On the ground in Jonglei

Report from a mission co-worker:

I requested a meeting with church leaders/members to convey greetings. Several gathered to meet with me, including an Elders, Evangelists, youth and Sunday School groups, and representatives of the women’s group. They sang several songs and we prayed. Then they shared their thoughts/feelings.

An Elder: We are sorry there are not many around to welcome you. We did not know you were coming. We are all IDPs – we have come from Malakal, Ayod, Pigi, and Fangak. Our Sunday School and youth choirs have no uniforms. They were all burned. Our books and Bibles were burned. We have only 1 song book. We have no presbytery office, no chairs or tables. We have to meet outside. We need a tent for our meetings.

We lack many things – mosquito nets, blankets, books, cooking pots or buckets. We lack food clothes and medicines. When you worry, you do not feel like going to church. You are too busy worrying about your family. Read Luke 12:35-40.

A youth representative: There is only 1 God. He brought you to us. If CMD is building why are not Presbyterians? We are all IDPs. You are like a messenger from Jesus. You are the first white person to visit us since the crisis. We pray for God to increase your hand that you may do something for us. We did not know you were coming, if we had there would be more to greet you. We had to borrow chairs for this meeting. CMD has been with us since the crisis. They have been like the Good Samaritan. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us and listen to us.

A local church representative: When you you return, give greetings to your family and people from this Presbytery. Tell them we need a tent so we have a place to meet. We need books so we can teach our children in our own language. We need Bibles. We are tired, we are sick, and we are hungry. May God bless you for coming to see us. Read Proverbs 8:17-20.

An evangelist: Read John 13:1-19. Remember us. 

The mission co-worker: I greeted all of them on behalf of the Presbyterian church, my home church, my family. I also extended greetings from the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, the Moderator and General Secretary. I told them they were not forgotten and were upheld in prayer. That many are praying for peace so they can return to their homes. I prayed for them.

November 19-20, 2015

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To South Sudanese Executive Leadership and National Legislative Assembly

An Open Letter:

Dear President Kiir, Dr. Machar, Former Detainees and Parliamentarians:

Following the announcement on October 2nd of Presidential Order No 36/2015 for the creation of 28 states in the Republic of South Sudan instead of the existing 10 states as provided for in the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan (TCSS) 2011 (amended 2015), multiple civil society organizations noted that the Presidential Order was not lawful under the Transitional Constitution and the recently signed Compromise Peace Agreement (CPA*).
Parliament met on November 20th and granted such powers but without meeting the constitutional requirements of 2/3 of the members of each house of parliament approving. Article 197 of the constitution requires an approval by a vote of “two-thirds of all members of each House of the National Legislature sitting separately.” This article was not followed. Instead, members of the two houses met jointly to overcome the lack of the required numbers in the Parliament. This action raised great concern among many South Sudanese citizens.

Moreover, the binding CPA* – that was recently signed by both President Kiir and Dr. Machar, and subsequently endorsed by the National Legislative Assembly – clearly stated that the CPA is based on the current 10 states and will prevail over TCSS 2011 in an event of conflict of the two documents.

“This agreement shall be fully incorporated into the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011(TCSS) as per the procedure outlined in Chapter I, Article 4 of this Agreement. Notwithstanding this process of incorporation, in the event that the provisions of the TCSS conflicts with the terms of this agreement, the terms of this Agreement shall prevail.”

Thus the action taken by the President to establish 28 states and the efforts by the National Legislature to support the President both were in violation of the Constitution and invalid. The Compromise Peace Agreement, which was signed by the President, was based on the existing ten states, calling into question the motivation for the actions taken and raising additional questions of legality.

The impact of this unconstitutional action by the President and National Legislature is far reaching.

  • The boundaries of the newly created states result in greatly increased territory being shifted from one to another ethnic group and increases that group’s control over the legislative process. This is viewed by many as an effort on the part of the President and National Legislature to create dominance of the nation by a single ethnic group.
  • Neither attendance records nor a formal vote count for the assembly session have been released, further bringing into question the intent of the leadership to knowingly change the constitution unlawfully.
  • The creation itself of 28 states during a period marked by conflict and confusion creates additional concern and instability when stability and establishment of the rule of law are so vital. Furthermore, additional conflict and instability have been introduced as groups quarrel and fight over boundaries and control.
  • Creating states along ethnic lines institutionalizes “tribalism.” Instead, all government actions should be consistent with creating a national identity while respecting the culture and equality of all ethnic groups.
  • Granting the President additional power additionally is unwise given the findings of the AUCISS that additional power needs to be devolved to the states and that independence of the state government of central government control is essential to restoration of stability.
  • Additionally the action is in violation of article 36 (1) which reads “All levels of government shall promote democratic principles and political pluralism, and shall be guided by the principles of decentralization and devolution of power to the people through the appropriate levels of government where they can best manage and directs their affairs”.

