SAAF inaugurates Voices of Diaspora with this post to honor forward-looking advocacy efforts on behalf of South Sudan as a nation with equality and justice for all.
The recently organized Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS) has taken on the ambitious goal of motivating the many diaspora groups to speak as one voice on behalf of a just and lasting peace in South Sudan.
Civil society and the diaspora together represent the majority of South Sudanese citizens, yet they lack a place at the negotiation table in regard to ending armed conflict in South Sudan, allowing delivery of humanitarian aid, the formation of an interim government, and establishing accountability for all. CASS strives to become a voice on behalf of the under-represented in these matters.
CASS recently made public the following white paper introducing its goals and constituencies.
Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan
July 21, 2014
The Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS) was established in late April 2014 with the following:
Mission: CASS seeks to establish a just and lasting peace in South Sudan. Our advocacy is directly informed by the situation on the ground and the South Sudanese people who urgently seek: justice, peace, an end to violence, and establishment of a democratic nation with equality for all.
Membership: CASS members primarily are South Sudanese now living in North America; they come from various ethnic backgrounds and work together with the interest of all the people of South Sudan at the fore rather than any specific group. All agree to place current and historical ethnic issues behind them and work for the good of all South Sudanese. All agree that all groups and cultures are equal in value if not in population.
CASS hopes to accomplish its mission by drawing into its membership representatives of all major diaspora groups so that the diaspora can speak with one voice as it seeks to accomplish its mission.
Strategically, CASS focuses on the most immediate issue at hand in a progression from (1) ending the armed conflict, (2) allowing humanitarian aid to reach all the people who need it, (3) establishing an interim government, (4) establishing accountability for all, (5) followed by healing the trauma caused by the civil war, and (6) reconciliation. This will bring (7) lasting peace.
Currently CASS is focused on ending the armed conflict. The current conflict in South Sudan arose out of a political difference within the SPLM between President Kiir and his former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and their supporters. Neither side has the ability to defeat the other side – at least at this time. Thus the conflict must be resolved through political negotiation. The two sides vary in approach but little progress is being made, and the earlier agreement to cease conflict has not been honored.
To bring the sides to serious negotiation, four major actions must occur:
External pressure: The IGAD nations, United States, and China especially have strong vested interests in peace and justice in South Sudan. We must lobby those nations to bring pressure on the leaders through economic, financial, political, and all ways except military intervention.
Face-to-Face meeting: A face-to-face meeting between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar is necessary to gain true commitment to peaceful solutions to this conflict. We believe that the Church in South Sudan is best equipped to do this.
Internal pressure: South Sudan civic leadership, church leadership, and women’s leadership have strengthened considerably since 2009. We must assist them in obtaining places at the negotiating table that they may put internal pressure on the leaders of the conflict.
People pressure: South Sudanese everywhere need to contact their friends and relatives who are involved in the fighting and point out to them that this conflict will not resolve the issues that matter to them. The leaders have begun fighting for their own political futures and not for the people. This war has taken a horrible toll on the people of South Sudan and their material structures. This will only get worse. Thus we urge the frontline commanders to observe the Cessation of Hostilities and other agreements signed by their leaders in Addis as the only way to guarantee peace for them and their families.