The Question of Sovereignty: Does it trump over human rights and lives of the innocent in South Sudan?

BY: Ocholamero Otir Bure Oroto*, 03/AUG/2016, SSN;

In this essay I would like those who read between the lines to understand that the additional troops as buffer zone is to ensure political solution prevails. This will save lives of thousands and prevent the negative impacts that follows militaristic approach that seems to prevail in South Sudan. Without such approach or related avenues, South Sudan is definitely going the wrong path and it is a failure of proper role of a sovereign state.

“Sovereignty no longer exclusively protects States from foreign interference; it is a charge of responsibility that holds States accountable for the welfare of their people.”(1)

The killing of innocent people right from 2013 across the country, the violation of human rights, the disrespects of human lives has brought the country to the spotlight of the concerned global citizens and international organs.

Think of human lives, think about human rights, think about the innocents who have died and those who will continue to die, how about the raping of women, raping of young ladies. Do mental calculations of the sums of the suffering of the people of South Sudan due to the war that could have been prevented right at the office of Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army. These are realities that make a humane person to accept intervention as the only best alternative to the current lack of security and rampant unidentified gunmen.

Sovereignty rest with the people. It is the duty of government to protect citizens from each other. Ensuring that no one! NO ONE! could take someone’s life. Sovereignty and legitimacy of government depends on fulfilling its roles as protectors of citizens’ lives.

“Thomas Hobbes wrote in his social contract theory that it is the duty of governments to protect citizens from each other. If the government fails to perform at least its most basic function of keeping its citizens safe, then it is no longer a legitimate government, as it has reneged on its agreement in the social contract. It is surely the case in countries which violate human rights, often through murder or genocide, that those governments are no longer legitimate, as they are no longer keeping their citizens safe”(2).

Thinking of the loves one who perished during the last 2.5 years or so, thinking of the human resources killed over the periods, anyone with moral values and who values lives, anyone who respects lives would find it difficult to say no to the help of the global goodwill to come and provide help and protections to the remaining citizens and curve avenues for political solutions.

It is proven that the leaders will hardly die of the war they are engineering but sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers grandchildren of other poor and helpless South Sudanese who are just going about their daily lives are caught by surprise and either killed, rape and tortured in one way or another.

Think about the effects of killing one person. Think about the effects of killings hundreds people, think about the effects of killing thousands. Now think about losing your loves one and put yourself in the shoes of those who are going through these situations.

Take the truth from this piece and leave what is of no use. Whatever view expressed here will remain on record. South Sudan cannot improve for better without the people defining what their ‘needs’ are. I am aware sometime people are pushed by situation to fight, but, where there is choice, political solutions are the best approach as a short and long term solutions.

Is it a good thing to have external body to get into South Sudan as a third party that will protect and maintain security in the process of implementation of the peace agreement?

If the world finally think it is about time they do something to protects the civilians from the manmade disaster and the mess in South Sudan, I, personally, as a citizen who loves peaceful lifestyles, would welcome the idea. So, it is a good thing. In the current case, I welcome the idea with a mandate that will ensure political solutions to prevail.

It is therefore vital to note that ‘Sovereignty does not trump human rights, rather quite the opposite is true'(2), because, sovereignty rest with the people. The argument that additional troops to act as buffer zones will interfere with sovereignty have no weight at this particular moment considering the situations of South Sudan. Let me draw your attention to the following passage. I hope it will trigger your desire to follow up on your liberty.


United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established the three-pillar framework of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP, R2P), in his 2009 Report Implementing the Responsibility to Protect:

Pillar One: The state bears the primary responsibility to protect their population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
Pillar Two: The international community, i.e. the UN, regional organizations, governments and civil society, must assist states in fulfilling their protection obligations.
Pillar Three: When a state manifestly fails to protect its population or is in fact the perpetrator of these crimes, the international community has a responsibility to take collective action in a timely and decisive manner to prevent or halt the commission of mass atrocities. Such action must be on a case-by-case basis using a broad range of political, economic, and humanitarian measures, and should peaceful means prove inadequate, coercive measures, including the use of force as authorized by the Security Council and in accordance with the UN Charter (3).

South Sudan situation is without doubt considered in the third pillar as depicted above. The failure of the creation of good respectful system right from 2005 up to now rest overtly on the top Sudan People Liberation Army/Movement. Instead of Justice, Equality and Prosperity, South Sudanese are greeted by atrocities caused by those they trust would govern the country well.

Tentative Recommendations:

The leaders of South Sudan should respect lives and human rights.
The leaders should put aside the mentality of trying to defeat each other by guns.
The leaders should accept and embark on dialogues as the ongoing method of ironing their differences.
The leaders should lead in peace building and national building.
The leaders should devise mechanism to protects people from other citizens who takes pride in harming others.
The leaders should find out their needs and identify other ways of achieving those needs without going to war.
Embrace peace, respect each other, promote peace and reconciliation.
The leaders should quest for avenues to resolves the issues once and for all politically.
People should learn quickly to support what is right for the entire nation.


Therefore, doing the above among other, will build trust and ensure progress as opposed to continuing with war. The onus is on the leaders; the leaders need to show civility in handling dispute in peaceful manner. The best way to say no to the intervention in the words of my colleague is to ‘STOP war, preach peace, reconcile…’ above all, embark on overhaul political reformation in South Sudan.

This is where people will morally work to reconstruct the country. If these fair steps are not taken, there is no reason to say no to the international body. They should act quickly to rescue people from the current canine environment.

*A concerned citizen driven by moral urge. For better or for worst, collectively, we have choice to make. South Sudan will be a better country if we collectively aim to break the cycle of revenge killings and break the cycle of violence. May peace one day be realized in South Sudan with greater respect of diversity.
Email: Facebook: Ocholamero Otir Bure Oroto.


1. United Nation (2016). Office of the special advisors on the prevention of genocide. Retrieved from on 21/07/2016.

2. Ringer, Ryan (2006). In defense of others: Does Sovereignty Trump Human Rights? Retrieved from on 28/04/2016.

3.ICRtoP International Coalition to the Responsibility to Protect At a Glance an educational tool by the international coalition for the responsibility to protect (2016). Retrieved from on 21/07/2016.

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