Actions Required to Correct the Situation:

  • President Kiir should immediately cancel Presidential Order No. 36/2015 and allow the normal process for constitutional change during the transitional period as provided for in the Compromise Peace Agreement.
  • Both Houses of the National Legislature must meet openly and separately and repudiate the action taken on November 20.
  • President Kiir, Dr. Machar and all sides must cease armed conflict and relocate military forces to their designated areas. Reports that attacks on forces which have relocated should be investigated thoroughly, and violators must be appropriately disciplined.
  • All political groups must speed up compliance with processes stipulated in the Compromise Peace Agreement to form the government of national unity as specified.

Absent such actions we expect continuation of the conflict, additional localized conflict, and the resulting continuation of death, displacement, abuse and suffering of innocent civilians and destruction of property and potential spread of the conflict to neighboring nations as well as any failure of the Compromise Peace Agreement.

________________________________________________________

The Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS) was established in April 2014 with the mission to help establish a just and lasting peace in South Sudan. Our advocacy is directly informed by the situation on the ground and by the South Sudanese people who urgently seek justice, peace, end to violence, and the establishment of a democratic nation with equality for all.

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Open letter to leaders from the diaspora

31 October 2015.  The Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS) addresses the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the President of South Sudan and the South Sudan Opposition Leader:

Please stop this war!

We side with the people of South Sudan. About political parties we are neutral. It is not our purpose to side with any South Sudanese political group. Rather we side with the people of South Sudan but are not neutral about peace or the inhumane situation that the people face.

Rather than immediate, near term political objectives, our focus is the near term end of conflict and the ultimate establishment of a just and lasting peace. When the issues precluding the end of conflict arise, even if they are identified to one or the other party, we have an obligation to point them out and urge the political parties, IGAD+ and the International Community as well as concerned people of South Sudan to correct them. 

For entire letter, go to this site’s Voice of the Diaspora page; or, alternatively, to the SAAF Facebook page: Sudan Advocacy Action Forum.

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Sign the petition to restore Darfuri food rations

Restore 2,100 calories per person per day

Restore 2,100 calories per person per day

800 calories per person per day is not enough food and results in malnutrition. Those most affected are in eastern Chad where they lack the means of supplementing their meager food rations.

Please ask the U.S. to lead in restoring Darfuri refugees’ food rations to the higher level of 2,100 calories per person per day. 2,100 calories is the minimum standard of the World Food Program.

Here is the link to the petition: Sign the petition

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CASS encourages joint peace rally

 11220867_10207996718981578_4930594348239156475_nThe Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS) encourages South Sudanese leaders currently in the U.S. to hold a rally to bring together South Sudanese Diaspora from different ethnic groups and political views, and raise peoples’ hopes, build confidence and increase trust that the peace agreement will be respected and implemented in good faith. The rally will serve as a message to the world that South Sudanese leaders are committed to implementing the peace deal. In addition, the rally will provide the leaders with the opportunity to share with the Diaspora how they can best support peace and development in South Sudan. Read more: Joint Peace Rally

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Special Envoy Donald Booth addresses Diaspora

Link to message:    Message from Donald Booth to the Diaspora

Ambassador Booth

Ambassador Booth

Donald E. Booth was appointed U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan on August 28, 2013. Prior to this appointment, he served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Ambassador Booth, a member of the Senior Foreign Service, previously served as Ambassador to the Republic of Zambia from 2008-2010 and Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia from 2005-2008. Prior to that, he was Director of the Office of Technical and Specialized Agencies at the Department of State’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs. Ambassador Booth has also served as Director of the Office of West African Affairs, Deputy Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs, Economic Counselor in Athens, and Division Chief for Bilateral Trade Affairs at the Department of State. He has attended the National War College and served as a desk officer in the Office of Egyptian Affairs and the Office of East African Affairs. Ambassador Booth was also stationed at embassies in Bucharest, Brussels and Libreville.

Ambassador Booth earned a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University and a master’s degree in National Security Studies from the National War College.

