By Elhag Paul
August 18, 2014 (SSNA) -- The United Nations protection camps in the middle of government controlled areas in South Sudan are frankly speaking prisons of President Salva Kiir managed by the UN and funded by the western world tax payers. I sit here and think: how on earth could a world body with the ability to master enough power from its member states to hold the feral leaders of South Sudan accountable have allowed itself to be reduced to prison warders and happily it goes along with it.
The initial decision of the UN in December 2013 to protect civilians by opening its gates wide is a commendable act and it must be praised. However, these camps should not have been allowed to morph into prisons holding totally innocent people who have not committed any crimes apart from being born members of certain targeted ethnicities.
While the UN is honouring its duty to protect the right to life, it has through the back door been pushed to violate other human rights of those it is protecting by acting as prison warders for the feral dictator of South Sudan. President Salva Kiir must be laughing his head off for turning a world body into his own instrument of oppression. Look at it, technically the UN in South Sudan is now complicit in the abuse of South Sudanese by its own naive acceptance to protect without immediately holding the criminals to account and letting itself become a violator of its own ideals of human rights. For example, life in these UN protection camps as spoken about by the aid agencies can easily be classified as inhumane. Please see, ‘Horrific conditions in flooded UN camp’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28714774 and ‘South Sudan’s New War: abuses by government and opposition forces’ http://www.hrw.org/node/126088
With all these violations going on, the super powers of the world are paying a blind eye. Well, these may be only Africans suffering and given the perception that has clouded the literature and interaction of the developed world and the third world, the appalling conditions of the South Sudanese in the UN camps may not be seen as deserving attention to invoke the instruments relating to grave violations of human rights. Obviously, the curse of oil and natural resources may have something to do with the unacknowledged abuse of South Sudanese by their dictator leaders.
IGAD is complicit in advancing and promoting the neglect of the rights of South Sudanese by pretending that it can solve the problems of South Sudan. Their trumpeted slogan of “African solutions for African problems” is a vehicle for the world powers to hide behind from their global responsibility to stamp justice in South Sudan. A responsibility, some of these powers are happy to embrace when advancing their own interest, but not in the service of humanity as in the case of South Sudan. The African solutions the IGAD pride itself on to say the least are product of malicious mind designed to protect the abusers. After all, IGAD membership has some of the worst dictators in Africa. Logically, how can any reasonable person expect a club dominated by some vile dictators solve a problem created by one of them. This is like accusing a fox who has stolen and eaten chickens to a leader of skulk howling about Fox solutions to fox problems with expectation of a just solution.
Let us look at their African solutions for South Sudan. IGAD is convinced that if it can reconcile the various warring factions of the SPLM, South Sudan will return to peace. Please see, ‘The solution of South Sudan’s political problems lies in new blood’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201404040507.html and ‘IGAD’s inadequate strategy in South Sudan’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201404140864.html In spite of the fact that this position is not supported by any evidence, they plough on with it while the damage on the lives of the innocent in South Sudan goes on.
Now in Addis Ababa the warring parties with the blessing of IGAD are being allowed to negotiate themselves out of their grave crimes against humanity and return into power at the expense of the people (victims). Really, if the over 20,000 people killed in Juba; the over 100,000 people in the UN Protection prison camps; the over 400,000 people pushed into refuge in neighbouring countries; and the over 1,300,000 people displaced internally was to happen in the other continents, would the powers that be not intervene decisively and swiftly to right the wrong? When less than a 1000 people were killed in Bosnia, the world powers immediately intervened, saved lives and held the culprits to account. Why is the world then not decisive to end the abuse of the South Sudanese people? Why are the powers that be pampering the feral leaders of South Sudan whose hands are dripping with blood of innocent people? Why do the powers that be talk about ineffective sanctions and condoning the imprisonment of the innocent victims in those UN protection prison camps without a solution in sight?
The abuses in South Sudan should not only be localised for this may be the beginning of dictators around the world and specifically in Africa acquiring the tools of how to trash the instruments of human rights that took centuries to build. Some may be gleefully rubbing their hands and thinking about how to abuse certain ethnicities that they abhor for whatever reasons or another. The activities of dictators and non state actors in many parts of the world if allowed to go unchecked as it is being allowed in South Sudan in the long run may plunge the world into total chaos.
When world bodies are co-opted into the machine of abuse and terror like UN in South Sudan, something is seriously wrong with the mores of the global community embodied in this organisation. This poses a real challenge to the moral fabric of the world. Therefore, the UN and the world powers need to rethink their position on South Sudan. Like late musician Michael Jackson sang in his famous song, ‘Man in mirror’. “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.” It is time that the moral of the world is restored before feral leaders around the globe begin to trash the current structures in place for world peace. Thus, UN must stop shouldering the role of prison management in South Sudan by intervening appropriately and decisively.
