Statement from the Sudan Council of Churches
1. Let my people live in peace and harmony
Statement of the South Sudanese Church on the current political crisis and violence, 11th January 2014 –read the full statement now.
2. Disagree on Politics but Agree to a Ceasefire, says Archbishop
JUBA, January 07, 2014 (Catholic Information Service for Africa) -Most Reverend Daniel Deng Bul, the Episcopal Anglican Archbishop of South Sudan and the bishop of Juba on Tuesday January 07, urged warring groups in the country's recent conflict to end the hostilities.
"They can disagree on politics but must agree to a ceasefire right away," he said. The archbishop termed the war "a meaningless conflict" fearing it will aggravate if a truce is not reached promptly.
According to Archbishop Deng, the conflict has severely damaged the credibility of everyone in South Sudan including politicians and the army but most importantly it has reversed the efforts of rebuilding the young nation since its secession in 2011."All that we have been trying to do to bring this country together, to live as one family, has been damaged."
Following days of negotiations, peace talks aimed at resolving the over three weeks conflict finally got under way on Monday January 06 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Abada.
The conflict erupted mid December 2013 between army units loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebel forces and their commanders supporting former vice president Riek Machar who was among several officials dismissed from the government last July.
The unrest according to officials has since taken an ethnic dimension involving the country's two largest tribes; Dinka from which President Kiir hails from and Nuer community of Machar, leaving thousands dead and scores injured.
According to Archbishop Deng, the "conflict is a power struggle" that can easily lead to another civil war in a country that has in the past experienced over 50 years of civil wars.
"Enough is enough," said the Archbishop, "we need peace in this country, those brothers and sisters who are sitting in Addis Ababa we are telling them we don't need war."
3. PRESS RELEASE STATEMENT SOUTH SUDAN PEACE
BY BARANI EDUARDO CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TOMBURA-YAMBIO
Monday, Jan. 6th 2014
On behalf of the Priests, Religious and Faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio, Western Equatoria State, Yambio, we, the people bear witness to the deteriorating security situation of our New Nation with continuous anguish and dismay.
On the first initiative of peace discourse taking place in the heart of Ethiopia, we want to inform the government and the opposition forces that the people in the TEN STATES that constitute the Republic of South Sudan want this noble initiative to continue. As we know from experience in our history - only dialogue can take the peace process forward.
We appreciate that the government and opposition forces have reiterated their commitment to come to the table of dialogue, to strengthen the mechanisms for resolving the dispute at hand, to minimize violations and agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities.
We are concerned about the recent and ongoing targeting of civilians and also the excessive abuse of power which bring huge human rights violations of loss of lives on both sides as well as to other nationalities.
We believe that independent investigations must be conducted into these reported human rights violations so that the truth so that justice may prevail.
Posterity will be the judge of our courage and patriotism not from the revenge we wreak but from the peace we win in these troubling times and from the progress resulting from such peace. A prosperous and well-connected South Sudan is our brave response to these divisive factions.
From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to express our closeness in prayer and solidarity with all the victims of this conflict, with all those who continue to suffer, especially innocent children who so much deserve the love of this new nation, and we invite you to keep alive the hope of peace.
All together let us pray, pray and pray for peace. . . All together let us pray to Our Lady, Queen of Peace:
We also ask that along with prayer, fasting should accompany the intention for peace whenever possible by all of us in South Sudan in solidarity with our people who cannot access humanitarian assistance. Peace is the intentional determination, commitment and subsequent effort to create an environment where all men and women, regardless of their differences, can live together or near one another in genuine harmony, mutual respect and unconditional charity. In the light of the above we therefore point the following 10 points for stability of the situation.
1. All Churches and other Faiths must engage in a very serious prayer exercise for peace! We need fasting for peace. Guidelines for such an important fasting - include one principal meal with two smaller meals if needed; water throughout the day. Fasting only applies to those between the ages of 14 and 59. For Catholics, Prayers for the preservation of peace and justice will be recited during morning Masses, Eucharistic Holy Hour and the recitation of the Rosary,2. We know that the humanitarian situation in three or four of our states has been aggravated. Let us use this time to mobilize what resources that we can for these needy areas. We urge and encourage our faithful and all men and women of good will to support the exercise of fasting for peace to the needy by bringing nonperishable food to Mass for food banks and food pantries. 3. The remaining (about) 6 states which are in a relative peace are encouraged wake up on wings of prayers; undertake activities which work towards SOLUTIONS - not to add to the fire. Let us not be passive spectator's peace states. Those ethnic groups who feel they are aloof must be part of solution in adding for peace. Too much silence from the side of the government is very risky to dispel rumours.
