to use this opportunity if it is serious about the country and the entire people of South Sudan.

SSNMC expects the government to engage the oppositions actively, discuss and resolve conflict in good faith, without intransigence, offering concessions and demonstrating political will to channel a new political dispensation for South Sudan.

SSNMC is committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in South Sudan. Hence, SSNMC appeal to the IGAD-Plus to take significant and practical steps to ensure the government of South Sudan is serious about peaceful resolution to the conflict in South Sudan.

IGAD-Plus should not continue to lay blanket blame on all parties but should hold spoilers responsible for their actions.

Contact: Daniel Zingifuaboro
Phone: +61474047016
Email: si.ssnmc@gamil.com
####

Statement on South Sudan’s current Peace Process and Political situation in the country

Phow State Civil Society Organizations
Date: 16/02/2018

To: All media outlets. In the name of Almighty God, God of Peace and Mercy;

South Sudan embroiled itself into civil war in mid Dec 2013. As a result of that political and armed conflict, thousands of innocent civilians have so far lost their dear lives. Millions others more are already displaced now SUFFERING internally in the country as IDPs and in neighboring countries as Refugees.

We, Phow State’s Civil Society Organization groups, would therefore like to seize this golden opportunity today to express our views and voices on South Sudan current disturbing political situation. We need peace to return to South Sudan!!

It has now been almost five years since January 2014 when IGAD took regional initiative to mediate peace talks first between the two main warring parties in order to bring about peaceful settlement in South Sudan. But all in vain!

Today, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Peace talks between the opposition coalition and Juba government are still ongoing through IGAD-led High Level Revitalization Forum on ACRISS. We are really optimistic that these latter talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will be fruitful. As we call for peace in the country we also urge the region and the world to decisively act on the below narrated issues which in our views are some of obstacles preventing peace from happening. Let’s be brief, precise and straight to the points.

First, Phow State’s Civil Society Groups condemn the following in the strongest terms possible:

1. The acts of South Sudan Peace obstructers and violators who are continuing attacking amidst peace Revitalization e.g. the recent Sobat, Nasir, & Yei River States attacks.

2. The act of Kenya Government who kidnapped and deported James Gatdet, Aggrey Idir, Dong Samuel and Marko Lokidor and then handed them over to South Sudan Government in Juba.

3. Unlawful, tribal and politically-motivated verdict of James Gatdet Dak death sentence announced on Monday 12 of Feb 2018.

4. The meaningless and irrational political confinement of Dr. Riek Machar Teny in South Africa.

Second, we support the regional and International Community in the following:

1. Continuous initiatives to bring about lasting peace to South Sudan through ongoing High Level Revitalization Forum on ACRSS in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

2. Recent America’s Arms restrictions sanctions, EU and other sanctions on South Sudan government.

3. We support and encourage any other country in the world to do the same.

Third and finally, we the entire population of Phow State Civil Society Organizations demands:

1. The regional and International Community to decisively mount punitive measures on South Sudan Peace obstructors and violators. The world should step up measures to end impunity in South Sudan.

2. Unconditional and immediate Release of Dr. Riek Machar Teny from detention in Pretoria, South Africa. Dr. Machar is an influential popular leader whose presence is badly needed for successful peace process in South Sudan.

3. IGAD to stand up and find out the actual whereabouts of Agrery Idiri, Dong Luak and Marko Lokidor who were arrested and deported back to Juba, South Sudan, by Kenya Government. We want to know whether or not, they are already killed or still alive and in the hands of Nairobi or Juba? We will expect from IGAD an urgent public feedback on this issue or push for those four men immediate release. Phow State alone recently released fifteen (15) prisoners of war to ICRC and then ICRC handed them over to Juba government as stipulated in CoH agreement signed on 21 Dec 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

4. Therefore, on the same token, let the other side or Juba unconditionally release as well from its custody the opposition prisoners of war, those detained or arrested for reasons related to this conflict and all political prisoners including James Gatdet Dak, Mako Lokidor, Dong Samuel and so on and so forth.

5. All parties to the conflicts which are concluding the HLRF second phase in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to immediately agree and sign peace for South Sudanese people.

