When Abducted Ethiopians children return…….so what?
By Bol Buony Nyuot
May 14, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– We, the victims of Murele attack, demand the government of South Sudan to provide special compensation to Nuer and Anyuak families who had lost their children and elders in the recent South Sudan Murele attack. The attackers had killed more than 200 people, wounded more than 75 people and kidnapped more than 100 children. It was reported that Ethiopia Defense force had crossed-border for military action against the Murele armed men, whose home area is the newly created Buma state of former Jonglei state in order to rescue a total of 108 children kidnapped in April 18, 2016 and we appreciated that.
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But, the question of compensation of people who were killed and the properties which were damaged still not asked and answered.
You can imagine how survivors suffer and how frantic they are from losing their wholly sources of economic assistance. Due to this, we the victims would demand the government of South Sudan to make special arrangement for economic assistance for the families who had lost their loved ones. Since the day that Ethiopia government took action, we had put our faith on the government that when the attackers are clearly identified, and where they came from is clearly known, our government will ask the question of compensation for those who were killed and those who were wounded. Not only this, South Sudan government should be asked to recompense the properties which were damaged and taken by its citizens.
Now some children had been returned and it becomes clear that the killers are South Sudanese. Though these children are returned, they will still suffer from lack of basic needs since the right people who could provide them with basic needs at home were killed during attack. Due to this, we believe that provision of compensation will serve as a crucial part of the process of healing and reconciliation. In order to move toward a peaceful future, South Sudan government must acknowledge and respond to the wrong and injustice committed by its citizens. This recent Murele attack has caused serious deaths, physical and moral integrity damage to Ethiopians Nuer and Anyuak communities. Because these harms are permanent, the government of South Sudan should pay victims compensation for materials, psychological injury and deaths as a direct result of Murele Attack. This claim is supported by laws. Customary international law provides the legal foundation for victims’ right to compensation. Various international treaties have recognized that victims of gross human rights violations and war crimes have a right to restitution, compensation and rehabilitation. The obligation to provide compensation for victims of injustice had become part of international humanitarian law. Article 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for example, states that everyone has the right to an effective remedy and an article 10 of the American convention on Human Rights refers to a “right to be compensated accordance with the law.” Such laws stress the importance of publicly recognizing damages caused by injustice and of addressing the needs of victims.
Another evident, Ethiopia had paid compensation for Murele children who were abducted by Anyuak in 1932. In March 1932 Anyuak from the Baro Salient crossed the Akobo, where they were joined by Sudan Anyuak, and marched seventy miles into the Sudan to attack the Murle south and east of Akobo Post. Here they killed the men, captured eighty women and children, and seized hundreds of Murle cattle which were quickly sold off in Ethiopia for rifles. Representations were made at the British Foreign Office and energetically followed up in Addis Ababa. The Sudan government demanded compensation for the men killed, the return of the women, children, and stock, and that the Ethiopian governments made every effort to establish its authority in the Baro Salient. A conference was held at Gambella between A. G. Pawson, governor of the Upper Nile, Ras Mulugheta, governor of Gore, and Fitaurai Haile Mariam, the acting governor of Sayo Province. Agreement was immediately reached and compensation paid forthwith by the Ethiopians and the captives were ultimately returned.
Therefore, we today victims would demand compensation of our people who were killed by South Sudan Murele. We believe that the compensations will help children who were left orphans as a result of Murele direct attack. This compensation will bring immediate economic relief and will allow children who their parents were killed to fulfill basic survival needs. We also believe that funds for community rehabilitation programs will ensure that survivors receive proper treatment.
To make it clear, compensation is not only about money, it is beyond money…it is about making vital repair to individuals’ psyches, and to social and political institutions. Besides, we believe that compensation plays an importance role in the process of grief that is why it is done in many cultures. This can help victims to stop desire for revenge and make it possible to repair relationships that have been broken by acts of injustice. Compensation in another way serves as a symbolic apology which victims most of the times demand. Therefore, we victims would like both Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Republic of South Sudan to cooperate and make sure that the victims of human rights violations have receive a remedy for injustices they have suffered.
In short, both governments must make sure that family members of those who were killed are compensated and receive the financial means for full rehabilitation.
Finally, I would like to say that we the victims have highly thanked the Federal Government of Ethiopia and Gambella regional government for provision of medical and psychological support to the people who were wounded and to the family members of those who were killed. We also expressed our gratitude to Ethiopian Defense force for 29 children they brought back from Murele and for the children they are still searching. We believe that Ethiopia Defense force will find the other children. We also believe that our government will work for collective compensation intended to rehabilitate and revitalize the victim community as whole. We believe it will consider the future of children who become orphans as a result of Murele Attack. Furthermore, we believe that when compensation is not fully available directly from South Sudan, Ethiopia Federal government and Gambella Regional government will provide means of compensation to the members of people who were killed. We believe Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the government of Gambella Regional State will make the victims receive the necessary materials, psychological and social support as they started since the day of incident.
May God restore Gambella back to its glory!
Bol Buony Nyuot is a Master student of Social Work with emphasis on Community and Social Development from Addis Ababa University. You can reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org
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