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South Sudan Civil Society Alliance Discusses National Issues with the Presidential Legal Advisor; Appeals to Meet the President

South Sudan Civil Society Alliance
Press Statement: For Immediate Release
June 7, 2013, Juba, South Sudan

NATIONAL ISSUES DISCUSSED WITH THE PRESIDENTIAL LEGAL ADVISOR AND APPEAL TO MEET THE PRESIDENT

Juba 10, 2013 (SSNA) -- Ladies and gentlemen of the press, today the leadership of South Sudan Civil Society Alliance would like to make this statement on the information we shared with the office of the President. The Alliance leadership led by its leader Mr. Deng Athuai Mawiir Rehan met on June 7, 2013 with Honourable Telar Ring Deng, the Presidential Advisor on Legal Affairs. The Alliance wanted to meet the President H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit face to face in order for the Alliance to explain to him directly the issues of national concern. It was however thought by the Alliance to meet with the Presidential Advisor first so that an arrangement is made for the Alliance to meet the President. The meeting was successful as the Advisor assured the Alliance that he would forward the issues discussed to the President and a meeting would be arranged. The following 6 points were the main issues contained in the Alliance brief note as raised to H.E. The President of the Republic through the office of the Presidential Advisor on Legal Affairs:

1. Constitution: It is now the wish and the common talk of South Sudanese citizens that they need far more better Constitution and we would like to bring to your attention their concerns.

2. Human Rights and security situation: The general human rights situation in the country is of great concern starting from Juba to rural areas, there are a lot of issues of detentions without trials mostly by national security and moreso, the general security situation of our people is deteriorating.

3. Amnesty: The recent amnesty you gave to rebels was a good gesture and shows your true heart and nationalistic leadership to unite our people. We appeal to your kind leadership that the amnesty should also include those in detentions without trial for long and some are in Juba for more than two years. These citizens like General Gabriel Tanginye and his two deputies being in detention since May 2011 and Advocate A. Sule the former head of the United Democratic Front who had been in detention for more than one year and all of whom are without trials.

4. National Security Bill should be passed because the institution is operating without legal framework and this gives the members of the security wide powers to do anything they want.

5. Elections: Your Excellency, we request your office that your office has to ensure that elections are held timely and in peaceful and transparent atmostphere and we strongly believe your office will ensure as that. This is to maintain the gains for which you had led our people’s struggles through.

6. Co-operation with Civil Society: We request your office to allow us to be in regular touch with and also ensure that the harrassment of civil society members by other institutions is regulated. Thanks for your wise leadership over our nation. May God bless you and our nation.

For more, inmformation on this statement, contact the Alliance’s Official spokesperson and Secretary General Mr. Biel Boutros Biel on +211 915 364 531 or E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Juba, South Sudan

South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) is a non political and non profit making organization founded in 2007 with its visionbgeared towards building an enlightened Human Rights abiding South Sudan. Its mission is to monitor, document human rights vioaltions in South Sudan and train general public on the respect and importance of Human Rights, fundamental freedoms of an individual, democracy and Rule of Law to creating responsible, justice and good governance oriented South Sudan.  SSHURSA pays particular focus on the rights of women, children and other vulnerable groups.

Contact us through:

Office: + 211 915 364 531
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

"YOUR RIGHTS; YOUR DIGNITY"

Jonglei Peace Initiative-North America’s Conference Resolutions

Jonglei Diaspora Community Peace, Donors & Investors Conference

Jonglei Community in North America, United for Peaceful, Secure and Prosperous Jonglei

June 1 – 2, 2013
Doubletree Hotel: Washington, DC, USA
Hosted by Jonglei Peace Initiative – North America (JPINA)

JPINA Conference Resolutions:

Preamble

Washington, DC, June 9, 2013 (SSNA) -- We the delegates and participants of this judicious conference;

