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New service complex opened in North Darfur

Tabit, December 8, 2015 (SSNA) -- The First Vice-President of Sudan and the Deputy Prime-Minister of Qatar officially opened a service complex in the Tabit Unit area in Tawila locality, North Darfur, today.

The complex is part of the Voluntary Return Programme, sponsored by Qatar since the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur was signed in 2011. It includes a police station, a rural hospital, a mosque, four schools, and a water station, and offers a model housing project and an economic project for poor families. The construction took three years, at a cost of $6 million. The Tabit Unit area consists of 28 villages that host more than 20,000 inhabitants.

In his opening speech, Qatari Deputy Prime-Minister Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud stated that his country planned to fund the construction of water wells in 11 Darfur localities, as well as 10 model villages at a total cost of $70 million.

For his part, First Vice-President Bakri Hassan Saleh called on the people in Darfur to participate in the referendum next year in which they can chose to return to the system of one administrative region or continue the current five Darfur states.

The Darfur Reconstruction Fund, headed by Qatar, has already realised 315 projects in Darfur, out of 1,071 planned projects which include schools, health centres, and police stations.

Displaced people living in Tabit told Radio Dabanga that they were not concerned, in particular after the security forces warned the population of Tabit not to raise any complaint to the first vice-president or the Qatari functionaries. “The first vice-president belongs to the government officials who protect the perpetrators of many atrocities in the region, including the mass rape of last year and the widespread militia attacks on villages in the area last week,”one of them commented.

He said that the displaced people who attended the opening ceremony had been brought in, “in more than 150 vehicles”, from El Fasher, Shangil Tobaya, Dar Es Salaam, Kalimendo, and Tawila.“The ceremony took place under tight security, involving government forces in more than 150 vehicles loaded with various weapons,” he further reported. “The vice-president and his entourage arrived in Tabit at 10.30 am by four helicopters, of which three belong to Unamid. They left again at 1 pm.”

On Sunday and Monday, thousands of newly displaced people who sought refuge near Tabit after their villages were pillaged and torched in repeated militia attacks last week, were deported to areas at a distance of at least one kilometre from the model service complex.

The source referred to the 36-hour mass rape that took place end October, early November last year. After a Sudanese soldier went missing in the village in the evening of 30 October, military forces of the nearby garrison entered Tabit the following day. While a number of soldiers seized and kept the men, others raped more than 200 girls and women.

Radio Dabanga received the first reports on the incidents on 2 November. Initially the local military commander apologised for the rape. The Sudanese government responded with fierce denials. Visitors as well as a Unamid verification team were barred from accessing the area for a week.

Exclusive: South Sudan’s government divided over rebel advance team visit

Juba, December 9, 2015 (SSNA) -- A government source who talked exclusively to the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) has told the SSNA on Wednesday that South Sudanese government’s position on the IGAD-Plus’s compromise peace agreement is not cohesive and that an elaborate strategy to disrupt the armed opposition’s plan to send its advance team to Juba to begin the implementation of the power-sharing deal is simply a daunting task; adding that the issue has already caused problems for the government.

The source, a high-ranking government official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the case and for fear of reprisal, revealed to the SSNA that deep division and power struggle among senior members of Salva kiir’s inner circle has created a serious issue, splitting “the once solid political block” into small sections 'hostile to each other’.

“The president finds himself in a rough position. We have hard-headed individuals who are clearly not for peace and they basically want the war to continue; that is their views,” the source told the SSNA.

“The SPLM party in the government, the once solid political block is now a party of small sections hostile to each other. As I speak to you [SSNA] now, the government does not have any unified position on how it can implement the peace deal,” the source disclosed.

The source also revealed that the ruling elites divided themselves into three groups: The first group is led by President kiir, VP Igga, and foreign minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin. The second group is headed by SPLA Chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan and information minister Michael Makuei Lueth. The third group is being spearheaded by South Sudanese Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk.

The highly placed source described group one led by the presidency as the faction that wants peace to return to the violence-ravaged young country. The source said group two doesn’t want any peace, let alone the implementation of the peace pact, declaring group three as a “confused faction” without any real say throughout the peace talks.

The source also alleged that the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), a group run by Dinka Elders does not want the current peace agreement to stick because the elders believe that the deal threatens Kiir's power. 

“We now have a country run by a mix of political and military leaders who cannot agree on a single point. I can tell you [SSNA] that the presidency is trying its best to abide by the IGAD-Plus’s peace rules; but those of Paul Malong and Michael Makuei are the worst enemies of South Sudan,” the source declared.

"I think the JCE is a disruptive organization that must be banned from talking about national issues," the source asserted.

