20-26 July, 2015
Compiled by Vincent Marquis
- Tensions and optimism ahead of peace negotiations
- Human Rights Watch releases report on human rights abuses in South Sudan
- Deadly attack along Juba-Kajo-Keji road
- Stephen O’Brien visits South Sudan
1. Tensions and optimism ahead of peace negotiations
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 20, 2015, in English) South Sudan government says peace agreement emerges with rebels
- The South Sudanese government expressed optimism at overcoming difficulties in indirect peace negotiations with the leadership of the armed opposition faction led by Riek Machar, which aim to end the 19-month conflict in the country.
- “There is a significant progress in the talks and there is a hope peace will come to the country at the end of these engagements,” Daniel Awet Akot, a senior member of the SPLM told Sudan Tribune.
- The SPLM-IO also welcomed the indirect engagement between the two warring parties but expressed reservations over what they said was a lack of seriousness and good faith from government officials.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 20, 2015, in English) Government peace delegates travel to Addis Ababa
- The Office of the President says a government delegation is in Addis Ababa for the resumption of peace talks with the SPLM in Opposition.
- Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny says the team will consult with IGAD-Plus — which includes five African countries, the African Union and the United Nations in addition to the IGAD mediators — before the negotiations begin.
- Mr Ateny told Eye Radio that this is the first time the new team is meeting negotiators from both sides.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 21, 2015, in English) IGAD-Plus discusses draft compromise document
- The IGAD-Plus are discussing the draft compromise document that the South Sudan warring parties are expected to negotiate on and sign.
- Chairperson of the IGAD-Special Envoys, Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, talked about the urgency of ending what he called a “senseless war” and urged the South Sudan parties to reach peace for the sake of their people.
- The draft compromise document proposes, amongst other things, the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) to be implemented over a period of 33 months. It also outlines fundamental reforms and transitional governance arrangements.
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 23, 2015, in English) South Sudan accuses foreign powers of blocking peace deal
- Senior members of South Sudan’s governing SPLM have accused unnamed foreign powers of allegedly playing a negative role in blocking attempts to resolve the conflict with the armed fighters allied to former vice president, Riek Machar.
- Daniel Awet Akot claimed that the two warring parties are failing to sign a peace agreement and end the conflict because foreign powers do not give the South Sudanese leaders the opportunity to sit down as a family and resolve their own differences without external interference.
- General Bona Bhang Dhol, a senior military figure close to the President, also accused a number of IGAD member states of allegedly supporting the rebel leader, Riek Machar, in the internal conflict, but did not name these countries.
- These statements came after many similar accusations and blames directed to foreign powers as Juba seems to have been frustrated by almost every single one of its neighbours, with the exception of Uganda, who has explicitly supported president Kiir’s government.
(Gurtong, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 24, 2015, in English) CEPO calls on worrying parties to compromise for peace
- The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), a civil society organization based in South Sudan, is calling on the parties involved in the conflict to compromise for peace in the next round of peace talks scheduled to take place next month in Addis Ababa.
- CEPO hopes the Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) team will deliberate on the draft peace proposal, which the warring parties are expected to negotiate and sign in the coming weeks.
- CEPO Executive Director Edmund Yakani claimed that “there is unity of all the players around the peace process…We wish them to continue…We need to acknowledge that this process should lead to peace. We worry that [failure to achieve peace] in this round of talks may have a great impact on our lives”.
(Eye Radio, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 24, 2015, in English) IGAD-Plus vows to ensure that peace deal is signed on 17 August
- IGAD-Plus mediators, who ended their three-day meeting on Thursday, have vowed to ensure that the warring parties to the conflict sign a peace agreement on the 17th of August.
- “The IGAD-Plus are united in their determination to see that the Compromise Agreement is signed by August 17, which will go a long way to ease the suffering of the people of South Sudan and jointly call on the parties to return to Addis Ababa on August 5 prepared to finalize the agreement,” said Abdetta Birbirsa, IGAD Chief-of-Staff of Special Envoys for South Sudan.
- In terms of power sharing, the agreement suggests that the government would take 53% during a transitional period of two and half years. The SPLM in Opposition would take 33%, and the former political detainees and other political parties 14%.
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 26, 2015, in English) IGAD unveils proposed compromise peace agreement for South Sudan
- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has unveiled its latest reviewed proposal for a compromise between warring parties so as to end the civil war in South Sudan.
- The proposed agreement stipulates that the power sharing in the national executive would be 53% of ministerial positions for the government, 33% for the opposition faction of the SPLM-IO, 7% for former detainees and 7% for other political parties.
- On security arrangements, the agreement proposes a period of 18 months (within the 30-month transitional period) to complete the integration process of the two rival armies.
