Press Release, issued by the South Sudanese community in the UK, condemning the outbreak of violence in Juba, that threatens to unravel the fragile peace process, and requesting swift action to restore peace and stability.
Issued By: The South Sudanese Community in the UK
Date: 14 July 2016
RESPONSE OF THE SOUTH SUDANESE COMMUNITY IN THE UK TO THE DEPLORABLE VIOLENCE IN JUBA
We, the South Sudanese Community in the UK, condemn in the strongest possible terms, the deplorable and entirely avoidable violence that has occurred in Juba between 8th and 11th July 2016. The shooting and the shelling has been indiscriminate, with little regard for collateral damage, in what is our most populous city.
Thousands of families were forced to flee their homes in search of safety. Thousands more families spent desperate days and nights, without food and water. It is too early to know the full scale of civilian and military casualties, but we expect the number to be high. Widespread looting, by undisciplined gunmen, further compounds an already dire situation.
We welcome the cessation of hostilities declared by President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Dr Riek Machar.
The people of South Sudan are left with no confidence in the leadership of our country. The leadership of the transitional government of national unity (TGONU) has failed to deliver on its promise to bring peace to South Sudan. They have shown a lack of commitment in implementing the provisions of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS). They have squandered the nation’s wealth, building unwieldy and undisciplined military forces. They have demonstrated that their assertion of control over these forces is only pretence. Instead of tackling the deep economic crisis that has driven so many ordinary South Sudanese to hardship, the civilian and military leadership of the TGONU has chosen to prioritise militarism, brinkmanship and mutual recrimination.
Since 2005, the political leadership of the SPLM in South Sudan repeatedly demonstrated that they have no aptitude for governance. They must step aside and give others the opportunity to move the country away from a destructive militarism that is at the heart of our nation’s turmoil. We need a leadership that is committed to peace and prioritises reconstruction and development.
For South Sudanese:
We urge our fellow South Sudanese to take bold action in the interests of peace, and to urgently:
- Reject divisive rhetoric that only serves to push our communities apart, when we should be working to bringing ourselves together;
- Consider new leadership for the country;
- Recommit to the provisions and schedule of ARCISS, as our only credible path to a sustainable peace;
- Demilitarise our nation’s capital, the state capitals, and all other municipalities;
- Respect the role of Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) under the leadership of H.E. Festus Mogae.
For the International Community:
We thank the international community for their swift condemnation of the violence in Juba, and urge them to act decisively to prevent the collapse of the peace agreement. We welcome the United Nations Security Council decision, which requests the African Union member states send a regional peace-keeping force to South Sudan to protect civilians. We ask our peace partners to:
- Follow through with the demand for a regional intervention brigade. We object to any foreign forces that are not mandated by the United Nations;
- Impose an arms embargo on South Sudan;
- Impose sanctions on individuals and entities who are obstructing the implementation of the peace agreement;
- Provide humanitarian assistance to the needy who have been affected by the conflict.
We ask our peace partners to work with the people of South Sudan as we tackle the challenge of stabilising our nation, and support us to realise our aspiration of a peaceful, harmonious and progressive society.
Federico Awi Vuni
Chair, Equatorian Community in the UK
Karlo Kwol Akol
Representative, Chollo (Shilluk) Community in the UK
Representative, Western Bahr El Ghazal (Fertit) Community in the UK