  • Cognizant of the need to unite and mobilize our community in North American and at home to promote peace , harmony and development in our state;
  • Rallying behind the current and future state leaderships as they guide this great state towards a brighter and secured future;
  • Acknowledging and embracing the diversity, the importance of, and the need to embrace it in our state;
  • Gravely concerned about the insecurity and underdevelopment cause by the insecurity and insurgency in our state;
  • Appreciative of the role played by the NGOs, particularly the USAID, World Food Program, UN and UNIMISS while urging them to do more particularly at the flashpoints across the state;
  • Motivated by the opportunities we have in North America and the need to take advantage of them in shaping the future of our communities and state particularly in soliciting and bringing investors to the state in order to improve the livelihood of our communities;
  • Invigorating the historical significance of Jonglei and incentivizing the youth to embrace education, sports, and peaceful activities across the state;
  • Realizing the urgent need to put our differences aside, and step up our efforts to create effective and efficient state while working as sons and daughters of one mother and father with one destiny;

Recommend and resolved the following:

I. JPINA will generate fund from its membership and other sources to support its mission and operation particularly peace, education and investment across the 11 counties.

II. To significantly contribute to the ultimate goal of harmony and peace in Jonglei State, JPINA will continue to be inclusive of all the members of the counties in Diaspora and in Jonglei State, South Sudan.

III. JPINA will reach out to more members, ladies and men, of Jonglei State in North America, and to ensure that JPINA team have one mission and one voice in the process of pursuit of peace in Jonglei State.

IV. JPINA will pay particular emphasis on women inclusion in its own leadership, and in the entire process of peace building as this imperative.

V. JPINA will ensure equal ethnic representation in its procedures and conference by establishing policies that will guarantee that any county with more than one ethnic group will be represented at most by two individuals.

VI. JPINA, in it process of peace advocacy, will advocate peaceful coexistence between all communities, and for the establishment of the rights of minority ethnic communities, as well as mechanisms to safeguard such rights.

VII. JPINA will help organize youth groups in each county or ethnic group to follow up with the peace process and sponsor enter communal activities such as sport and others.

VIII. JPINA will advocate for decentralized and equal development across the counties in Jonglei State.

IX. JPINA will capitalize on its network, and establish mechanism to identify and report verifiable and documented cases of child and woman abductions across the state.

X. JPINA will emphasize education and training, and inter-ethnic interactions as tools to change aspects of cultures of all the ethnic communities in Jonglei State.

XI. JPINA will assist in the promotion of Jonglei State’ natural resources and generation of potentials investors to develop the state by responsibly extracting the resources with well established policies and procedures.

XII. JPINA will strengthen, and broaden its partnership, with Government of South Sudan, the state government, Ngo’s and other agents of peace and development in the state in order to complement rather than duplicate peace effort across the state.

Improved Accountability Is the Only Path to Sustainable Peace

New Report Calls for Comprehensive Justice Sector Reform in South Sudan

Juba, June 6, 2013 (SSNA) -- In response to high levels of inter-communal and politically motivated violence, a new report by the South Sudan Law Society (SSLS), Challenges of Accountability: An assessment of dispute resolution processes in rural South Sudan, provides an empirical analysis of how justice systems in Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei and Upper Nile are attempting to meet the legal needs of rural populations caught up in vicious cycles of conflict. The report was supported by Pact and funded by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) at the U.S. State Department.

In recent years, inter-communal and politically motivated violence has killed thousands of people in rural areas. The perpetrators of this violence are able to kill innocent people, loot livestock, destroy property, abduct women and children and commit acts of sexual violence with impunity.

According to the report, in areas surveyed in Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei and Upper Nile States:

  • 20 percent of households reported having one or more household members killed in the past two years.
  • 20 percent of households in Akobo and 10 percent of households in Pibor reported that one or more household members had been abducted in the past two years.
  • Nearly 40 percent of households reported having something stolen from them in the past two years; 60 percent of these incidents involved the theft of cattle or other livestock.

The report found that the existing justice services are almost completely unable to hold the perpetrators of violence accountable. Key challenges arise in investigating and prosecuting these crimes and ensuring that governance institutions respect, protect and fulfill the rights provided for in the Transitional Constitution and other sources of law.

“Since the end of the war in 2005 and independence in 2011, the Government of South Sudan has struggled to build effective governance and rule of law institutions,” said David K. Deng, the report’s author and research director of the South Sudan Law Society (SSLS). “To develop a justice system that is responsive to the needs of its people, the Government must design and implement strategies for combating impunity for inter-communal and politically motivated violence." 