The source further told the South Sudan News Agency that President kiir is considering removing people he labeled as “anti-peace elements” who want to tarnish his image both internally and internationally.

Rumor engulfs South Sudanese capital

For the last three days, South Sudan’s capital, Juba, has been engulfed by an ousting rumor that the planned visit of rebel advance team of at least 500 people scheduled to arrive in Juba at any day is actually a pretext for an official toppling of kiir’s regime.

The rumor has become the main talking point in the somewhat ghost-city, where large areas of the capital are still empty after residents fled to the UNMISS-run camps for their lives.

Fighting broke out in mid-December of 2013 between diverse units of presidential guards after many months of political fracas between senior leaders of the ruling SPLM party.

More than 2.3 million South Sudanese fled their homes, hundreds of thousands fled to the neighboring countries, and tens of thousands of people have been killed in the nearly two-year old civil war.

The Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan’s report on its September 2015 conference

Diaspora Unity for Peace Conference
“Uniting the Diaspora through Shared Vision for South Sudan”

Final Report: The Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan September 19, 2015

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Background,Appreciation                                                                             3 AbouttheCoalition Advocates for SouthSudan(CASS)                                                                  4 Unity for PeaceConferencePurpose                                                                                                5 Participants                                                                                                                                            6 Presenters:Church,CivilSociety,andGovernmentGroups                                                             6 ActiveParticipants:Dignataries,Individuals, andOrgnaization Representatives                     7 ConductoftheConference                                                                                                                         8 Rt. Rev. Peter Gai,ChairmanoftheSouthSudanCouncilofChurches                                               8 CharaNyaura,ExecutiveDirector andJames AtemTuor,CHNPR                                                       9

MignonCardentey,U.S.StateDepartment                                                                   10 ArekDeng, LuolDengFoundation                                                                                                  10 SarahRialandTheresaSamuel,GaPPSS                                                                                             11 Margaret Atarri, SouthSudaneseWomenUnited                                                                         11 SimonDeng,HumanRightsAdvocate                                                                                               12 Rev.James DakRut,Nuer ChristianMissionNetwork                                                                    12 Hon. ReathTang,SPLM-IO                                                                                                            13 LaduGubek,SPLM-IG                                                                                                                      14 Ambassador MiyongKuon, SPLM-IOUNRepresentative                                                   14 Ambassador BaakV. Wol,DeputyChiefofMissionatSouthSudanEmbassy                                  14

Dr. MajokDAgoot,Former PoliticalDetainee                                                    14,15

TheAttendees Speak                                                                                     15,16,17,18

LisoGroup Questions                                                                                                15 Whatis Our Visionfor SouthSudan?                                                                                                16 WhatMustbeDonetoAchieveOur Vision?                                                                                       16 GovernmentPracticeChanges                                                                                                          17 Healing, Forgiveness,Restoration,and Reconciliation                                                               17

PeopleChanges –We MustChangeOurselves                                                    17,18

Legal Changes,Institutional Change                                                                            18 Conclusion,VOA AudioReport,andReflection                                                                                 19

AppendixA                                                                                                               20,21

AppendixB                                                                                             22,23,24,25,26

BACKGROUND

November 24, 2015 (SSNA) -- On Sept 19, 2015, the Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS) conducted a conference seeking to unite the North American Diaspora for a peaceful South Sudan. A capacity group assembled at the Embassy Suites Downtown in Des Moines, Iowa, for the conference. The conference brought together South Sudanese from multiple political and ethnic backgrounds during a time when the Civil War had eroded social fabrics and mutual trust among the people. The conference was well attended by leaders of community, women and Church groups and regional organizations representing people from all the states of South Sudan. Also American friends of South Sudan who have been working at different capacities – those who lead and support humanitarian work and those wish and work for peace to come to South Sudan attended.


APPRECIATION

CASS is a volunteer group. Its work depends on generosity of individuals and humanitarian organizations. This conference was supported financially by Trinity Presbytery’s South Sudan Ministry and Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church both located in Lexington, South Carolina. We are most grateful for their support, as the conference would not have been possible without it. Thank you for helping us to make this step in bringing peace to the people of South Sudan.

About the Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan
Voice of the South Sudan Diaspora

The Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS) was estab- lished in April 2014 with the following:

Mission: CASS seeks to establish a just and lasting peace in South Sudan. Our advocacy is directly informed by the situation on the ground and the South Sudanese people who urgently seek: justice, peace, an end to violence, and establishment of a democratic nation with equality for all.

Membership: CASS members primarily are South Sudanese now living in North America; they come from various ethnic backgrounds and work together with the interest of all the people of South Sudan at the fore rather than any specific group. All agree to place current and historical ethnic issues behind them and work for the good of all South Sudanese.
All agree that all groups and cultures are equal in value if not in population.

