December 25, 2013 (SSNA) -- We, the undersigned, representatives of civil society organisations from Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan wish to express our deep concern about the military confrontations that erupted in the Republic of South Sudan on 15 and 16 December 2013. We are utterly disturbed that the violence, which started in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, has now spread to other parts of the country. This unexpected development threatens the foundation of the nascent nation and puts to jeopardy the safety and well-being of its citizens.
We wish to stress our conviction that violence and the destruction of lives and livelihoods serve no purpose and deepen the humanitarian and human rights challenges faced by the government and people of South Sudan. It is also our belief that open and free dialogue that yield a mutually accepted agreement reached through the informed opinion of all the concerned parties, constitute the only way to resolve the current political differences in South Sudan.
We appeal to the political leadership of the Republic of South Sudan to put the interest and aspirations of the populace for peaceful coexistence, progress, development and happiness as their prime objective and mission. This requires greater political sacrifices from all the conflicting parties in South Sudan and we are confident that all those concerned in that part of our country are bestowed with the necessary courage and wisdom to pursue such objectives.
We appeal to the President of the Republic of South Sudan to release, with immediate effect, all persons held for expressing political views critical of the government performance and to start, without conditions, a process of national reconciliation and political dialogue with such persons and with those who are currently under arms against the government.
We appeal to the Heads of State and Government members of the African Union, particularly members of the IGAD countries, to continue to place the situation in South Sudan as a top priority on their agendas and to consider rendering their good offices and personal intervention with the parties to the conflict in view of reaching a negotiated peaceful settlement of the on-going conflict.
We appeal to all States neighbour of the Republic of South Sudan to refrain from interfering in its internal affairs or to extend military or similar support to any party to the conflict or to take advantage of the situation for ulterior motives, but to play instead a role of promoting dialogue and reconciliation between the parties for a peaceful South Sudan.
We appeal to the humanitarian community to redouble their efforts in providing the necessary humanitarian assistance and make available basic materials needed by a growing number of civilians in different parts of the country.
We pay due tribute to all the victims of the on-going conflict, including UN staff and peacekeepers, who lost their lives on the line of duty.
Opinion and Conscience (SADFOC)
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