 

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Diaspora Unity for Peace Conference – Sat. Sept. 19, 2015 in Des Moines

Sudan Advocacy Action Forum is pleased to announce the First Annual Diaspora Unity for Peace Conference, convened by the Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (CASS), on Saturday, September 19, 2015, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Des Moines. The conference is intended to identify a vision for peace in South Sudan, what is necessary to achieve the vision, and how South Sudanese in the Diaspora can work together to achieve peace. 

Leaders attending the conference include members of the clergy, of women and youth groups, and representatives of the government of the Republic of South Sudan, the South Sudan opposition (SPLM-IO), the former detainees (G10), South Sudan Council of Churches, the South Sudan Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation, the U.S. State Department, and the Luol Deng Foundation, among others.

Live music and entertainment to be provided by South Sudanese musicians and entertainers.

Registration for the conference is open until Friday, September 18, 2015. Due to limited space, unregistered persons will not be admitted and ID is required to enter. To register for the conference, click here. You may also contact an organizing committee member, Dr. Isaac Gang at isaac@isaacgang.com. Everyone is welcome to register.

CASS represents over 20 Diaspora organizations and seeks to establish a just and lasting peace in South Sudan.

Additional contacts:

Reuben Garang garangmayen@yahoo.com

Aluel Mayen aluel.mayen@yahoo.com

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“Now the hard work begins”

 

Susan E. Rice is the United States National Security Advisor.

Statement by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on the South Sudan Peace Agreement

The United States welcomes President Kiir’s decision to accept the terms of peace and sign the regionally-sponsored peace agreement today in South Sudan. However, we do not recognize any reservations or addendums to that agreement. The United States believes this is the necessary first step toward ending the conflict and rebuilding the country. Now the hard work begins. Implementing this agreement will require commitment and resolve from all parties to the conflict as well as South Sudan’s regional and international partners. The United States will support the people of South Sudan as they begin the implementation process, but it is imperative that the parties remain committed to peace. We will work with our international partners to sideline those who stand in the way of peace, drawing upon the full range of our multilateral and bilateral tools.

The United States is grateful for the constructive role played by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union to secure an agreement. Together, we must help South Sudan implement the agreement, to stave off famine, to stand steadfast and united against those who block the path to peace, and to hold accountable those who have committed atrocities. At this moment of opportunity, the United States stands in solidarity with the people of South Sudan, and with all those working to build the peaceful future that they so deserve.

THE WHITE HOUSE – Office of the Press Secretary 8/26/2015

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President Obama asked to highlight South Sudan violence

WASHINGTON (July 16, 2015)—A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators today called on President Barack Obama to use his upcoming visit to Africa to highlight the tragic ongoing violence in South Sudan. In a letter led by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), the senators underscored the need for the Administration to address the regional divisions responsible for human suffering on a horrific scale.

The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), John Barrasso (R-WY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Mark Warner (D-VA).

“South Sudan’s independence brought the hope that the long running and bloody conflict between the Sudanese government in the north and its population in the south would finally come to an end,” the senators wrote. “Yet, a reckless power struggle between the nation’s leaders and nefarious meddling by Sudanese President and wanted international war criminal Omar al-Bashir have inflamed old ethnic tensions, stymied South Sudan’s development potential, and ignited horrific human suffering. Your visit provides a timely moment to bring the region’s focus and American leadership forward for a resolution to the South Sudan civil war and an end to the violence in Darfur and the Nuba Mountain area.”  Full text of letter

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Molly Phee confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan

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Along with Humanity United, we applaud the confirmation of career foreign service officer Molly Phee as Ambassador to South Sudan on June 24, 2015. Her confirmation comes at a crucial time for the nearly four year-old country, which has been mired in deadly conflict since December 2013.

“The United States was instrumental in the creation of South Sudan and has invested heavily in the new nation,” said David Abramowitz, Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs at Humanity United. “U.S. leadership is critical in the region, and the ambassadorship in Juba has been vacant for far too long.”

Abramowitz continued, “We are glad that Molly Phee has been confirmed. With food shortages and a humanitarian crisis underway, the U.S. Embassy in Juba is thirsting for leadership. She has challenging work ahead of her.”

Ms. Phee’s past experience in conflict zones, at the United Nations, and in Ethiopia will serve her well as she takes on her new post in Juba.

“The people of South Sudan need and deserve our support; confirming Molly Phee as ambassador was an important sign that the United States remains committed to helping them achieve a just and peaceful future,” said Abramowitz.

Humanity United has supported and led efforts to build peace in Sudan and South Sudan since 2005 and is supporting peacemaking efforts in the U.S. and the region, including South Sudanese civil society efforts to help end the fighting and provide support to groups working on protection of human rights and dignity. Source: Humanity United

 

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