CASS seeks to accomplish its mission by drawing into its membership, representatives of all major diaspora groups so that the diaspora can speak with one voice as it seeks to accomplish its mission.

Strategically, CASS focuses on the most immediate issue at hand in a progression from (1) ending the armed conflict and allowing humanitarian aid to reach all the people who need it, (2) establishing an interim government, (3) establishing accountability for all, (4) followed by healing the trauma caused by the civil war, and (5) reconciliation. This will bring lasting peace….Shalom.

PURPOSE

The purpose of the conference was to engage South Sudanese Diaspora in North America to overcome what divides them while promoting what unites them. This is one essential step in unifying the diaspora so that we move forward with an overall goal of a just and lasting peace in South Sudan. The group was tasked to develop a shared vision for South Sudan - or what they want South Sudan to become for their family, friends and all the people of the nation. As a part of this, the attendees will appreciate the importance of speaking with one voice as they call for an immediate end to the conflict and support actions leading to a realization of peaceful South Sudan where all the citizens will be protected and provided with basic services. Achieving this will also dramatically reduce the abuse of social media with messages encouraging hatred and prolonging conflict.

PARTICIPANTS

Presenters included broad representation from the Church, Civil Society, and Government Groups such as:

Rt. Rev. Peter Gai, Chairman of the South Sudan Council of Churches;
Ms. Chara Nyara Nyaura, Executive Director of South Sudan’s Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation;
Mignon Cardentey, U.S. State Department;
Simon Deng, Sudan Freedom Walk;
Arek Deng, Executive Director, Luol Deng Foundation;
Rev. James Dak Rut, Nuer Christian Mission Network of North America; Sarah Rial, Chairwoman, Global Partnership for Peace in South Sudan;

Representatives of the Government of South Sudan, the SPLM-USA Secretariat, SPLM- IO, Former Detainees including were also on hand. This include Amb. Baak V.A. Wol, Hon. Reath Muoch Tang, Ladu Gubek, Dr. Majak D`Agoot, and Amb. Miyong Kuon.

Active participants included several dignitaries, individuals and representatives of:

Jonglei Peace Initiative – North America (JPINA); Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan; Sudan Advocacy Action Forum; Equatorian South Sudan Community Association–USA; Global Partnership for Peace in South Sudan; Talking Bibles International; South Sudanese Women Christian Mission for Peace; Dialogue on South Sudan; Justice and Peace Commission, Catholic Church Diocese of Malakal; PC (USA) Ministry at the United Nations; Mading Aweil Community; SPLM/SPLA Youth League (USA); St. Mary’s Parish; Lakeside Presbyterian Church; Summit Evangelical Free Church, Maban Community; St. John Lutheran Church; South Sudan Women United; Youth Empowering Societies Through Service; South Sudan Women Chraiz; Parara-USA; PCMAA, Houston; St. Ambrose Cathedral Catholic Church, Chollo Community; SPLM/SPLA Youth League (NE); Lou Nuer Community; Access Global; Nile Peace Development Peace Agency; Sudanese Community Church (Omaha); Evangelical Covenant Church; Nile Institute for Peace and Development; Voice of America; ESSCA (Iowa); ROSS USA; South Sudan Healthcare Organization; South Sudanese Women and Children Outreach Society of Minnesota; Westminster Presbyterian Church; NCMN; Eyerly Ball CMHS; Nuer Community Development Service (NCDS); BOFASS; GBC-USA; World Food Prize Foundation; ASSD; USASSCA; Ambassador Group; Darfur Advocacy Group of South Carolina; South Sudanese Community in Illinois; American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan; Acholi Community; SSUDA; Trinity South Sudan Ministry; Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church and others.

Conduct of the Conference

The conference began with presentations from religious and civic leaders some of whom came from Juba, South Sudan. Among these were: Rt. Rev. Peter Gai who is Chairman of the South Sudan Council of Churches; Chara Nyaura (Executive Director) and James Atem Tuor of South Sudan’s Committee for National Peace, Healing and Reconciliation.

Although Rt. Rev. P et er Gai was quite ill on his arrival in the USA from South Sudan, he refused to go to the emergency room until he had an opportunity to speak to “His” people. The Chairman of the South Sudan Council of Church challenged the people of faith to lead the healing and reconciliation of the people. He acknowledged that South Sudan is and has gone through difficult times but is hopeful because the people are resilient and committed to recover from the present challenges. He shared the experiences of Rwanda, a country that was devastated by brutal tribal conflict in 1990s but is now a reconciled, peaceful and fast developing nation noting that the South Sudan Council of Churches will use Rwandans’ lessons learned in leading South Sudanese to forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration.

