Date: June 28, 2014
Sub: (STAKEHOLDERS PROTEST): Concerns South Sudanese Canadian Community Members an Leaders
We Hope Our Article Reaches IGAG Mediating Leaders in Peace: There Was No Coup on December 15, 2013, Right? Le Begin There!
Canada, June 28, 2014 (SSNA) -- As concerned South Sudanese and more importantly; members of the Diaspora in Canada who are indirectly and directly hardly affected by this conflict in South Sudan, we have as various community leaders and members in Canada have decided to bring our concerns to the attention of IGAD, African Union, European Union, the United Nations, the United States of America, Canada, and other international bodies that the peace and reconciliation currently in progress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that it does not satisfy the immediate victims of the current conflict.
For any peace process or negation to be fair, all sides have to be included. If the Government of South Sudan was able and allowed to bring its civil society, faith group, and other members to participate on behalf of the Government of South Sudan in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia because it has all the resources and power,, it is equally important that Rebel’s side or vulnerable groups who fled the country and those who are currently Internally Displaced Persons in various United Nations Camps inside South Sudan and in abroad should be included. Otherwise, Salva Kiir’s Government is participating in the negation by itself. We the South Sudanese Community Members in Canada believe that if the IGAD leaders were able in mediating peace talks in the past not just the current crisis, they would be the best neutral bodies to succeed in this current conflict as well. Indeed, IGAD leaders were the ones who negotiated the North-South Sudan Civil War that cemented with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya which paved the way for “self-determination” for the people of South Sudan to choose for their referendum which eventually led to the succession of South from the North Sudan in 2011.
It is unfortunate if the same IGAD Leaders who are very experts and knowledgeable in mediating North-Sudan Sudan wars have only picked one side to recommend how the conflict has to be solve and excluded others (their own regional people) from participating in the roadmap that we all believe can bring a lasting peace in South Sudan. That is unbelievable for many of us if the same IGAD Leaders who could advise the rest of the world of how and who should be included in the dialogue are struggling to include the victims in the negation process. That is not a wise process.
South Sudan Stakeholders Forum for Peace and Reconciliation
South Sundaes Nuer Canadian Community and various South Sudanese Community members and leaders in diaspora Canada in particular have disqualified the selection process and denounced it as biased. This is because all the civil society, youth group, and faith-based organizations were “handpicked” groups which are dominated by the pro-government societies from Juba. There is no different from the government itself. Yes, they can participate in the peace process and reconciliation but not by themselves. Since there was No Coup that made Salva and his group to kill the Nuer children and women in the Nation’s Capital City Juba, those who are still suffering in the UN Camps either in South Sudan or outside should be the main victims whose views should be first considered no matter where they are. Those who are in various UN Camps known as IDPS comprised of all South Sudanese communities are the very victims to be given a chance in the peace process. For example, if all South Sudanese in diaspora were given a chance and participated during the referendum voting across the globe in 2011, why can’t they be participating again when there is crisis that requires all the stakeholders’ participation? Remember this is the beginning of a nation building. We, the South Sudanese Nuer Canadians and other South Sudanese in diaspora would like to invite the IGAD Mediators to look at or consider how we believe/view the real peace process and recompilation should be like. Ron Claassen, a long-time restorative justice practitioner, put it like this.
To resolve any type of wrongdoing, three things have to happen [be considered in the peace process]:
- The wrong or injustice must be acknowledged.
- Equity needs to be restored from the society.
- Future intentions need for nation building to be addressed in order to prevent the future violent.
Indeed, we the South Sudanese Canadian members and leaders wanted the “civil society organizations and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the UN Camps and in abroad from the neighbouring countries, such as those who have fled to Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, and Ethiopia to be part of the so called “inclusive roadmap”, as they are the very main victims. We strongly believe the representation of the above mentioned groups is important in order to incorporate their views on how to end the crisis. We also recommend the followings as genuinely and healthy approach for the interests of nation building, the Republic of South Sudan.
- First, focus on the harms and consequent needs of the victims as well as the communities and the offenders are core values. Our grave concerns are the non-representations of others stakeholders within the civil society and faith group who are participating in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia peace talk between the government and the rebel. It is simply failing the whole process and demoralizing innocent people’s hope and aspiration.
- Second, putting right requires that we address harms and causes. Addressing the obligations that result from those being harmed by the obligations of the offenders/perpetrators, the communities and societies at large are vital.
- Third, uses of inclusive and collaborative processes are crucial at this difficult time for all the people of South Sudan to be reintegrated again.
- Four, involving those with a legitimate stake in the situation, including victims, offenders, community members, and society.
- Five, seek to put right the wrong so various communities regain trust.
In her excellent handbook, Restorative Justice: a Vision for Healing and Change, Susan Sharpe summarized the goals and tasks of……peace process this way:
The Goals of Peace Process by Neutral Mediators should have the followings.
- Put key decisions into the hands of those most who are affected by crime.
- Make justice more healing and more transformative than fake peace, and
- Reduce the likelihood of future offences [for nation building].
[How to] Achieving these goals requires Neutral Mediators like IGAD to:
- Encourage collaboration and reintegration of victims and offenders (perpetrators), rather than coercion and isolation.
- Victims are involved in the [peace] process and some out of satisfied,
- [Actors] offenders understand how their actions have affected other people and take responsibility for those actions.
- Provide opportunities for dialogue, direct or indirect, between victim and offender as appropriate to form a genuinely and healthily recompilation for nation building.
- Find meaningful ways to involve the community and respond to the community based of crime.
- Outcomes help to repair the harms done and address the reasons for the offences (specific plans are tailored to the victim’s and the offender’s needs) and
- Victim and offender both gain a sense of “closure,” and both are reintegrated into the community based on positive agreement to avoid the future crime.
