20 February 2018, Juba – We, members of the South Sudan Civil Society Forum, a coalition of over 200 civil society organizations, Women’s Coalition, youth and academia are disappointed about the outcome of the second phase of the High-Level Revitalization Forum. Our representatives at the HLRF returned to our citizens questioning, “Where is the peace you went to bring?”.
We expected this phase of the Forum to conclude with a final peace deal for the people of South
Sudan and think that it could have achieved more than it did. While there some progress was made on security discussions, no agreement was reached on governance. This was disappointing, and we noted that significant time was wasted, both in walk-outs and in relegating the contentious issues to the last moment. We hope that this will be the last phase of the HLRF that will be adjourned without a final peace deal and that the next phase will result in concrete agreements to end the war and bring some degree of stability to the country.
We are also concerned by the continuous violations of the CoHA while the forum was underway.
These violations make a mockery of the Parties’ repeated public commitments to peace. We call upon all Parties to the CoHA to show their leadership by valuing the lives of all people of South Sudan and silence the guns by respecting the CoHA.
In this regard, we welcome the statements by IGAD and the African Union (AU) in which both bodies urged the Parties to respect the CoHA or face punitive measures. We urge the IGAD, AU and the broader international community to move beyond such statements, should any party violate the CoHA agreement again. We also call on CTSAMM to swiftly investigate these violations to establish responsibility, the threshold of seriousness, and give guidance for punitive measures to be targeted the correct actors.
We appreciate the commitment of the mediators and facilitators to assisting the people of South
Sudan in our search for peace. Specifically, we commend their efforts for the progress made during the second phase. However, we feel that the approach could have been improved to expedite consensus building on removing the major obstacles to peace. On that note, we urge the mediation to prioritize deliberations on issues that led to failure of the ARCISS as well as on principles of reform, rather than on the unwarranted focus on power sharing and editing the text of the ARCISS.
We further appreciate the financial contribution of the friends of South Sudan to facilitate the
Forum. However, we also urge you to make this assistance time-bound with concrete deliverables, as indefinite funding may compromise the sense of urgency required to expeditiously reach an agreement. It is imperative to set a reasonable timeframe to finalize issues and formally bring the Forum to a successful end.
Through the #SouthSudanIsWatching Campaign, we will continue to monitor implementation
of the CoHA, both in letter and spirit. We shall categorically designate any party that violates the
CoHA as an enemy of peace and consequently demand for the appropriate punitive measures to be activated. We call upon South Sudanese all over the world to keep watching and keep up pressure on the parties to recognize their responsibility to make peace happen now.
Notes to the Editor
Spokespeople are available for interview in both English and Arabic. Additional members of the Civil Society Forum and the Womens’ Coalition are also available for interviews in Nairobi, Kampala and Addis Ababa. To arrange interviews contact:
• Manasseh Mathiang via firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: +211 955 722 713
• Geoffrey L. Duke via DukeGeff@gmail.com | Tel: + 211 955 166 606