CNHPR’s initial action was to train peace mobilizers/ambassadors from all ten states and Abyei Administrative Area of South Sudan. Current action includes continuing to train peace mobilizers, and they have initiated a pilot began in Warrap State where CHNPR has trained 55 peace mobilizers. The peace mobilizes go from Payam to Payam asking people to identify what they see as threats for peace in their County and how they propose solving the identified problems. If successful, this program will be taken to other states. See the link below to see the videos about the work of the CNHPR in South Sudan: http://www.reconciliationsouthsudan.org/

Mignon Cardent ey represented Ambassador Donald Booth, President Obama’s Special Envoy to South Sudan. Ms. Cardentey shared a video address in which Amb. Booth underscored the White House commitment to support CASS members on their endeavor to promote unity of the Diaspora for a peaceful South Sudan.

Message from Amb. Booth to the Diaspora for Unity Conference:
https://vimeo.com/vpu/review/139581521/85503d9411

Ms. Cardentey also read a letter from Amb. Booth, prepared for the event, to the South Sudanese diaspora. See Appendix A.

Representing the Luol Deng Foundation, Arek Deng acknowledged that many South Sudanese groups in North America are working for peace in South Sudan. While that is encouraging, she noted that it is important for these groups to join hands and work together. The Luol Deng Foundation is committed to work alongside and support those who are championing this cause of uniting the people for peace as CASS is doing. Arek challenged the participants to see themselves as people of South Sudan to be mindful about what they say about other groups or communities, noting “We all must be peace ambassadors.” Arek also highlighted the need for women’s voices to be heard in this struggle for a peaceful South Sudan. Lastly she applauded CASS for creating this forum for South Sudanese to bring their minds together to join in restoring peace back home.

Sarah R ial and Theresa Sam u el shared with the participants some background information about Global Partnership for Peace in South Sudan (GaPPSS), its mission, vision, and activities. They also shared outcomes from a healing and reconciliation training workshop held in Boston in late July 2015 that was attended by CASS  leadership members and others. The Boston’s workshop provided a valuable baseline  for the CASS conference in Iowa, especially in bringing the leadership from the government and opposition together.

Margaret Ata rri addressed the group on the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation. Margaret is the coordinator of the South Sudanese Women United, a group that focuses on distributing thousands of copies of the Book of Forgiving by Bishop Desmond Tutu to South Sudanese in and outside South Sudan. The core of her message was people should read the book and forgive themselves first before forgiving others. SSWU made available copies of The Book of Forgiving and “South Sudan Humanity Before Politics” t-shirts.

Simon Deng briefed the gathering on  his peace advocacy  work. Before the conference Simon had did a long hunger strike in the front of the White House. The strike was intended to raise awareness about the suffering of the people of South Sudan and particularly urging the USA Government to take a more concert actions in support of an end to the conflict. Deng hunger strike is possibly part the Americans voices that pressured President Obama to included South Sudan on the list of his agenda for political visit to Africa. Deng encouraged South Sudanese to burry tribalism and embrace the spirit of nationhood.

Rev. J ames Dak Rut emphasized how churches can play a major and positive role in reconciliation, but it must recognize what went wrong in order to advocate against it. He therefore encouraged the attendees to join hands in this endeavor while pointing out the lack of diversity in the past rallies calling for peace and accountability. Despite his concerns, he still urged his fellow church and community leaders to work together in order to restore the lost trust between communities.

Ladu Gubek representing the SPLM (in-government) secretariat in the US, forcefully noted that all the people of South Sudan must open their hearts and begin to see themselves as brothers and sisters and people of one nation. He underscored the importance of true forgiveness.      Rebuking those who advocate violence, he proclaimed that only through honest dialogue can the nation recover. If we are to achieve the common goal of making South Sudan a good place for our people to live in for generations to come, we must avoid seeing through ethnic identities, but see ourselves as one nation. The work of CASS must be emulated by all South Sudanese in Diaspora—bringing people together to discuss issues in a respectful manner and safe environment.

Ambassador M iyong Ko un, SPLM-I/O UN representative, commended CASS for doing an excellent job of mobilizing South Sudanese to unite as one people. He said the mindset of tribal politics fueled the December 2013 outbreak of violent conflict. The Ambassador stated his political group leader, Dr. Riek Machar, has embarked on the mission of making sure the current peace deal is implemented in good faith. He will tour the US to speak to South Sudanese from all political spectrums as the designated first vice president of South Sudan.