The South Sudan conflict and the recommended process to address it challenge the moral of the world. If all the ideals that are at the core of human rights ideology intended for advancement of society built in the last 300 years are not to wear off then the world truly needs to do something radical to address it. The structures for maintenance of world peace erected initially in 1920 and later on replaced by the United Nations after the Second World War risk being gradually destroyed by cynical actions of dictators and non state actors in different parts of the globe. For example, the case of South Sudan is a typical one.
The universality of humanity is now parcelled into relative geographical regions without emphasis on the rights of humanity as stipulated in the various instruments. Under this arrangement it is easy for the powerful countries or the supposed guardians of the world to turn blind eyes to the grave crimes against humanity in faraway lands like South Sudan. The new buzz words and phrases are “African solutions for African problems”. What this presupposes is that if Africans are massacring themselves, that remains their problem and the world needs not to intervene.
In South Sudan, a monster slaughters children, women and elderly in broad day light in their tenth of thousands and displaces over million people causing serious regional problem unbelievably it stirs no moral outrage whatsoever in the conscience of the custodians of the world. In relation to Africans, the question that has been asked for centuries remains truly valid today: has the life of an African any value? Are the decisions taken by the custodian of the world really not clouded by the beliefs of “them” and “us”, “civilised” and “savage” developed world and the third world? Else why is the death of tenth of thousands of African people down played by the western media and not taken seriously as it should to draw the attention of the world?
IGAD has been a total failure and numerous calls for it to be discarded and replaced by eminent person have been met with deaf ears. The shameful failure of IGAD is capped by the passing of its deadline on 10th August 2014 in relation to formation of interim government in South Sudan. The United Nation Security Council’s recent visit to the region though understands the situation it still puts faith on the hopeless process. “The council has made it very clear that it is prepared to impose consequence if there continue to be spoilers, if there continue to be people carrying out gross violation of human rights” “We will not tolerate violations of cessation of hostility and people who spoils peace agreement. We have delivered that message here and will deliver it to Riek Machar.” Stressed Samantha Powers of UNSC. Please see, ‘South Sudanese president vows to form all inclusive cabinet, http://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52014 and ‘UN Security Council visit to South Sudan’ file:///C:/Users/Rosemary/Downloads/08-14%2520UNSC%2520Press%2520Stakeout%2520Transcript.pdf
Samantha Powers is a well known committed advocate of human rights. Powers words should be taken seriously. However, her comments in Juba missed the point completely. The issue is not “if there continue to be people carrying out gross violations of human rights.” The violations have already been committed en masse in December 2013 and they continue to be committed daily. For example, the imprisonment of over 100,000 innocent people in the UN Protection camps. Does the subjection of these people to confinement due to terror from President Kiir’s government not constitute ongoing gross violation of human rights? If it is not then the people of South Sudan and I do not know what it is.
Uganda’s UPDF, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) of Darfur and SPLM North of the Sudan remain in the country actively participating in military operations against SPLM-IO. Why is the UN quiet about this violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement? Why does it not demand the withdrawal of all foreign forces as stipulated in the agreement? Is this not a constant standing violation by South Sudan government and IGAD of the agreement? What more violation of the agreement does UNSC want?
Therefore, the time for “ifs” is long gone. It is time for compliance and action. It is time for consequences and accountability. It is this point that the UNSC has missed. The entire SPLM leadership are responsible for the mayhem in South Sudan. They need to be dragged to court to account for their collective crimes against the people of South Sudan arising from gross negligence of their beloved party and the management of the country. SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SPLM-G10 and their military chiefs should be facing honourable and respectable international judges and not pussyfoot with mediators intent on rewarding them for their crimes against the people of South Sudan.
President Salva Kiir by default is benefiting from the cultures that led to colonisation of Africa. He is getting away with mass murder because the South Sudanese Africans have been deemed to have no value. No wonder President Kiir is able to convert UN into a prison management agency. Ironically, the very regional body (IGAD) that is tasked to solve the problem of South Sudan is ignorant of its own position and responsibilities while promoting subtly laid down discriminatory approaches under nonsense like “African solutions for African problems”. If the structures of the world are based on instruments whose foundation is anchored in universalism like globalisation, then the right slogan should be “global solutions for global problems”. Under such a slogan feral leaders like President Kiir would not get away with crimes of similar magnitude committed by Slobodan Milosevic, General Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. After all, the entire world is supposed to be a global melting pot.
[Truth hurts but is also liberating]
The author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at