Nairobi; 3-4 October 2016: In a continuous attempt for the search for peace and stability; EVE Organization for Women Development, in partnership with the Global network of women peacebuilders (GNWP), and the Consortium of organizations for women of South Sudan (CfW) organized a peace dialogue with an objective of initiating dialogue among South Sudanese and to consolidate efforts of South Sudanese women, civil society organizations, officials of the TGONU, academia, faith based Organizations and activists to strengthen the demand for the implementation of the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) to restore peace in the country.This dialogue was further meant to formulate advocacy strategy and identify practical steps in calling on South Sudanese people, IGAD, the African Union Peace and Security Council, and to continue to engage with South Sudanese leaders to address the current political crisis and honor their obligations under the peace agreement.
The main focus of the dialogue and the question rigorously discussed was ‘Is the ARCSS still relevant?’The early July 2016 return to violence in Juba caused a major shift in the dynamics of politics of South Sudan and reduced the country and its women to an undeserved torturous impasse. The leaders of South Sudan time and again have failed to honor the ARCSS and the constitutional ‘social contract’ to protect and secure the nation, particularly the women from intractable wars, insecurity, fear, inflation, hunger, poverty, diseases, rapes, wounds, deaths, displacement, refuge and trauma.
The August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) has been a source of hope for the women of South Sudan to keep the spirit of the Republic as enshrined symbolically in the Nation’s Eagle Emblem: Justice, Liberty and Prosperity. Alas! Too much worries is still lingering in the minds and hearts of women of South Sudan, day and night, due to the deteriorating insecurity in Greater Equatoria Region, lack of full accessibility in Greater Upper Nile, as well as partly, in Greater Bahr el Ghazal.During the peace dialogue, the Executive Director of EVE Organization Ms. Rita M. Lopidia presented an elaborate situation analysis of the national and local situations informed by the socio-political, economic and cultural situation particularly after the signing of the Agreement in August 2015.
This was followed by a critical assessment of the ARCSS by IGAD representative, then an assessment of the role of the joint monitoring and Evaluation commission presented by His Grace Bishop Enock Tombe in his capacity as a member of JMEC and lastly a presentation on the implications of the UNSCR 2304 (2016) that extends the mandate of UNMISS and authorizes the creation of the Regional Protection Force and the call for arms embargo on South Sudan analyzed by Dr. James Okuk.Following rigorous plenaries and group discussions, the stakeholders present during the dialogue agreed that the peace agreement ARCSS still remains the only viable option for South Sudan and all efforts must be exerted to resuscitate the agreement. Some of the strong points that were repeatedly reiterated include:
- A need to take the dialogue further to the wider South Sudanese Communities to own the process and demand political leaders to work together in finding lasting resolution to the conflict.
- A continuous lobby and advocacy at regional and international levels to continue exerting pressure and take strong measures on the political leaders to commit for peace in South Sudan
- A need to support the women of South Sudan to take lead in fronting peace and continue the peace dialogue by using the South Sudan UNSCR 1325 National Action Plan.
- The peace dialogue concluded that peace is the only option for South Sudan and the country have to be collectively built by all stakeholders and most importantly the women.
Therefore initiatives that support people to people peace dialogue should be encouraged and supported to pave way for a genuine and lasting peace. South Sudanese need to courageously admit the failures and accept to sit down and dialogue with one another. Successful dialogue requires truth, honest, sincerity and courageous analysis of issues and openness. The women of South Sudan are committed to take this initiative forward for peace.UN Women Regional Office in Nairobi pledge to facilitate and support regional advocacy efforts towards the cause of peace in South Sudan.
Participants to peace dialogue include, women Organizations from South Sudan, civil society organizations, faith based organizations, Academia, government officials from the TGONU, including the Chair and deputy Chair of the peace and reconciliation committee of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, South Sudanese women groups in the diaspora, UN Women Rep. from the regional office, IGAD Representative, The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, Representatives from the US and Austrian embassies in Kenya, Representative from Urgent Action Fund, Representative from IRI – Kenya.
A full report on the peace dialogue and the advocacy strategy will be made available on this site soon.