Ambassador Baak V. Wol, Deputy Chief of Mission at the South Sudanese Embassy, opened his remarks with a word of encouragement for the Diaspora to work together. He said, “The united diaspora is better than the divided one and you are divided!” The Ambassador observed that this CASS Conference is the first time he has been invited to a gathering where South Sudanese come together regardless of their political differences. He commented that since the conflict broke out, the relationship of government and the people in diaspora has been strained. He praised CASS for inviting him to come speak in person as a government representative to his people. Ambassador Wol reminded everyone that this country, which we call South Sudan, fought for more than 50 years for our independence, so it is our collective responsibility to safeguard its sovereignty. Concluding, he encouraged South Sudanese to reconcile their communities and support peace wherever they are.
 
Dr. M ajok D’ Agoot , a Former Political Detainee, began by commending CASS for working for unity and emphasizing the significance of the theme of the conference “Uniting the Diaspora through a Shared Vision for South Sudan”.
 
It was a shared vision that enabled us to liberate South Sudan and is what inspired our nation’s founding father Dr. John Garang and all the martyrs “whose blood cemented the foundation of our nation as we sing in our nation anthem”.
 
Through a shared vision we can embrace both unity and diversity. Dr. Majak acknowledged that the current conflict has created deep division and destroyed social fabrics; therefore Diaspora must come together and overcome these divisions by forgiving each other and restoring unity and harmony among themselves. By leading the way, the diaspora would enable others to “embrace peace for a stable home- land.” He said South Sudan is at a critical juncture and it is incumbent upon all of us to make sure the country is not allowed to break into pieces. He thanked President Salva Kiir, Dr. Riek Machar and all the stakeholders for signing the Compromise Peace Agreement. The peace deal which has been signed provides a great opportunity for South Sudanese to rescue the country  from breaking up and falling into anarchy. He encouraged CASS to continue bringing the diaspora together and political leaders to work together for the interest of the country.

The Attendees Speak
 
Following the presentations, the attendees broke up into groups and responded to the following questions:
is What is our Vision for South Sudan?
    What must be done to achieve that vision? and,
    Are we willing to work together to make peace a reality? What practical and prioritized actions do we need to take?

What is our Vision for South Sudan?

CASS provided a forum for South Sudanese of different political and ethnic backgrounds to come up with a shared vision for South Sudan. There must be a vision jointly reached so that all will be committed to make it a reality. The 300 members agreed that vicious cycle of hate and violence already had threatened the existence of the multi-ethnic nation of South Sudan.

The attendees were asked to write down their vision for South Sudan. When taken all together and summarized, this is the response of the thirteen groups.
 
1.South Sudan is a reconciled, unified and stable country, proud of its diversity as represented by its 64 tribes and enjoying equality, peace and harmony.
2.      The government of South Sudan is democratic federal government whose powers are vested by a permanent, citizen-informed constitution and whose
leaders are qualified and committed to serving the people of South Sudan and whose systems are efficient, transparent and free of corruption.
3.      The people of South Sudan are educated and healthy, and they enjoy freedom;
protection through justice, accountability, and the rule of law; and prosperity through the effective management of the country’s resources and the empowerment of the people to reach their unlimited potential.
4.      South Sudan is an example for the continent and respected among the nations.
 
    See Appendix B for detailed responses
 
What Must Be Done to Achieve Our Vision?
 
While the responses were as diverse as were the participants, in a general sense, the group focused on five issues which are listed in the order of importance to the group based on the number of comments in each:
 
Required Government Practice Changes
Healing, Forgiveness, Restoration and Reconciliation Changes that the People Must Make
Legal Changes
Institutional Change
 
Government Practice Changes
 
1.    Leaders must be selected who put the people before themselves, who recognize that leadership is a privilege and not a right, who understand that they are responsible to the people, and who will carry out their responsibilities under the law.  Leaders must avoid personal corruption and punish those who are corrupt.
2.      The government must earn the trust of the people through transparency and accountability. It must judge people by character and qualifications rather than
by ethnicity.
3.      Freedoms must be cherished especially freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom from false imprisonment, and the freedom to pursue happiness.
4.      Government must promote safety and stability rather than a rule by violence. It
must respect and encourage the rule of law.
5.      Government must include real separation of powers and a watchdog element to assure equity, integrity, optimal use of resources, accountability, transparency and avoidance of nepotism, tribalism, favoritism, and corruption.
6.      Leaders must promote a national identify and patriotism; avoid creating expectations which cannot be met; and be accessible to the public.
 