- The national capital, Juba, would be demilitarized and be known as a Special Arrangement Area. Foreign forces from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, IGAD and African Union would take over the security of the capital until the end of the transitional period.
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 26, 2015, in English) US president calls on South Sudan warring parties to end war
- Barrack Obama, on a three-day visit to Kenya, has called on Salva Kiir’s government and the SPLM-IO led by Riek Machar to stop fighting and sign a peace agreement.
- “The situation is dire. We agree that the best way to stop the fighting is for South Sudanese leaders to put their country first with a peace agreement that ends the fighting,” Obama told reporters after talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi.
- Obama is expected to travel to Addis Ababa, the venue for the peace talks, and meet with the African Union leaders to discuss the situation in South Sudan.
2. Human Rights Watch releases report on human rights abuses in South Sudan
(Human Rights Watch, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 21, 2015, in English) “They Burned it All”: Destruction of Villages, Killings, and Sexual Violence in Unity State South Sudan
- In a major report released this week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) claimed the following: “In April and May of this year in central Unity, government forces, especially allied armed militia from the Bul Nuer ethnic group, killed, beat, and raped scores of civilians, particularly women, burned homes and food stocks in over two dozen small towns, villages, and settlements, and stole tens of thousands of cows, goats, and sheep, as well as clothes, food, cooking utensils, and other materials.”
- According to HRW, the patterns of attacks documented in this report indicate the deliberate targeting of the civilian population across Rubkona, Guit, and Koch counties. Such attacks constitute war crimes and acts such as murder and rape may also amount to crimes against humanity.
- The report includes a series of recommendations to the parties involved in the conflict and the government of South Sudan, as well as to international bodies like the UNSC, the African Union, the UNHCR and South Sudan’s international partners.
- Recommendations to the parties involved include ensuring all forces, including any affiliated militia forces, immediately cease all violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, and excluding amnesty for serious crimes committed in violation of international law from any peace agreement.
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 24, 2015, in English) S. Sudan army investigating human rights abuses: spokesperson
- The South Sudanese army said it has launched investigations into a Human Rights Watch report accusing its forces of killing civilians in Unity state.
- Army Spokesperson Col. Philip Aguer said “the SPLA command is conducting an investigation into the report to know exactly where the alleged violations took place…If it is proved that the SPLA soldiers or officers carried out such violations, definitely this is against our rules of [military] engagement that prohibit any killings of innocent civilians”.
- Aguer said the US-based human rights agency and the United Nations should accept the army’s invitation to work together to prove any wrongdoing by government forces.
3. Deadly attack along Juba-Kajo-Keji road
(Gurtong, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 20, 2015, in English)4 killed in an ambush along Juba-Kajo-Keji road
- Six armed men ambushed and attacked a truck coming from Kajo-Keji to Juba, killing four people and injuring several others.
- One eyewitness claimed “Attacks have been taking place on the Juba-Kajo-Keji road. Many of those attacks were limited to robbing money and property from the passengers. But what happened had nothing to do with robbery of property or money.”
- Hon. Mary Kiden Kimbo, a Member of Parliament representing Kajo-Keji County in the National Assembly reported that the incident took place near security personnel. Kiden has called for an investigation into the matter.
4. Stephen O’Brien visits South Sudan
(Gurtong, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 22, 2015, in English) UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O’Brien Arrives in South Sudan
- UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O’Brien arrived in South Sudan to discuss the on-going crisis and ways of strengthening humanitarian operations.
- O’Brien will be assessing the devastating humanitarian consequences of the conflict as well as the efforts being made by aid organizations to respond to the escalating needs of the country and its population.
- During his four-day visit, O’Brien is expected to meet with communities affected by the conflict, senior government officials, humanitarian partners as well as the diplomatic community.
(Sudan Tribune, independent/privately-owned online media platform, article dated July 25, 2015, in English) UN humanitarian chief calls for end to South Sudan conflict
- The United Nations emergency relief coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, has called on all parties involved in the South Sudanese conflict to lay down their arms and commit to sustainable peace so as to end the humanitarian crisis.
4. Inter-clan violence in Lakes states
(Gurtong, independent/privately-owned online platform, article dated July 6, 2015, in English)
Revenge attack leaves 16 dead in Lakes state
- 16 people have lost their lives and 16 others sustained injuries during a revenge attack between the Panaguong and Panawur sub-clans in Duony Payam in Lakes State.
- Mayom Malek, Cueibet County Commissioner, said fighting occurred within the Pagook Section when one of the clans attacked the other in what is believed to be a revenge attack.
- Malek said the situation is now calm following the deployment of security forces in the area. He also said that the wounded are now receiving treatment. Investigations will be launched to clarify the circumstances of the attack.