- Mediators to show respect to all victims and offenders (perpetrators).
Guiding Questions of Peace Process to restore Trust
- Who has been hurt?
- What are their needs?
- Whose obligations are these [who are the responsible for the crime]?
- Who has a stake in this situation?
- What is the appropriate process to involve all the stakeholders in an effort to put things right for the future?
Degrees of a Meaningful Peace Process to be considered by the IGAD:
- Does the model address harms, needs, and causes?
- Is it adequately victim-oriented process?
- Are offenders/perpetrators encouraged to take responsibility?
- Are all relevant stakeholders involved?
- Is there an opportunity for dialogue and participatory decision-making?
- Is the model respectful to all parties?
Based on the this view, we, the South Sudanese Canadian members (people) are concerned because it is our country, and we strongly believe that South Sudanese are all responsible when it comes on how the future of South Sudan Governance System will look like. This doe not need short cut or favoring one side by the mediators (IGAD). We, the South Sudanese Canadians who write this letter (article) have convinced that it is our hope the two most important issues, particularly inclusiveness of the rebel side, civil, faith group, students across South Sudanese in the neighbouring countries, and the formation of federal and transitional systems will be critically looked at for the interest of our nation to be like other African Countries and be able to contribute in both our affairs and in African or the world issues as well.
Decree after decree used by Salva Kiir Government was not what we the ordinary people of various South Sudanese were fighting for during the 21 years Sudan Civil War. We wanted the IGAD Mediating Team to be aware that ordinary people were not fighting to groom for a dictatorship in South Sudan, sorry! Peace and Reconciliation with looters of resources and the shown their philosophy be good guys during transitional government? There is no short cut by all the warring parties should it be from Salva Kiir Government, Dr. Riek Machar Rebels, and Group 11 comprised of Pagan Amum, Majaak Agot, Luk Joak, and the like. Sorry comrades. There is no short cut at this time for you the previous official whom some of you have been looting public resources in the name of struggle has no place at this critical time. Some of the G-11 members have dirty hands even during the development of the transitional constitution that Salva and his blood machine used to exterminate others. In the SPLM Party, you have no place, you the G-11 whom we the public were fighting for their release from jail in Juba. We wanted to make your behaviours public you the following comrades of Mr. Pagan Amum, John Luk Jok, Majaak Agot, and the rests of the G-11 who have turned the public trust down unless you have to convince the public that you guys did really try to wage the so called coup attempt on the December 15, 2013 without Dr. Machar. Coming to a federal system? The people of South Sudan are badly indeed needed a federal system in the Republic of South that will governance all of us (all stakeholders) with respect for the rule of law and diversity. In Canada, to compare all these issues faced by both mediators and South Sudanese when it comes to all these problems facing the Republic of South Sudan, they could find only one answer to solve them: federalism. The provinces [states] dared not remain separate, nor could they merge. They could (and did) from a federation, with a strong central government and parliament, but also with an ample measure of autonomy and self-government for each of the federating communities” in Canada, responsible government, the national cabinet, the bureaucracy, political parties: all these are basic feature government. The rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Chatter are:
Democratic rights for example, the right of every citizen to vote for their representatives of federal and provincial legislative, the right to elections at least every five years, though in time of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection, the life of a federal or provincial legislature may be prolonged by a two-thirds vote in the legislative assembly.
Fundamental freedoms (conscience, religion, thought, expression, peaceful assembly, and association).
In any democratic country like Canada or the United States, Mobility rights (to enter, remain in, or leave one’s own country, and to move into, and earn a living in, any province (or state) subject to certain limitations, notably to provide for “affirmative actions” programs for the socially or economically disadvantaged) is one of the federal system that we hope South Sudan dearly ought to have at this time.
There should be no fear economically and educationally as most South Sudanese become eager to have a federal government where an elected governor is accountable to his or her citizens in the respective state or province, where commissioners or mayors are accountable for their jurisdictions not the president of the country. Constitutionally, it contains a section on equalization and regional disparities that the national government and parliament and the provincial governments and legislatures are committed to promoting equal opportunities for the well-being of all citizens, furthering economic development to reduce disparities in opportunities, and providing essential public services of reasonable quality to all citizens” and this should fit in the life of all South Sudanese as well.
That the government and parliament are committed to the principle of making equalization payments to ensure that provincial [state] governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably and comparably levels of taxation. Tax payer money should not be pocketed individuals associated with blood machine leaderships. We, the South Sudanese Canadian Community members and leaders equally believe South Sudan can also be a federal nation as Canada and the United States of America. As diaspora members, we advise the IGAD Meditating teams to take the entire consensus from all the stakeholders into the account not the government supporters only. We do not want Juba Government, Civil and its faith groups to be the ones recommending the peace process and reconciliation as legitimate entity and exclude the very victims whose relatives and loved ones were systemically massacred in Juba on December 15-19, 2013. IGAD wanted South Sudan to have a just a lasting peace and harmony, we the South Sudanese in diaspora urge the regional and international members were to address harms, causes, and to explore the harms that the perpetrators have done to the victims of South Sudanese whom most of them those are still staying in the United Nations Camps across South Sudan since this conflict started; we would have a genuine and a lasting peace in South Sudan if Salva Kiir and his blood machine criminals who are to be held responsible and answerable to their fake coup. We hope the IGAD leaders and other international community leaders (the UN) will put this view under their considerations in the peace talk and the reconciliation. It is very crucial to note that we, the south Sudanese Community Leaders and members in Canada always appreciate the IGAD roles since North-Sudan Sudan Civil War, and now you have stood up with us. We will always appreciate your commitment as you wanted our country to be a viable state. Congratulation IGAD Leaders!