Healing, Forgiveness, Restoration and Reconciliation
 
1.      Establishment of justice is an essential first step. Such justice may take any number of forms, including restoration, but the form must be acceptable to those who were harmed. This process must include an element which seeks to  prevent future such harm.
2.      Following the establishment of justice, it is vital to work to allow forgiveness.
Acknowledging that this is a difficult process, it is an essential one which in the eyes of some requires confession to allow the establishment of trust.
3.      Only with Justice in place and forgiveness on track, will it be possible for true healing and restoration to begin. This is envisioned as a lengthy process which
involves: beyond accepting, we must embrace the positive value of diversity and both ethnic and gender equality; instruction on the law and rule of law; and developing cross cultural relationships.
4. Only through this process can real peace be achieved.
 
People Changes – We must change ourselves.
 
1. Recognizing that much of the problem lies within us as individuals, we need to fundamentally change our own attitudes toward other people and groups. To accomplish this we must ask God for help in changing our hearts.
2.      We must take ownership of our negative attitudes and learn to enhance the positive aspects of each ethnic group because our focus on negatives reflects our
prejudice.

3.   We must emphasize our commonality as South Sudanese, embrace our ethnic diversity, and celebrate our cultures acknowledging that all tribes are equal in value if not in size.
4.      As the diaspora we must align our views with those of the people and focus on their needs. We have a strong passion to support South Sudan but are removed
from the reality on the ground.
5.      We need the support of the Church as it has our trust and can teach us to respect the dignity of all people and make us aware of negative myths.
6.      Embrace diversity and transform ourselves towards choosing peace, working together, and setting a better example for the future.
7.      Focus on changing youth from their current destructive practices to useful skills for a new nation.
 
Legal Changes
 
1.      We need a new Constitution. Revise the constitution in ways that allow full participation by the people rather than a select, elite group. The Constitution should provide for a federal system in which great care is taken in the allocation of powers to the central and state governments.
2.      Establish three independent branches of government with each serving as a check and balance on the others. Assure that justice roles are properly divided among each of the branches.
3.      Disestablish the SPLA and prohibit any political party from having its own military group. Replace it with a true national army which is smaller, better trained and loyal to the Constitution.
 
Institution Changes
 
1.   Establish strong institutions which promote education, health, national and local security and stability, basic freedoms including: religion, speech, assembly, life and liberty.
2.      Institutions must be able to: implement service delivery, equitable distribution of national resources, and wealth sharing; empowerment of
citizens; better management of resources; implementation of federalism in the interest of the nation, promote and support the return of Diaspora.
3.      Institutions must develop and support long range planning for the nation and
assure the continued respect for citizen’s rights, democracy and appropriate freedoms.

“Uniting the Diaspora through Shared Vision for South Sudan”

CONCLUSION:

This was an effective step toward achieving a South Sudanese Diaspora in North America which is unified toward ending conflict and establishing a new order in South Sudan which values diversity, ethnic differences, law and order, unity as a nation focused on citizens with freedoms, safety, stability and peace that they may have an opportunity to obtain an education and progress. All agreed that they were willing to take the actions and make the changes needed to achieve the vision.

Note: Ayen Bior of Voice of America covered the conference. Hear her report at:

REFLECTION:

As one attendee reflected about the CASS Conference on his Facebook page:

“If there is one redeeming quality to the storyline which is unfolding across the South Sudanese diaspora as well as the homeland, it is that ordinary citizens are beginning to find their own voices in matters of war, peace and development. I got a glimpse of that last Saturday at the Diaspora Unity for Peace Conference held in Des Moines, Iowa. Organized by the Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS)--a  collection  of activists and civil society leaders in North America-- this day-long event was aimed at uniting the diaspora in furtherance of the peace deal which was signed recently in the twin cities of Juba and Addis Ababa. Many emerging voices expressed moral outrage at the tribal war that has ripped apart the world's youngest country. Through those voices rang a genuine desire for lasting peace. So with these many peace advocates and leaders of grassroots organizations now coming together and giving people an opportunity to find and express clarity in their true voices, I think all that remains for the entire country to realize genuine and lasting peace is for every citizen both in the greater diaspora as well as the home front to come together in an act of moral imagination and begin working hard for an era of peace and national healing, resolving to organize and organize effectively for equitable development of that beloved homeland called South Sudan”.   Joseph Deng Garang

Appendix A

September 17, 2015

To the South Sudanese Diaspora in the United States:

Your collective efforts to support peace and reconciliation in South Sudan are an essential part of building a sustainable peace.  Over the past twenty months, I have heard over and over again from the people of South Sudan – those in the country, those displaced, and those in the Diaspora
– that they seek peace and reconciliation.  South Sudan is now at a moment of renewed hope and you have an important role to play.

