Petition to British Government from South Sudanese in the UK on Matter of 28 States

28 States as defined by Establishment Order Number 36/2015 AD
28 States as defined by Establishment Order Number 36/2015 AD

A petition from concerned members of South Sudanese communities in the UK urging the British Government to exert pressure on the Government of South Sudan to suspend the 28 states, as recently recommended by IGAD.

The Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP
British Prime Minister,
10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA

Concerned South Sudanese Community in the UK
C/o: Federico Awi Vuni,
17 Pennwell Gate, Leeds, LS14 5NX

Date: 8 February 2016

Dear Prime Minister,
Re: Petition to Her Majesty’s Government from South Sudanese Communities in the UK.

We the undersigned members of the South Sudanese communities in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland would like first to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation for all the efforts undertaken by the IGAD and the Troika countries (the United Kingdom, U.S.A and Norway), without which none of the belligerent South Sudanese factions or their foreign allies would have ceded to the signing of the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS).

However, since then, the Government of South Sudan (GRSS) headed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and assisted by self-appointed group of advisors who hail from the Dinka tribe, the same as the President and who refer to themselves as the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) continue to commit violations after violations against what still remains a fragile truce with the sole aim of derailing it altogether.

One very contentious issue now standing in the way of incorporating the August 2015 Peace Agreement into the country’s Transitional Constitution to pave the way for the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) as stipulated in the Peace Agreement, is the unilateral creation and implementation of the new 28 states.

This act by the government, aimed at imposing the 28 states into the transitional arrangement, is a flagrant violation of the articles of the peace agreement. The agreement vividly defers any issues to do with the creation of new states or any re-structuring of the 10 states to the permanent constitution making process, well after the formation of the TGoNU.

While the Government would like the South Sudanese public and the international community to believe that the creation of 28 states is a popular demand, this is false. There had been no national consultation nor referendum carried out to back this claim. An important matter such as this required a national referendum, and not the opinion of some self-appointed tribal advisors. While there are those who celebrate the creation of the 28 states because they are in their favour, many South Sudanese tribes in Greater Equatoria, Greater Upper Nile, and Western Bahr el Gazal remain opposed to this unilateral action and see the inherent danger they are likely to bring to the country.

We all understand the fact that the August 2015 peace agreement is a compromise between two or more extreme positions held by the belligerents. However, we believe that the compromises made in the peace agreement present the only way forward through which the guns can be silenced; a Transitional Government be formed; an extended inclusive transitional National Legislative Assembly be formed; a conducive environment be created for rehabilitation, reconciliation and healing processes among our people; and the transitional justice to be delivered within this year, 2016.

We welcome the Report to the UN Security Council (S/2016/70 ) dated 22 January 2016 by the Panel of Experts on South Sudan established pursuant to Security Council resolution 2206 (2015). We are disappointed that Russia and China did not support this resolution, which was intended to prevent the violation of the Peace Agreement.

Now that the armed opposition, the SPLM-In Opposition, has allowed for its Advance Team to return to Juba and implement the Peace Agreement, we the signatories of this petition sincerely look to the leadership of HM Government and Parliament to take the lead and play a more robust role in mobilising the world opinion to stand by the peace agreement and its immediate implementation to the letter and spirit. Similarly, we urge Her Majesty’s Government to use her influence to persuade Russia and China to come on board with the rest of members of the UN Security Council in order to stop humanitarian catastrophe in the new nation.

As the situation stands now, millions of voiceless civilians in South Sudan continue to suffer because of the self-fulfilling ambitions of its greedy and callous political leaders.

The government of South Sudan and its self-appointed tribal syndicate of the Jieng Council of Elders must be made to accept the implementation of the Agreement based on the 10 states as stated in the provisions of the compromise peace agreement to which the government is a signatory. They must be reminded that the price of derailing the peace agreement through any of their malignant manoeuvres will never be taken lightly and the price tag will be very dear.

The intention of unilateral creation of the 28 states by the Government of South Sudan is to give political advantage to the Dinka tribe to continue the domination of the country, and to annex land that belongs to other tribes. Left unresolved, this has a real potential to cause another war in the country.

We are saddened and concerned about the Government’s continued violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement by waging wars currently going on in Western Equatoria, resulting into humanitarian catastrophe. More disturbing is the news that the Government has just used chemical weapon in Mundri, Western Equatoria on 1 February 2016. The international community must not take this lightly. It should establish the facts, and if established, hold to account the party responsible for this act. This is a replication of similar destruction of Chollo (Shilluk) community in Upper Nile State, Nuer community in Unity State, and Fertit community in Western Bahr el Gazal State.

In conclusion, we urge the British Government to exert pressure on the Government of South Sudan, led by President Salva Kiir, to suspend the 28 states, as recommended by IGAD in their communique of 31st January 2016 issued in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We further urge the British Government to use her diplomatic channels to ensure that the Chairman of Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, H.E. Festus Mogae, does not give in to pressure to open the agreement to negotiation.

Thank you.
Yours sincerely,

Federico Awi Vuni
Chair, Equatorian Community in the UK

William D Biliutut
Chairman of Nuer Community in the UK

Karlo Kwol Akol
Representative, Chollo (Shilluk) Community in the UK

Peter Gaere
Representative, Western Bahar El Gazal (Fertit) Community in the UK

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