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‘‘Friends of South Sudan" Go Public With Call For ‘‘Significant Changes And Reform’’ In Juba

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‘‘Friends of South Sudan" Go Public With Call For ‘‘Significant Changes And Reform’’ In Juba

Post by Mazy on Thu Jul 18 2013, 22:40

‘‘FRIENDS OF SOUTH SUDAN’’ GO PUBLIC WITH CALL FOR ‘‘SIGNIFICANT CHANGES AND REFORM’’ IN JUBA

July 7, 2013, (WASHINGTON) - A group of pro-South Sudan activists in the Unites States have released a letter sent to president Salva Kiir and other senior officials in Juba expressing concern over what they described as "increasingly perilous fate" of the new state which came to life in July 2011 after voting almost unanimously to gain independence from Sudan.

John Prendergast (L-R), Eric Reeves, Brian D’Silva (not a signatory to the letter), Ted Dagne and Roger Winter pose for a photograph in this undated image provided to Reuters by John Prendergast. (REUTERS/Nancy Reeves/Handout)

The letter signed by former U.S. State Department special envoy to Sudan Roger Winter, Sudan researcher Professor Eric Reeves, Co-Founder of Enough project John Prendergast and former congressional aide Ted Dagne said that they concluded that "without significant changes and reform" South Sudan "may slide toward instability, conflict and a protracted governance crisis"

"As friends, it is our responsibility to express our serious concerns directly and to offer constructive suggestions for the way forward".

The group, which has been one of earliest supporters of rebellion waged by southern Sudanese against Khartoum decades ago, accused Juba security forces of conducting "a campaign of violence again civilians simply because they belonged to a different ethnic group or they are viewed as opponents of the current government".

"This violence is shocking and has included rape, murder, theft, and destruction of property. We are particularly concerned about the evidence emerging of abuses by government forces in Jonglei. These terrible crimes occur because government forces believe they have the power to act with impunity," said the letter seen by Sudan Tribune.

"[T]hese atrocities are not isolated incidents but among many deliberate measures taken by soldiers on the instruction of senior commanders and government officials. Some may argue that the failure here lies in the chain of command, but the evidence makes clear that these orders are indeed coming from senior commanders," the group said.

A report by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) last March said that it investigated a series of reported grave human rights violations "which forewarn of a deterioration in the overall human rights situation".

South Sudan’s Jonglei state in particular has seen escalating levels of violence amid growing reports of human rights abuses against civilians caught up in the middle of fighting between South Sudan army and rebel group of David Yau.

In April, President Kiir said he would punish ill-disciplined members of the security forces engaged in acts of violence against civilians in Jonglei and also those who gave the orders.

The international medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), in a statement last month, accused South Sudan government of blocking them from providing aid to approximately 120,000 people hiding in the bushes.

Gunmen ambushed and killed five UNMISS peacekeepers and seven civilian staff last April in Jonglei.

The letter by the four pro-South Sudan activists also noted the lack of justice in crimes committed across the country and impunity enjoyed by some South Sudanese officials.

"Many attacks against civilians, including the killing of foreign businessmen, a teacher from Kenya, South Sudanese journalists, and many others, have gone unpunished. We have authoritative reports that government security forces have abused those who allow themselves and their cars to be searched. Many people, including government officials, have faced harassment and have been beaten up by security forces. Again, no one has been held accountable. This inevitably creates a climate of impunity" they said.

The Friends of South Sudan also addressed the issue of corruption and pointed out that "despite claims that vast sums have been expended on investment in infrastructure, there is very little to show in the way of roads, medical services, and education for millions of South Sudanese who greeted the prospect of independence with eagerness and hope".

"Those who have benefitted—who have become wealthy by misappropriating government funds—have often sent their families outside South Sudan, their children to private schools abroad, and have obtained the best medical services available in the world. This occurs while ordinary citizens who remain in South Sudan cannot afford even basic health services or modest educations for their children".

This month Kiir suspended and referred to investigation the Minister of Cabinet Affairs Deng Alor and Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Kosti Manibe for alleged corruption over request and transfer of nearly $8 million to an account abroad without authorization from relevant higher institutions.

The letter noted a World Bank investigation presented to South Sudan Ministry of Justice which they said "presents clear evidence of massive corruption".

"And yet the Ministry of Justice has not yet prosecuted a single individual".

Dagne, one of the letter’s signatories, was reportedly forced to flee Juba last year fearing for his safety following the release of a letter sent by Kiir to 75 officials urging them to return some $4 billion dollars they are accused of stealing.

The Ethiopian-born figure was hired by the UN to advise Kiir on anti-corruption policy and international relations and played a key role in the preparation of the letter which was made public to embarrass the officials who are accused of stealing four billion dollars.

