February 23, 2014 (SSNA) -- Following our communique on the current crisis dated 7th January 2014, the cessation of hostilities agreement signed on the 23rd of January 2014, and the resumption of the second phase of the IGAD led peace talks, it is with sadness that we the South Sudan Women Cry for Peace (SSWCFP) write this second statement, as we:
1. Note with grief the alarming death toll and displacement of our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and children, well after the cessation of hostilities agreement. We are particularly shocked by the fact that the displaced seeking refuge in UNMISS compounds in the country, are subject to hunger, violence and threats of forced return!
2. Troubled by the failure of our leaders on both sides of the conflict to abide by and implement the cessation of hostilities agreement in good faith, to pave way for further negotiations and a sustainable peace. In this regard we note especially the:
- Continued hostilities to date as reported in Central Equatoria, Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei, and Warrap States resulting in continued deaths and displacement of vulnerable innocent civilians.
- Disregard for safe and secure humanitarian corridors to meet the life saving humanitarian assistance for the displaced vulnerable women, children, the elderly and the sick in the affected States,
- Continued partisan involvement of Ugandan troops in the South Sudanese crisis, prolonging the killings and suffering of vulnerable South Sudanese and hampering the efforts for a peaceful resolution;
- Failure of the Government to release the four political detainees (including Hon. Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba) still in detention, tainting the initial good gesture shown by the release of the seven detainees, and thereby delaying the resumption of the peace talks;
- Continued cynic and negative propaganda by both parties in the media that is widening the divide among the warring tribes and damping the good will to resolve this crisis peacefully.
3. Concerned that phase II of the IGAD led negotiation process is taking a painfully slow pace with little consideration for inclusiveness, thereby disregarding the vital fact that the underlying cause of this conflict has more to do with poverty, poor governance, uneven distribution of resources, tribalism, poor political structures and systems, disrespect of the rule of law, lack of freedom of speech, lack of a vision and therefore lack of a common identity that unites us as a nation.
4. Further concerned by the reluctance of the international community to respond to the urgently needed humanitarian assistance following reports only 17.7% of the $1.27 billion UN crisis response plan appeal for South Sudan has been funded (UN OCHA South Sudan Situation Report - 21st Feb 2014).
- Applaud the role of IGAD in the important progress made towards the agreement of ‘cessation of hostilities’ and the ‘status of detainees’
- Acknowledge the support by regional members, the African Union, the United Nations, the Troika member States and China, in the deployment of the ‘cessation of hostilities’ monitoring team and the 5,500 UN peace keepers
- Welcome the efforts of the African Union to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the violations of human rights in South Sudan, as stated in the AU Peace and Security Council 416th meeting Communique, dated 29th January 2014
- Concur with the Civil Society recommendations to the AU for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry, as detailed in their statement of the 25th January 2014
- Appreciate the inclusion of women representatives in the government and opposition delegations to the second phase of the IGAD led peace talks.
We reiterate the importance and urgency to ensure recommendations below are fully implemented, to create a conducive environment for the second phase of the talks. SSWCFP call upon:
I. The Government of South Sudan and the opposition to stop the continued hostilities and protect civilians in areas under their control respectively, and ensure humanitarian access for the delivery of immediate life saving assistance to the affected vulnerable civilians.
II. The Government of South Sudan to expedite the withdrawal of Ugandan troops in South Sudan so as to demonstrate their commitment and create a conducive environment for the second phase of the talks.
III. The Government of South Sudan to release the remaining four detainees (including Hon. Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba), as a gesture of true leadership and commitment to a comprehensive and peaceful resolution.
IV. The Cessation of hostilities monitoring team to urgently establish the parameters for monitoring the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement and work with the UN Peace Keeping force for their effective deployment in the affected areas. In this regard, we call on both the government and the opposition group to fully cooperate with both teams so as to enable them implement their mandate.
V. The concerned International community and the private sector to respond urgently to funding the South Sudan crisis response plan, to avert the endless suffering and save lives of the affected vulnerable women, children, the elderly and the sick who desperately look to you.
VI. The IGAD mediation team to ensure that after the cease fire negotiations, the next phase of the talks to involve proactive participation of South Sudanese civil society groups, including women, youth and religious representatives.
As wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of South Sudan, we call on our people, wherever they are, to unite as one people regardless of tribal, religious and/or political differences, understanding that it is the sum of our differences that defines us as South Sudanese. As we pride in our diversity, we remind our leaders that as wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of South Sudan, we cannot choose sides in a conflict between our husbands, fathers, brothers and sons but will continue to love them all regardless of tribal, political and/or religious differences; that as humans we are all exposed to doubts, fears, mistakes and failures, but can over come these through admitting our imperfections, miscalculations and stubbornness and learning to trust, forgive, compromise and share of ourselves; that it is in our conscience and compassion as humans that we respond to avert suffering and despair and strive for hope and restoration of the dignity of our people.
So as a people, let us turn a new chapter and walk together towards a South Sudan of a higher order; the new nation our heroes died for; a nation where our children grow up in a united, dignified, free, democratic and prosperous South Sudan, and look back to history with enormous pride; a history that will continue to guide our children in facing the challenges of their time.
God bless our Country, its leaders and its people.