USIP NEW REPORT: South Sudan Non-violent Movements Progress Despite Repression from The Government

November 28th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan’s nonviolent movements continue to make progress in their calls to end the war in South Sudan according to the latest report seen by the Nyamilepedia Editorial Team.

The groups which have been calling for an end to human rights violation, pressuring parties to brings peace, despite bearing the heavy burden of repression from the government, continue to sustain their ground during the continued civil war in the world’s young nation. 

Residents of Mundri, a remote town in South Sudan, march down the community's main street to celebrate the International Day of Nonviolence on October 2, 2012(Photo credit: Paul Jeffrey)

Residents of Mundri, a remote town in South Sudan, march down the community’s main street to celebrate the International Day of Nonviolence on October 2, 2012(Photo credit: Paul Jeffrey)

According to the latest report by the USIP (United States Institute for Peace) leading researchers, the report noted the challenges facing the civil societies, right groups, faith-based groups and popular civilian movement like Anataban.   

The report deeply discussed the challenges the groups continue to face such as “self-organizing to build a constructive program” that can further their agenda for change. 

“While these instances of local self-organizing are helping to fill voids left by the state, they have not yet coalesced into a national movement for better governance.” Reads part of the new report.

While these “are just a few of the formidable challenges” to developing comprehensive nonviolent civic campaigns and movements to address the “social, political, and economic grievances” that have fueled civil war in South Sudan, Internationally known nonviolent actions are often manifested in mass disobedient like strikes, boycotts, marches, and demonstrations, among others. 

Repression

In the mids 2018, UN report documented that more than one hundred activists and journalists have been killed, arrested, or shot at since mid-2016.

In addition, the report noted that the South Sudanese government’s crackdown on speech is having a “chilling effect” on freedom of expression and is “shrinking the space for debate and dissent.”

The reports also indicate 42 Civil society groups must notify the National Security Service (NSS) before holding public assemblies or meetings, and many such gatherings are infiltrated by the NSS. 

Demanding Social, Economic Rights, and Better Governance

While ending generalized violence—including political violence, sexual and gender-based
violence, and cattle raiding—is the top priority for South Sudanese activists, they understand that in order for sustainable peace and development to take root, the country will require responsive and accountable governance that addresses the long-term economic and social needs of South Sudanese.

The leaders of four interethnic peacebuilding programs based in refugee camps all stated
in interviews for this report that the increasing unity of young South Sudanese—to repair
the country’s social fabric and bring about peace between tribal and ethnic groups—overpowered the divisive sentiments of older generations in the camps.

This building of unity and solidarity among refugee youth from different ethnic groups could help strengthen the foundation for collective action to advance the peace process.

Connecting Nonviolent Action to Formal Peace Processes

While not (yet) amounting to a national movement, there are three promising examples of
grassroots mobilization that are focused on ending the civil war and promoting national unity in South Sudan.

The South Sudan Council of Churches’ National Women’s Desk, the youth-led Anataban movement, and the New Tribe are attempting to connect bottom-up nonviolent collective action to South Sudan’s high-level peace processes.

The success of nonviolent discipline is evident in another active nonviolent method and
peacekeeping tool being implemented in South Sudan called unarmed civilian protection.

Defined in the new report “unarmed civilian protection” refers to a set of nonviolent strategies that unarmed civilians can use to reduce violence and protect civilians during the violent conflict.

Since 2010, Nonviolent Peaceforce, an international nongovernmental organization, has strategically implemented unarmed civilian protection with impressive results, according to the USIP.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 4.3 million
South Sudanese are displaced as of mid-2018.

The World Food Programme reports that at the same time approximately 6.1 million people—about half the country’s population—are at risk of severe food insecurity.

In September 2018, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine estimated that between December 2013 and April 2018, the civil war was responsible for nearly 383,000 “excess deaths”—those that would not have occurred in the absence of conflict.

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