6. We also call upon the region and UN Security Council to immediately impose Arms Embargo sanctions on South Sudan and on all individuals peace abstractors and violators.

Because peace will to come without imposing arms embargo or individual sanctions on South Sudan to stop unnecessary buying and bringing in of deadly weapons which are being used against the civil population across South Sudan.

Signed:
Peter Gatkuoth Nuar
Chairperson
Phow State’s Civil Society Organizations
Email: gatkuothpeter44@gmail.com
Copy to:
• ICRC
• IGAD
• AU
• China
• Troika (United Kingdom, the United States of America and Norway)
• EU
• UNSC
• File

Why the Death Sentence on James Gatdet Dak should be Nullified

By Peter Gai Manyuon, Activist, FEB/16/2018, SSN;

On Monday 12th of September 2018, a South Sudan court in Juba sentenced James Gatdet Dak to death by hanging, citing several provisions in the constitution as the basis upon which the verdict was reached by Judges.

The verdict sentenced (Gatdet) for allegedly inciting violence which falls under treason charges according to article 64, disseminating false information to the detriment of South Sudanese national security under article (75) and insulting the president under article 76 under the penal code of 2008 respectively.

On the other hand, the lead-defense lawyer, Monyluak Alor Kuol, described the verdict as a political decision from the government of South Sudan with no legal basis or citations.

Evidently, audiences all over the world reacted positively and only few welcomed the decay sentenced on various social media platforms. It’s should be noted that, sentencing or death penalty was not cross-checked or properly cross-examined by competent judges in South Sudan, instead incompetent Judges all over the Country continue determining cases that are not well scrutinizeD.

What can South Sudanese do in regards to these judges? For how long Should South Sudanese continues trusting these Judges in the Country? Are they really well trained judges or politicians working in the judiciary in South Sudan pretending to be judges?

The transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, under bill of rights mentioned that “every person has the inherent right to life, dignity and integrity of his or her person which shall be protected by the law; no one should shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her right” respectively.

The question is, whether the judges have read the Bill of Rights of the Transitional constitution 2011 which they are claiming to have read?

In the same Bill of rights clearly and precisely mentioned, all persons are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of law without discrimination as to race, ethnic origin, color, sex, language, religious creed, political opinion, birth, locality or social status.

Furthermore, under the same bill of rights restricted or prohibited death penalty to anyone without proper scrutiny. The same Bill of rights precisely said, no death penalty shall be imposed on anyone.

The Judges in Juba imposed death penalty on James Gatdet Dak on tribal basis not through good legal procedures.

In fact, judges are making judgments based on assumptions and interests attached to their legal processes in various courts in the Country. No fairness and respect to the Constitution of South Sudan 2011 especially the Bill of rights. The government in Juba abandoned constitution of the Country and judges only worked on directives of the government.

There is no independent judicial system in the Country. It’s rule of man which is final in all the Institutions in the Country.

It’s therefore very unfortunate for a Country to allow national security and politicians in deciding or determining court cases, killings or terrorizing all people in the Country.

The matter if not handled with care can disintegrate the Country more and more in to sections in due time, where each community shall be ready for self-rule or self-determination.

In summary, the only people qualified enough for death sentences and treason charges are all former Ministers, current Ministers, Army Generals and Kiir himself who have looted, killed thousands and displaced civilians to different parts of the World.

Who is more criminal between someone doing his work as Spokesperson of his party and someone who kills millions of people and loots the Country resources for almost two decades?

It’s only happening in South Sudan where top criminals are sentencing innocent Journalist for belonging to certain ethnicity. This is a serious and contentious issue that must be denounced as malicious in nature.

In conclusion, Kiir Mayardit and the National security and despotic politicians in South Sudan should evaluate the judgment again otherwise, the issue of James Gatdet could incite more crises in the country since others will look at it in different lenses.

Even though South Sudanese are looking for peace to come back to the Country anytime from now, the government and its allies must desist from doing unnecessary court cases that are inciting’s more conflicts in the country.

Peter Gai Manyuon is an Author, Independent Journalist and Columnist who has written extensively on Human Rights and Democracy in South Sudan. Reachable on independentjournalistpgm@gmail.com.