OPEN LETTER ON EXCLUSION OF CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS OUTSIDE JUBA IN THE PEACE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION INSTITUTIONS CONTRARY TO ARTICLE 1.4.6. OF THE AGREEMENT

Civil Society Peace and Humanitarian Development Consortium

(Civil Society Consortium)


Dear Amb. Njoroge and Amb. Wais,

November 25, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — Your Excellencies, on behalf of the Civil Society Consortium operating in the Opposition controlled areas and on behalf of our members and colleagues in diaspora, members and colleagues in the internally displaced persons and refugee camps; we would like to bring to your attention once again for the third time that there your offices have consistently excluded all the civil society groups operating outside Juba in the already formed R-ARCSS implementation institutions. This is a sharp contradiction to the spirit of inclusivity which IGAD, through your offices, proclaims before, during and after the conclusion of the High Level Revitalisation Forum(HLRF) and continuously.

Frustrated previous engagement:

Your Excellencies, in early October 2018, we wrote two separate letters to your respective offices to address what seems as systematic and well-intended exclusion of the civil society groups at IDP and refugee camps, Opposition controlled areas and diaspora. No response or even acknowledgment of the receipt of our letters by any of your offices. Your offices going silent on our appeals, we felt completely ignored. This emboldens our assumption that your offices intended to exclude us but we remained silent over the last two months, thinking you would address such injustice. Nothing has been materialised to address the matter. This left us with no better options but to write to your offices this protest letter openly for public and other stakeholders to know that the inclusivity publicly proclaimed by your offices in the implementation institutions, is not in any way reflected in practice or without prejudices.

How our exclusion was formally effected:

Your Excellencies, in October 2018, your offices called and met in Juba, our colleagues, the Juba-based civil society groups. In that meeting, you let the Juba-based civil society groups divide among themselves the slots of the civil society representatives to the various R-ARCSS implementation institutions as enshrined in the Agreement. That was the very moment at which the exclusion of all of us outside Juba was publicly formalised. Even our representatives, who were delegates to the HLRF in 2017-2018 peace talks, have not been picked for any of the institutions. This sends to us a clear message that your offices decided to exclude us.

Not our choice to operate outside Juba:

Your Excellencies, it is not our choice to operate as civil society leaders outside Juba and which could be the basis of prejudices formed against us. The war circumstances, whose resultant effects led to the creation of your very offices, sent us away from Juba. With peace at the corner, we have our right to sit in any implementation institution in Juba or anywhere your offices deem conducive for all. To formalise summary exclusion is not in the mandate of your offices as you hold those offices in the interest of all South Sudanese coming from three Greater Regions of Upper Nile, Bahr El Ghazal and Equatoria.  

Diversity provided in the Agreement:

Your Excellencies, as a reminder to your offices, Article 1.4.6. of the Agreement provides for clear guidelines on how nominations to the various  implementation mechanisms should be carried out. It clearly warns that when selecting candidates, due consideration to national diversity, gender and regional representation must be taken into account.  This is not for political parties alone but its intention lies very much in just exercise of that consideration by your very offices. We expected your offices to walk the talk if any excluded was occasioned assuming that your offices were not a party to our exclusion.

THE CATEGORIES OF CIVIC GROUPS PROVIDED FOR IN THE AGREEEMENT AND REPRESENTED IN THE IMPLEMENTATION INSTITUTIONS ARE:

  1. Civil society organisations.
  2. Youth groups.
  3. Women’s groups.
  4. Faith-based groups.
  5. Business Community.
  6. Eminent Personalities
  7. Academia.

WHY OUR INCLUSION MATTERS:

  1. We are citizens of South Sudan and it is our right to participate in the national matters.
  2. We are part of HLRF and participated in the peace talks, signatory to the Agreement and we cannot be excluded regardless of our views which might not have flattered your offices.
  3. We are capable and informed leaders with expertise in South Sudanese conflict and peace issues and that our contributions as like those of our colleagues in Juba, significantly matter at the discussion in the implementation institutions.
  4. We represent and live among the most war-stricken South Sudanese populations and communities who are not only victims and survivors but also displaced and refugees. This fact alone, could have necessitated for sensitivity to include their voices through us. But for reasons best known to your offices, you have completely ignored us and listened to those who might have given your offices misleading information about us.

Your Excellencies, as we stated above, we do not protest just because others are selected to these institutions. No! it is for the fact that we are part and parcel of the South Sudanese nationality and no one has any right to intentionally exclude us based on misconceived perceptions of the civil society outside Juba. No one could doubt how ably our representatives stood on the side of the citizens during the HLRF discussion. We boldly issued public statements in the interests of all South Sudanese without fear or favour.

Your Excellencies, it is proper for us to have representation in these institutions which shape the way forward for our country. Simply put, we expect offices of RJMEC chair and Special Envoy to address themselves to the spirit of article 1.4.6. of the Agreement to address any intended formal exclusion.

As stakeholders in the HLRF, Agreement and citizens in whose lives like other South Sudanese the war has impacted, we have our ultimate right to be factored in all the reconstituted implementation institutions. Failure of this, unfortunately exposes different intentions of your offices against us which remain unknown to us.

