Letter From The Global Coalition Of Advocates For South Sudan

"The proposed deployment of Ugandan (UPDM) and Sudanese forces (SAF) in the South Sudan territory in key security sensitive locations and in training of the national armed and organised forces, compromises national sovereignty; this mandate should be specified and authorised by the UN SC..."

 Date: 22nd October 2018.
Subject: The revitalization of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan
Extended Letter addressed to the undermentioned by the Global Coalition of Advocacy for South Sudan (GCASS) representing the united voices of the South Sudanese people in the diaspora and friends of South Sudan.
Address to:
    Salva Kiir Mayardit; Incumbent President of the TGNU
    Political leaders in the Incumbent TGNU
    Dr Riek Machar Dhurgeon; Chairman SPLA/M-IO
    Hon. Gabriel Changson Chang; Interim Chairman SSOA
    Other opposition parties
    Civil Society and Concerned Citizens
    Faith Based Organisations
    South Sudan Community leaders
Copy to:
    IGAD Special envoy
    IGAD Council of Ministers (commission)
    AU Special Envoy
    UN Special envoy
    EU Special envoy
   Troika – Chris Trott; Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan
    Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs,
    Hon. Marise Payne Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs
    China- The Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China
    Russia- The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
    Japan- The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
Dear: Sirs
1.      Introduction
1.1. About US: The Global Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (GCASS) represents the united voices of South Sudanese Diaspora and their friends in the United Kingdom, Norway, Australia, Canada, United States of America and around the Globe. GCASS advocates for ending the conflict, rebuilding mutual relations among divided communities and promoting good governance, social justice, democracy, freedom of expression, human rights protection and rule of law in South Sudan.
1.2. Purpose of the Letter: The signed peace agreement on the Revitalization of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in Addis Ababa Ethiopia and appending the Khartoum declaration should be encouraging news to all South Sudanese. GCASS applauds the government of South Sudan, opposition leaders, regional authorities, Troika, the AU and UN for making this possible.
This letter, seeks to highlight the plight of South Sudanese, who have lost faith in their leaders in implementing peace agreements. The majority of our people feel, leaders from both governing and opposition parties are unsympathetic to their situation, hence demands the negotiating parties and guarantors to ensure this agreement is implemented to the satisfaction of the citizens and South Sudan people. The South Sudanese leaders from all backgrounds and the citizens, should deal with the challenges of the implementation of the R-ARCSS with great fortitude and urgency;
2.      Our Observations and Concerns
2.1. The South Sudanese people are grateful to IGAD, AU, UNSC and the Troika, for their rapid intervention in the senseless armed conflict in South Sudan, and for helping to resolve the conflicts through peaceful negotiation. We are encouraged by your efforts, the leaders from all sides to continuously agree to resolve issues amicably, please don’t let the people down this time.
2.2. The responsibility of all heinous acts to the citizens and the country lies solely with the elected representatives in the legislative assemblies at all levels of governments at the states and national, for failing to contain the conflict at the earliest. We are at the moment very concerned the COHA signed in Addis Ababa in December 2017 and in Khartoum in June 2018, are frequently violated, putting the security and life of citizens under constant danger; this is unacceptable to all South Sudanese people.
2.3. The breakdown of the August 2015 peace agreement signed in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, the ARCSS, led to escalating insecurity, atrocities, large population displacement, and economic crisis. Below are highlight of our further observations;
a) Nearly three years after the signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) in August 2015, the signatory parties to the agreement, failed to implement the agreement.
b) Although there was a clear mandate by the IGAD head of states for the HLRF to be inclusive, some armed & unarmed groups including the South Sudanese communities in the diaspora, were inadequately represented at the HLRF.
C) Concern for the lack of security, safety and protection of all citizens, from all divides, during the peace implementation process. The South Sudanese Citizens are not yet assured particularly by the two principal leaders President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar, and including the IGAD leadership as the guarantor. The people expect them to stand on the same platform announcing publicly their total commitment to the peace agreement signed in August 2018, and that there will be no return to armed conflict; and stating that any group who violates the COHA and promoting violent conflicts should be immediately held accountable and brought before a court of law to be tried for war crime; the IGAD should fairly and firmly enforce the mandate.
d) Trust and confidence in the political parties and the agreement is low. Some groups are opposed to the agreement or have serious reservations because of past experiences, especially the July 2016 resumed armed conflict in Juba; this left a bitter pill to swallow. Lack of fair representation, inclusion and participation in the peace negotiation and decision making process, and the exclusion of some opposition parties who were not satisfied with the signed agreement, may seriously undermine the peace agreement; therefore these concerns should be instantly, truthfully and fairly resolved;
e) The lack of proper control and accountability mechanisms in security, governance and reform; there should be an independent adjudicator made of an expert panel to act as an ombudsman to the whole implementation process; this will provide trust and confidence to the R-ARCIS.
f) The proposed deployment of Ugandan (UPDM) and Sudanese forces (SAF) in the South Sudan territory in key security sensitive locations and in training of the national armed and organised forces, compromises national sovereignty; this mandate should be specified and authorised by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and under its supervision;
g) Transparency on the cost of the implementation, including cost of running the revised TGoNU, reform program, sources of funding, cost effectiveness and accountability mechanism of public finances. We are concerned that these factors have not been considered in the decision making during the peace negotiations; we would like to see the cost analysis and prove of affordability to assure the people of the effective peace implementation, this we believe will establish confidence in the people of South Sudan.
3.      Our Expectations