4. To our President Salve Kiir - we appeal and urge to show an overwhelming readiness of forgiveness and pardon. That is power that is leadership. Please choose peace and your citizens will survive! 5. To Dr. Riek Machar - we appeal and urge for forgiveness and pardon, please halt and take courage to renounce violence. Itself that is power that is leadership. 6. To the soldiers and all types of fighting forces - we are talking to your conscience and true character of soldiers to value life in defense. 7. To the politicians - stop playing ethnic politics and war of words 8. To the media, politicians, and other public figures - show restraint and not create or add to a war that has the potential to derail the peace stability in this young nation. 9. To the government and opposition forces - stay the course and continue with the desire for peace and bringing an end to this violence. These steps have the potential to contribute to quick establishing peace, economic stability and wide rehabilitation support for internal displaced persons. 10. To the international community - we welcome your support and urge sensitivity to our complex problems we caution and appeal to be more sensitive to this tragic situation and make every effort to help the beloved Baby nation find a solution to a war that sows destruction and death.
Children of South Sudan, Let us listen! Listen and Listen please! God alone is the author of life and the source of peace in our world, in our neighborhoods and in our hearts. Without God, true and lasting peace is not possible. In this times when violence and destruction --- so contrary to God's will for all his children --- seem to prevail, God listens to their anguished cries. Prayer is the lifting of the mind and heart and soul to God. Where and when peace is threatened anywhere in our family or nation, prayer for peace must be our response as Catholics. God bless you all!
Barani Eduardo Hiiboro KUSSALA Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio
4. Civil Society Seeks Citizens' Representation In Peace Talks
Civil society representatives' are seeking an integrated solution to the current conflict, involving the inclusion of South Sudanese citizens' representatives in the peace talks in Addis Ababa, to solve the problems facing the nation.
11 January 2014 By Teddy Chenya
NAIROBI, 11, January 2013 [Gurtong]- This was mentioned in Nairobi, Kenya, On Friday where leading South Sudanese civil society institutions came together to discuss the current situation, its historical origins and the prospects for a peaceful resolution.
According to David Deng, Director of Research at the South Sudan Law Society, the fundamental issue now is to understand what is wrong and be able to handle impunity which has manifest over the years since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) nine years ago.
Deng said that there have been a lot of human rights violations in the past including ethnic cleansing and the lack of accountability creates room for further violations if the perpetrators are not punished as the government tries to transform the justice system.
He said that sidelining justice in peace negotiations may help to expedite political settlements in the short-term, but fails to address the question of impunity that lies at the heart of internal conflicts in South Sudan.
Abuk Ayuel supported the move adding that South Sudan had failed to transform into a national society after the CPA and what is needed now is to create social cohesion and resituate justice.
Don Bosco Malish, Program Officer Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa during the discussion said that the South Sudan civil society needs to examine its relevance, competence and credibility to be able to represent the citizens in the Addis Ababa talks and have an impact on society.
He said most of the current generation of civil society emerged from the humanitarian crisis during the civil war and never participated in governance during the last eight years.
"Because of our background in service delivery, we have cushioned the government from interacting with people.," he said adding that most of the services like health and education are done by organizations and the government has little to know about the issues being faced by ordinary citizens.
According to Jok Madut Jok, Co-founder of Sudd Institute, the recent fighting which started in Juba mid-December and spread to other states was not shocking because of the history of how South Sudan gained independence through civil wars.
Jok said that the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) was build "haphazardly" as militia groups were absorbed into the system and this was bound to create division in the nation once some group feels they are not part of the system.
Because women and children have suffered during the fighting in parts of South Sudan, Priscilla Nyagoah, the Advocacy Officer at the South Sudan Law Society said that there is need to develop laws on gender-based crimes to help protect women during conflict.
She said that the current peace talks in Ethiopia need a holistic approach especially on representation to have the required affirmative action on the representatives in creating reconciliation among the leaders.
The three weeks of fighting between government forces and rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar have killed more than 1,000 people and driven 200,000 from their homes creating a devastating humanitarian crisis.