THE INSTITUTIONS IN WHICH WE HAVE BEEN EXCLUDED ARE AS FOLLOWS:

S/No Institution Civic groups represented Total number required Number nominated Areas where they come Remarks
RJMEC
  1. Civil society(CS)
2 2 Juba-based No CS representatives nominated from outside Juba.
  1. Women’s groups
2 2 Juba-based CS No CS representatives nominated from outside Juba.
  1. Youth
2 2 Juba-based CS. No CS representatives nominated from outside Juba.
  1. Faith-based groups
2 2 Juba-based CS. No CS representatives nominated from outside Juba.
  1. Business community, academia and eminent personalities
2, 2 and 2 2, 1, and 2 Juba-based groups No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
Total representatives 13 13 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
2. NCAC
  1. Civil society
1 1 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
2.women’s groups 1 1 Juba-based CS No CS representatives nominated from outside Juba.
3.Youth 1 1 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
Total representatives 3 3 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
3. SDSR
  1. Civil Society
2 2 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
  1. Women’s groups
2 2 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
  1. Youth
1 1 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
  1. Faith-based groups
1 1 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
Total representatives 6 6 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
4. CTSAMVM
  1. Civil Society
2 2 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
  1. Women’s groups
2 2 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
  1. Youth
2 2 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
  1. Business community, academia and eminent personalities
1, 1, 1 1,1,1 Juba-based CS No CS representative nominated from outside Juba.
Total representatives 9 9 Juba-based groups No CS representative nominated from outside Juba
TOAL OF ALL INSTITUTIONS 31 31 JUBA-BASED GROUPS JUBA-BASED GROUPS.

 

Your Excellencies, the nominations projected in the above table, completely disregards the spirit of Article 1.4.6. of the Agreement which provides to the effect that due consideration to national diversity, gender and regional representation must guide the membership to the institutions.  The whole membership of the nominated civil society and other civic groups is dominated by one region-Greater Equatoria and with three coming from Western Equatoria alone. With due respect to our colleagues, they are capable and competent to sit in those institutions, but the rich diversity provided for in South Sudan Constitution, R-ARCSS and other conflict-sensitive legal provisions, have to be respected and reflected as we transition from violently divided society to possibly an era of peace and justice for all South Sudanese without any constructed prejudices against any group or persons.

Your Excellencies, it is our considered appeal that your good offices, take time to humbly reflect beyond perceived machinations and address our exclusion within the spirit of Article 1.4.6. of the Agreement.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO YOUR OFFICES:

  1. Timely address the exclusion of civil society, youth, women, business community and faith-based groups outside Juba-based civil society groups: These must be distributed as per Opposition controlled areas, diaspora, IDP and refugee representatives and in accordance with the diversity spirit of Article 1.4.6. of the Agreement.
  2. Do not ignore us but engage with us directly to address any prejudices and misconceived perceptions your offices might have formed against all of us outside Juba. You cannot understand us without talking to us. For if you rely on what others who do not want us to participate, you are missing it. We are capable of constructively engaging with your offices and that explains why we have remained civil despite your offices ignoring our requests.

Your Excellencies, we thank you for keeping the momentum going on the implementation of the Agreement. We look forward to your timely reconsideration to realising that we matter and therefore, address the formal exclusion meted on us.

Sincerely,

Signed:

  1. Adar State Youth Association(ASYA).
  2. Advocacy for Peace, Justice and Democracy(APJD).
  3. African Centre for Human Advocacy (ACHA).
  4. African Centre for Justice, Peace and Reconciliation(ACJPR).
  5. Center for Human Rights and Democratic Advocacy(CHRDA).
  6. Centre for Governance, Human Rights and Legal Research(Ghuriler Centre).
  7. Centre for Participatory Development(CEPAD).
  8. Cush Organisation for Development and Advocacy(CODA).
  9. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA).
  10. Gender Empowerment for South Sudan(GESSO).
  11. Global Youth for Peace and Security Advocacy(GYoPSA).
  12. Help Charity Organisation(HCO).
  13. Interchurch Committee for Peace and Development(ICCPD).
  14. Intervention Children’s Foundation(ICF).
  15. Lead Development Agency(LDA).
  16. MatMedia Sudan Society(MSS).
  17. Nile Organization for Humanitarian Affairs(NOHA).
  18. Nuer Christian Youth for Peace and Development(NCYPD).
  19. Nuer Community Women’s Association(NCWA).
  20. Nuer International Relief Agency(NIRA).
  21. Our Lives Matter Action-Africa(OLiMA-Africa).
  22. Pagak County Youth Association(PCYA).
  23. Parents-Elders Action for Children’s Education-Africa(Peace-Africa)
  24. Roots of Nile Valley Organization(RNVO).
  25. Sixteen December Organization(16DO).
  26. South Sudan Development and Relief Agency(SSDRA).
  27. South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy(SSHURSA).
  28. South Sudan Women’s Agency for Peace and Development(SSWAPAD).
  29. South Sudan Youth Federation(SSYF).
  30. South Sudan Youth for Peace Prayer and Reform(SSYPPR).
  31. Women and Child Resource Society(WCRS).

About the Consortium: The Consortium is a coalition of civil society organisations operating in diaspora, Opposition controlled areas, refugee and internally displaced persons’ camps. It was founded in South Sudan on 20 June 2017. For this statement, contact the Consortium on e-mail: csphdcsouthsudan2017pt@gmail.com

ACRONYMS:

CTSAMVM:     Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements, Monitoring and                           Verification Mechanism.

NCAC:              National Constitutional Amendment Committee.

RJMEC:            Revitalised Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission.

SDSR:             Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Tell us what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.