a) We call upon the incumbent TGoNU and all the opposition parties to this agreement to put the interest of South Sudanese people first by honouring this agreement in good faith. This agreement must be a vehicle in which South Sudanese leaders with the people of South Sudan people can be able to meet the basic aspirations (e.g. Justice, Freedom and Equality…) of all South Sudanese. GCASS calls upon all the parties to provide security to all South Sudanese citizens who want to return to normal life in their ancestral lands; this means the COHA must be sincerely and faithfully observed as agreed, this must be a priority goal that can be measured.
b) We urge the main parties the incumbent government, the SPLM-IO and other opposition groups, to lead South Sudanese people responsibly, and reach out to other opposition groups who have not signed the final agreement to ensure that nobody is left out in the national dialogue and peace building.
4.      Our Appeal
We, echo the aspiration shared by the people of South Sudan, believing a just peace is the only viable option. Similarly, we have been greatly encouraged by the commitments made by all stakeholders to pursue peace building. There are a number of issues to be resolved and some key principles to adhere, to improve the chances of lasting peace; including upholding all parties to the peace agreement individually and collectively responsible "uniting for peace" and nation building, therefore we:
4.1. Appeal to everybody concerned, to work together & fully cooperate to ensure the prevalence of peace; be fully mindful of your moral, constitutional and legally shared responsibilities & duties. Parties excluded in the peace agreement must be brought back to continue searching peacefully for a sustainable, inclusive and just peace.
4.2. Plead for all your compassion and natural goodness to commit and deliver an accountable leadership, peace, ceasefire, equality, justice and giving freedom, self-dignity, and respect for humanity to the people of South Sudan, to fully realize their potential and freedom, not just hope.
4.3. Pledge with you to actively and genuinely support, promote and implement a just and inclusive peace this time round; not use it to regroup and consolidate power to yourself, your group and associates, the return of power to the people must begin now;
4.4. Request for meaningful participation of, and reinforce actions from the diaspora, women and youth in the peace building process and decision making;
4.5. Urgently petition all the warring parties and supporters to stop the war and hostile propaganda adding fuel to violence and hatred; doing so will protect the peace agreement and millions of civilian lives in South Sudan.
4.6. Demand unrestricted access for humanitarian services to the needy people, repression of critics and press freedom to cease, and all crimes should be fairly and timely investigated;
4.7. Greatly encourage all to embrace, support and join forces to revitalise the transitional justice mechanism for the benefit of truth, justice, reconciliation and healing in South Sudan. There cannot be lasting peace without accountability, faith and truth.
4.8. An enlarged government is a mockery to the suffering people who are in need of basic services and protection; there is no justification for voluminous government that will only provide resources and opportunities to the only few privileged elites;
4.9. Petition you to continue exerting genuine efforts and determination to address legitimate local grievances, inclusive and responsible governance, meaningful federalism; stopping violence and oppression that South Sudanese experience daily to allow all internally displaced persons to return to their ancestral land. Legitimate local grievances and conflicts are synonymous to the success of any agreement, and cannot be assumed resolved just because conflict in the centre is managed.
4.10. Other Mechanisms for alternative conflict resolution should be encouraged and developed, other than resolving conflicts by violence and rebellions. Recommend that traditional methods of conflict resolutions should be respected and given highest authority; the council of state should adapt this role, and should represent the image of all the ethnic tribes and representatives of highly skilled and experienced personnel;
5.      Our Role
The members of GCASS, welcome with humble appreciation the 2018 R-ARCSS, we shall endeavour to step up and play our role through leadership in our respective regions and around the globe through:
5.1. Organising positive information transmission mechanisms to inform the public and help in campaigning against negative publicities and propaganda against peace.
5.2. We (GCASS) shall endeavour to organise the South Sudanese communities in the diaspora, to engage in the peace agreement implementation, actively participate and be involved in the reconciliation, peace and nation building.
5.3. Help in the implementation process and promoting collective responsibility in ensuring the peace agreement is successfully implemented, and to the satisfaction of the citizens.
5.4. Lobby the support of our host countries, friends and charitable organisations, to help in the rehabilitation of returnees and rebuilding of the South Sudan Communities in the country.
5.5. Work with the government of South Sudan and all parties on pre-and post-implementation matters, to ensure the diaspora contribution is utilised effectively.
5.6. Act as the people’s check for an inclusive and fair implementation of the agreement;
6.      Conclusion
a)        While armed rebellion has been experienced, peaceful rebellion can be a useful way to seek change. The armed conflict in South Sudan is a hindrance and destruction to the country and its people, it must stop immediately; the warring parties must adhere to their commitment to implementing the signed agreement in earnest and good spirit.
b)        It is critical the parties to the conflict should take this agreement as a baseline and compromise to start the journey towards peace, reconciliation, social & economic rehabilitation and development. Just peace is the only viable option for sustainable co-existence and democratic governance but bad peace is a recipe for destruction.
c)         We are grateful for the continuous effort in search for sustainable, meaningful peace in South Sudan. We recognise the Khartoum declaration as a mere power sharing agreement, though disappointed, it is positive steps towards concessions or business enterprise the government, the opposition and others are willing to make to resolve the ongoing conflict. Its exclusivity and lack of transparency was stark. However, we must not miss the opportunity to address fundamental political, core security and constitutional issues in South Sudan; the details should come in the implementation of the agreement where every citizen should effectively and truthfully participate and be honestly involved.
d)        We demand our leaders to lead responsibly, uncompromisingly, sincerely, in good spirit and put their difference aside, to concentrate on common goals for the sake of the people and the national unity.
e)        We would like to see some key measurable indicators such as total cessation of hostilities and commitment demonstrating honesty, determination, and progress of the leaders in the implementation of the agreement signed in August 2018 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.
f)          We do highly appreciate ALL your cooperation to consider the issues outlined in this letter, and we look forward to your honest response and invite engagement to discuss further areas of importance and cooperation with your esteem offices.

Contact: Benjamin Avelino; email; btavelino@gmail.com 

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