As you know, after 20 months of negotiations, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development mediation—with the support of many international partners, including the United States— proposed a compromise agreement to achieve peace in South Sudan. The accord negotiated by
the government, opposition, and other South Sudanese parties offers an end to this senseless conflict and an opportunity to reconcile communities and reclaim the promise of a bright future. As President Obama stated in July while in Addis, “…. our hope, is that we can actually bring about the kind of peace that the people of South Sudan so desperately need,” and this Administration will remain a steadfast partner in pursuit of peace.

I strongly believe that this agreement is an opportunity for the people of South Sudan to rewrite their future. The Diaspora has an important role to play, bringing skills, and new ideas to bear as South Sudan rebuilds.  Through social media and your interactions with family and friends in South Sudan, your voices have an impact.

I encourage you to read the agreement and form your own opinions.  I want to take this opportunity to share some facts about this agreement—what it includes, and what it does not— in six key areas:

Transitional Governance: This agreement does offer a 30-month period of transition. It does not represent a permanent governance arrangement for South Sudan. The agreement does create  a transitional system whereby no single entity or group has total control, a system that is structured to encourage decision-making by consensus. It does not focus on power-sharing alone, but also creates a range of other transitional mechanisms that facilitate broader participation, and introduce important checks and balances. It does not encourage tribal politics, or undermine the sovereignty or the territorial integrity of South Sudan.

Security: This agreement does introduce a comprehensive ceasefire to end the fighting, and special security arrangements in Juba and elsewhere that aim to provide a safe and secure environment for all citizens. It provides a mechanism to monitor the cantonment of fighters in designated areas while re-unification of the army occurs over a realistic timeframe of 18 months. And it establishes a strategic review that will guide reform of the security sector. It does not create “two armies” for South Sudan.

Economic and Financial Management: This agreement does establish a mechanism that will ensure responsible, transparent, and inclusive management of the country’s resources at the national level, in accordance with South Sudanese law.  It allows more constituencies to exercise a greater say in how those resources are allocated, and strengthens measures to fight the scourge of corruption.  It does not cede financial control to outsiders.

Justice and Reconciliation: This agreement does create three important mechanisms to help communities heal; a Special Fund for Reconstruction, a Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, and a Hybrid Court—backed by the African Union and administered jointly by South Sudanese and international judges.  It does not offer blanket amnesties for those who have committed crimes.

Permanent Constitution and Elections: This agreement does provide for a new constitutional process and timelines, anchored by broad-based popular consultations.  It does provide a clear roadmap to free and fair elections at the end of the transitional period. It does not put the future solely in the hands of elites, but instead allows the people an opportunity to forge a more peaceful, inclusive, and lasting set of governance arrangements.

Implementation: This agreement does establish an inclusive body, comprising South Sudanese actors and international partners, to jointly monitor and evaluate the implementation of the agreement. Such a body is essential to ensure the agreement is fairly implemented. It does not usurp the sovereignty of South Sudan or the transitional government; indeed, those supporting this process and the coming transition are the very friends who supported the people of South Sudan in their decades-long struggle for independence.

I encourage all South Sudanese, including the Diaspora, to consider the opportunity presented by this compromise agreement. Building a sustainable peace will not be easy.  But it must start now, and it will require the courage and goodwill of all South Sudanese.  The United States will remain a partner to all South Sudanese who are committed to implementation of this agreement. We will support the people of South Sudan in ending this conflict, in reconciling their communities, and in realizing the peace and security the country rightly deserves.

Sincerely,

Donald Booth
U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan

Appendix B

Some Individual Group Reports

Zebra Group

Vision: Prosperous, peaceful South Sudan. How to achieve the vision?
    Accountability/ learned government who learnt the lessons of the war.
    Justice for the victims
    Forgiveness
    Constitution change- Consult citizens in constitution
    Finding peace
    Federal system
Group two

Vision: A country where accountability, transparency and trust between citizens and government is cherished. Where national diversity and inclusiveness is embraced. Where governments are elected free, with freedom of speech and people are not judged by their ethnic background. Free of violence where citizens are educated and engage in strategic and grand planning.

How to achieve the vision?
 
  Self acceptance of national diversity and inclusiveness
     A country led by the government of the people (Democratic Leaders)
     A nation where you are judged by the content of your character not by your ethnicity
     Good governance and where opportunities are created for all
     A united diverse country that is free of violence
     A country where accountability, transparency and trust are cherished
     A patriotic nation
     A nation educated by citizens
     Respect of freedom of speech and tolerance
     A nation that is engaged in strategic and grand planning
     A nation of hard working people that aim to improve themselves
Group Three (Reformed Group)
 
Vision: A country where citizens work together- no corruption and build trust-unify the people- reconciliation- reform the system- eliminate tribalism- end corruption- deliver basic services- strong action and a good court system- fight favoritism and nepotism- work collectively regardless to where you are from

How to achieve the vision?
 