The report also found injustices that pervade the customary and statutory court systems. Local justice systems—comprised of a range of formal and informal dispute resolution processes at the county level and below—routinely accept, assess and resolve certain types of disputes. However, the manner in which they resolve disputes can perpetuate harmful practices that disproportionately affect women and children in violation of their constitutional and statutory rights. For example:

  • Some courts condone and encourage forced marriage in the settlement of disputes. These unions are often accompanied by violence or threats of violence. Rarely are girls able to rely on courts to enforce statutory prohibitions on forced marriage.
  • Young women are sometimes pressured to marry their rapists to avoid the stigma that society attaches to rape victims and secure bridewealth payments for the family.
  • Local justice systems rarely prosecute domestic violence unless a woman’s life is at risk. When women retaliate, injuring or killing their abusive husbands, they are punished with harsh prison sentences that do not take into consideration the mitigating factor of abuse.
  • Courts sometimes punish people who are unable to repay their debts with imprisonment for indefinite periods of time.

“Every justice system has its shortcomings,” said Casie Copeland, the report’s lead editor and a technical advisor with Pact. “Yet the fact that one-fifth of the households in these areas, eight years after the civil war ended, reported having one or more household members killed in the last 24 months is shocking and illustrates that an underlying cycle of violence continues in rural areas. In order to address this crisis, these challenges must be discussed openly and addressed through intelligent and evidence-based reforms.”

The report highlights capital punishment as one area in desperate need of reform. Despite signing a UN resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, senior government officials have said that they will continue judicial executions until a constitutional prohibition on the death penalty is in place. Continued support for capital punishment is justified by a perception that South Sudanese overwhelmingly support the use of the death penalty. However, the majority of the study’s respondents opposed the death penalty. Most respondents preferred the customary remedy for homicide, in which the perpetrator pays cattle or other forms of compensation to the family of the deceased as compensation.

Restorative remedies, designed to reconcile opposing parties and repair social relationships rather than exact retribution and revenge, are a common theme underpinning South Sudanese notions of justice. By building upon restorative views of justice and balancing them with the state’s interest in punishing crime, the government can provide justice services that are more responsive to the needs of its citizens.

The report offers a series of detailed recommendations for how the government and its international partners can help to improve access to justice for rural populations, including:

  • Extending and strengthening justice services at the local government level to ensure greater access to justice in rural areas.
  • Enacting a comprehensive set of legislative reforms, including the development of legislation pertaining to legal aid, family law and gender-based violence.
  • Clarifying the role of paralegals and moving forward on plans to give them legal capacity to represent clients in court for minor disputes.
  • Stationing military judge advocates at the divisional headquarter level and below and ensuring that they accompany any significant deployment of troops.
  • Integrating support to the justice sector into all conflict reduction programming.

“South Sudan’s justice system is in need of urgent attention and support if it is to ensure accountability and provide fair and effective services to rural populations,” said Deng. “This is a long-term endeavor that will require a substantial investment of time and resources, but it is central to building a viable, legitimate and peaceful state.”

About the South Sudan Law Society (SSLS)

The South Sudan Law Society (SSLS) is a civil society organization based in Juba. Its mission is to strive for justice in society and respect for human rights and the rule of law in South Sudan. The SSLS manages projects in a number of areas, including legal aid, community paralegal training, human rights awareness-raising, and capacity-building for legal professionals, traditional authorities, and government institutions. For more information on the SSLS, visit www.southsudanlawsociety.org.

About Pact, Inc.

Pact is an international NGO that strengthens local capacity, forges effective governance systems and transforms markets into a force for development. Across Africa, Eurasia and Asia, Pact implements more than 70 programs in the areas of capacity development, governance, health and natural resource management. Pact has been operating in South Sudan and Sudan since 2002. The total value of its current program portfolio in the area of peacebuilding, access to justice, capacity development, local governance and WASH is over $15 million.

Contacts:

David K. Deng
Director, Research Department
South Sudan Law Society (SSLS)
Tel: +1 (202) 604-0305 (U.S.)
+211 955 518 206 (S. Sudan)
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
Casie Copeland
Technical Advisor
Pact South Sudan
Tel: +211 955 159 999
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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