According to Leben Moro, Director of External Relations at the University of Juba, the focus now should be on supporting the affected and putting more pressure on the political process to end the violence.
He said that the worst affected are areas with Nuer and Dinka communities as predominant and the international community need to step up support to access the areas.
During the discussion, Rev. James Ninrew of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan revealed that five pastors have so far been killed in the conflict including two from the Presbyterian Church.
He said that the problem is no longer between two tribes, Nuer and Dinka, or a political wrangle in the ruling SPLM or SPLA, but it is a South Sudanese problem which needs all citizens to be involved in finding an inclusive solution.
"The problem is no longer a defined as a [Salva] Kiir- Riek Machar problem or SPLM problem or Nuer-Dinka problem. It is a South Sudan problem," he said adding that the conflict needs a South Sudanese solution and the ongoing talks should be all inclusive.
The meeting was organised by the Rift Valley Institute's Nairobi Forum and supported by the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa.
5. S. Sudanese women urge global intervention to end crisis
January 10- 2014 (JUBA) - A group of South Sudanese women this week held a peaceful march in the country's capital, Juba, strongly voicing their concerns for peace and global intervention to end the crisis in the new nation.
"War is never a solution to any differences. Violence produces violence and the rivals do not become the victims of their actions. It is the ordinary people who become the victims of the situation created by individuals obsessed with personal ambitions and interests", Asunta Ajith Bol, one of the protestors toldSudan Tribune.
"Now our people are dying all over the country for no apparent reason. Why?"she asked.
Nearly a month of violent conflict in the country has claimed over 1,000 lives and displaced close to 200,000, as many expressed fears that South Sudan risks sliding back into civil war.
Peace talks between government and the rebel delegation in Ethiopia were reportedly making little progress, despite mounting international pressure on both sides to end conflict.
"If you ask anybody in this country, whether they are women like me or men like you, whether they are children, a boy or girl, small or big, weak or strong, rich or poor, they will certainly tell you that they want peace and not war", said Bol.
"Our people need peace and the international community should take up full responsibility to make the leaders, those involved in the conflict accept peace", she added, and encouraged both sides to resolve their differences on the table, but not through guns.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Monica Dominic Madut, a female activist from South Sudan's Western Bahr el Ghazal state expressed fear that failure by the two sides to immediately reach an understanding would further worsen the situation.
"This situation has already gotten out of control, and our fear as mothers and wives is that if the people discussing peace in Addis Ababa don't agree anytime soon, then this is going to get worse, which is what we don't want", Madut said in a separate interview.
Peace must come by all means without violence, she added.
The activist, however, said it was meaningless if both side continued fighting on the ground, despite reports that the warring parties have publicly agreed to end cessation of hostilities.
"Enough is enough. How long ago did we get independence after fighting as one people and only to return into the same fighting for no apparent reason? We lost millions to gain independence and now we want to lose more lives and destroy the little that has been made?" she asked
Meanwhile, Mary Benjamin expressed strong disappointment with the way South Sudan was being run by politicians she described as "obstinate to change", allegedly due to their desires for power.
"Our people and this country have been reduced to the laughing stock at the international level by individuals obstinate to change. They do not see beyond their interests. They have laid a completely wrong foundation of this nation", said Benjamin.
6. Violence not necessary, says Juba auxiliary Bishop
5th January 2014, Radio Emmanuel
Auxiliary Bishop of Juba archdiocese, urges citizens of South Sudan to shun violence in the country.
Bishop Santo Laku Pio says violence is not necessary as all are brothers and sisters entrusted by God to help each other in life time.
Acknowledging the current crisis in South Sudan, Bishop describes it as senseless war created out of greed and malice with the aim of destroying the country.
He says that there is no reason to justify the current violence in the country because citizens are killing each other.
Bishop Laku Appeals to leaders in the country to stop fighting and forgive one another, reconcile to pave a way for development.
He warns against violent means of seeking power, saying leadership should be obtained through democracy.
The auxiliary Bishop appreciates the people of Eastern Equatoria state for maintain peace amidst violence in other parts of the country.
Acknowledging the leadership of the state for the prevailing stability, Bishop Laku says war mongers and people spreading rumours of war should not be entertained.
The auxiliary Bishop of Juba was talking to Emmanuel Radio in Torit on his way to Kapoeta to on Sunday ordain seminarian Lomodo Moses to a deacon.