    Rewrite the constitution
     An inclusive society
     Community and village outreach with 46 groups
     Educate the population on the important of rule of law
     Equality – promote gender equality
     Strong accountability
     Federal and trusted system of governance
     Build trust
     Talk about forgiveness- put country first
     Justice for all
     Increase networks
     Education- get the support of the churches as it teaches dignity- churches has access to many people- raise awareness against negative myths
     Truth telling- reconciliation – admit your wrong doing

Advocate Group

Vision: free, unified, prosperous, federal, and democratic nation in which all are equal How to achieve the vision

     Healing and reconciliation, Reformed government system, Freedom of speech, Permanent constitution
     Conflict prevention/intervention measures-Justice / accountability-Delivery of services-Eradication of tribalism
     Unity in Diversity -Rule of Law-Serious journalism to promote democracy-Economic / political development
     Informed citizens-Peace promoted by government-Acceptance of each other
     Tolerance and respect of the right of others-Building / strengthening institutions-Commitment to our shared - visions/ values- Functional democracy
      
     Vision: A reconciled society that embraces diversity – living in peace and prosperity How to achieve the vision?
     Create platforms for inclusive dialogue and actions to foster forgiveness and reconciliation, national identity and social cohesion, through the establishment of collaborative and integrated mechanisms-that are inclusive of custodians, guarantors and beneficiaries
      
    Open Dialogue Group
 
Vision:  United South Sudan with respect for and love of life How to achieve the vision?
    Commonality among ourselves as South Sudanese, getting out of the comfort zone /breaking the limitations, getting rid of SPLA, government accepting proposals- options
    Formulate a youth group that would go back to SS, coalition – different tribes to go back under the protection

Dove Group

Vision: Need to build a stable country- federal system- no tribalism- establish a permanent constitution and provide
excellent services
 
How to achieve the vision?
 
    Adopt CASS values and principles, develop trust and acceptance for each other
    Overcome greed, acceptance of mistakes and seeking forgiveness
    Overcome tribalism, watch dog over corruption and nepotism
    Implementation of service delivery ,Equitable distribution of national resources and wealth sharing, Empowerment of citizens, input from the Diaspora must be valued for nation building, better management of resources ,implementation of federalism in the interest of the nation ,need support of western nation to support return of Diaspora
    Convert youth from destruction practices to nation building, commitment to follow up on implementation of resolution, nation building efforts have to include citizens and Diaspora combined.
 
Group
 
Vision : Peaceful united citizens- grassroots common vision- same page-understand our strength in our unity hence united and democratic country living in peace and harmony.
How to achieve the vision?
 
    Democracy- freedom of expression- religion- unity- infrastructure- education- health care and security
    Strong public institutions
    What about tribes?
     
    National identity- large groups should not dominate- tribal democracy
    Economics- resources should be managed properly- utilize all resources- strong dependent on oil- encourage private industry and modern management
     
    Group
 
Vision:  A country where peace is supported, war stopped - military reformed hold elected officials accountable and the current, peace agreement is implemented without reservations
 
How to achieve vision?
     Pressure leaders to implement peace agreement- implement workshops in other places- unite
     community behind peace- impose sanctions- arm embargo rather than individual sanctions Economy- stability- security- reform- stop culture of tribes- good governance

Group 13

Vision:  A country with embraced unity, peace and reconciliation. How to achieve the vision?

    Ask God for help and change in heart and put God first

    Embrace diversity and transform it towards choosing peace and work together to build ourselves and be a better example to overcome what happened

    SS to be a global leader

    Leadership that is committed to serve

    Develop an answer to the question of identity

    What is the vision for SS?

    There is a strong passion by the Diaspora to support SS- but we are removed from the reality in the ground

    Create expectations that can be met

    There is also a need to align the views of the Diaspora with the needs of SS

    Defeat tribalism

    Advocate to interact with other cultures and tribes

    Create a movement that celebrates the positive attributes of our culture

    Enhance the positive part of every ethnic group- enhance similarities because differences are myths

    Take ownership in denouncing negative attributes

    Encourage security- law of the land and business

    A system that embraces all the common values

    Support wounded hearts and trauma healing

    Forgiveness – understanding the truth- moving forward- trust- respect- embraces and acknowledges our diversity

    Healing includes- acknowledgement- forgiveness and mechanisms to safeguard wrong from happening again

    We create a system where we plan to achieve core values through forgiveness- implementation- healing mechanisms- and restoring trust

    To build a SS community that empowers one another through showing leadership that provides tangible source opportunities

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