He letter said that he was very frustrated by the extent of corruption, tribal wars and lack of development in the new nation.
The group presented a series of recommendations to South Sudan government to rectify the situation including an overhaul of the justice ministry; investigating and prosecuting human rights abuses; warning senior army officials against attacks on civilians; setting "clear" oil infrastructure priorities; making schools, medical services and clean water a priority; cutting the size of the army.

"The demands here are great, we well understand. But unless you begin to address them now, the tasks will only grow greater. Again, as friends of South Sudan, we urge you to confront these challenges on an urgent basis, and with all possible resolve," the letter closing paragraph reads.

In recent months a split has also emerged within the ruling Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) with several senior officials publicly challenging Kiir’s bid for a new term.

Kiir’s VP Riek Machar has publicly criticized his boss in an interview with The Guardian published this week saying that he has failed to tackle rampant corruption, rising tribalism, overwhelming insecurity, dwindling economy, poor international relations and that the SPLM was losing vision and direction.

He also declared his willingness to run for Kiir’s post in the 2015 elections.
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Mazy
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Re: ‘‘Friends of South Sudan" Go Public With Call For ‘‘Significant Changes And Reform’’ In Juba

Post by Mazy on Thu Jul 18 2013, 22:43

THE LETTER
Mr. Roger Winter
Mr. Eric Reeves
Mr. John Prendergast
Mr. Ted Dagne
Washington, D.C. USA

July 2013

His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit,
President of the Republic of South Sudan
Office of the President
Juba, South Sudan

Dear President Kiir:
We write to you, individually and collectively, as friends of South Sudan—longstanding friends who have committed more than two decades of our lives to the great cause of a just peace for the people of South Sudan. We have lobbied government officials, student organizations, media and nongovernmental groups to build a strong constituency for South Sudan in the United States. We have done our best to highlight the suffering of the people of South Sudan during the long civil war, and to offer our perspectives on the difficult road to completing a true peace.

Some of us have communicated our concerns with you individually and confidentially in the past, always as friends. At this moment, our friendship dictates that we express our concerns about the increasingly perilous fate of South Sudan. From our various vantages, we have all come to conclude that without significant changes and reform, your country may slide toward instability, conflict and a protracted governance crisis. As friends, it is our responsibility to express our serious concerns directly and to offer constructive suggestions for the way forward.

We must first state that over the past several years—but the last six months in particular—South Sudan government security forces have engaged in a campaign of violence against civilians simply because they belonged to a different ethnic group or they are viewed as opponents of the current government.

This violence is shocking and has included rape, murder, theft, and destruction of
property. We are particularly concerned about the evidence emerging of abuses by

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS
These problems cannot be resolved overnight, but an immediate commitment can be made to re-shape what now seems a dangerous and crisis-filled future for South Sudan.

• The Ministry of Justice must be revamped and key personnel who have enabled corruption and crimes against civilians to go unpunished must be removed.

• All senior army officials should be put on notice that attacks on civilians are completely unacceptable and will be severely punished up the entire chain of command.

• Existing alleged human rights abuses should be fully investigated and prosecuted.

• Clear oil infrastructure priorities should be set, especially now in light of a financial picture that is extremely grim. The fact that there are no refineries in the South, no oil storage facilities, and nothing in the way of progress towards a southern oil export route reflects an absence of planning and has left oil revenues at the mercy of the National Congress Party regime. As evidence from the past two years has made clear, the regime in Khartoum is perfectly willing to engage in duplicitous negotiations, commit to agreements in bad faith, and simply renege on agreements whenever it wishes, even if it punishes its own failing economy. All this could have been predicted from past behavior, and must certainly guide thinking going forward.

• Schools, medical services, clean water, and roads must top the list of priorities of internal spending. Until the people of South Sudan have ready access to education and health services—services that will need a transport infrastructure—they will be exceedingly vulnerable to disease, and will have little chance to contribute to a modern economy. And without a functional agricultural sector, South Sudan will always be dependent on others.

South Sudan confronts serious external security threats, and will almost certainly do so as long as the current regime controls Sudan. Nevertheless, the army must begin to make plans to be trimmed substantially, made more efficient, and receive training in international human rights law. Security is paramount, but that security will be squandered if the army does not become more responsive to the needs of its people and to its broader obligations to protect the rights of civilians.

The demands here are great, we well understand. But unless you begin to address them now, the tasks will only grow greater. Again, as friends of South Sudan, we urge you to confront these challenges on an urgent basis, and with all possible resolve.

Sincerely,
Roger Winter, Eric Reeves, John Prendergast, and Ted Dagne
Friends of South Sudan

CC: The Honorable Riek Machar Teny, Vice President
The Honorable James Wani Igga, Speaker

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Mazy
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Re: ‘‘Friends of South Sudan" Go Public With Call For ‘‘Significant Changes And Reform’’ In Juba

Post by LornaDoone on Sat Jul 20 2013, 03:02

I moved the water related comments to it's own thread as there is good information there!

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Re: ‘‘Friends of South Sudan" Go Public With Call For ‘‘Significant Changes And Reform’’ In Juba

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