GLOBAL SOLIDARITY STATEMENT: Standing together with the people of South Sudan
On Africa Day, 25 May 2018, we joined #SawaSouthSudan – the first ever virtual summit for South Sudan. It brought together current and former Heads of State, Ministers, representatives of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), and civil society leaders from South Sudan, the African continent, and the wider world. Our discussions on the human toll of this war, the devastating impunity, and the transformative potential of African solidarity touched nearly 15 million people online and on the radio throughout South Sudan and the region, including refugees and displaced people, and people in 25 countries from across the globe, from Australia to Zimbabwe.
Standing in solidarity with the people of South Sudan and with their aspirations for peace, participants of the Sawa South Sudan Summit demanded that:
The peace process must prioritize ordinary people’s lived realities above the political leaders’ jostle for power and positions. It is the ordinary South Sudanese who are starving, who have lost their lives, limbs, homes, and are suffering the most. Women carry the scars of rape and yet still step up to take care of their broken families and build communities.
The leaders of the political and armed groups of South Sudan need to show love for their country and find the strength to make peace. There is a need for honesty, compromise, and common understanding. South Sudan is bigger than any one individual; it is all its people.
South Sudan’s women must have a central role in the peace process and in the political leadership of the country going forward. All the parties to the peace process must have women representatives in their delegations and governance structures as they rebuild their country. Women hold communities together; without them, the country cannot be brought together.
The leaders of the region must determine to make peace in South Sudan their legacy, and be willing to adopt measures to stop the flow of arms and silence the guns in South Sudan. With perceptions of regional interests hindering peace, IGAD leaders must allow others to work with them to secure peace for South Sudan.
Perpetrators of violence against the people of South Sudan must be held to account. About two-thirds of women and girls in South Sudan have experienced physical and/or sexual violence with reports of men being sexually assaulted too. Soldiers or police – those mandated to protect the people of South Sudan – are committing most of these attacks.
Africa’s Heads of States and Governments must actively engage and not leave IGAD alone to help resolve this crisis. All of Africa must help South Sudan’s leaders make the hard decisions needed to find peace and ensure the wellbeing of South Sudanese. •
The AU must put in place the necessary incentives and measures that would lead to peace, justice and accountability, especially for those not respecting the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed in December 2017.
The AU must press on with the establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan so that steps towards justice can begin.
No South Sudanese should be dying from hunger and lack of food. The international community should mobilize and fully fund a humanitarian effort that reaches all those who need urgent assistance.
True African solutions are needed to stop this conflict, which is an African problem. African leadership is needed now to implement actions that match the lofty words leaders continue to promise when they meet at their summits. Otherwise, we will mark another Africa Day with yet more bloodshed in South Sudan.
1. Ayak Chol Deng Alak, Co-Founder, Ana Taban (South Sudan)
2. Veronica Isala Eragu Bichetero, Member of Parliament for Kaberamaido District (Uganda)
3. Ndana Bofu-Tawamba, CEO and Executive Director, Urgent Action Fund-Africa (Zimbabwe)
4. Rowaida Abou Eid, News Anchor, Al Arabi Al Jadeed TV (Palestine)
5. Oby Ezekwesili, former Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, former Nigerian Education Minister and co-founder of Transparency International (Nigeria)
6. Donnah Kamashazi Gasana, Founder and Managing Partner, Ethos Attorneys and Consultants (Rwanda)
7. Prof. Cheryl Hendricks, Doctor of Philosophy in Government and International Relations, University of Johannesburg (South Africa)
8. Memory Kachambwa, Executive Director, African Women's Development and Communication Network – FEMNET (Kenya)
9. Martha Karua, Chairperson, National Rainbow Coalition (Kenya)
10. Helen Kezie-Nwoha, Executive Director, Isis-Women's International Cross-Cultural Exchange – IsisWICCE (Uganda)
11. Emmily Koiti, Youth Representative for the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (South Sudan)
12. Rita Lopidia, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Eve Organization for Women Development (South Sudan)
13. Priscilla Misihairabwi, Member of Parliament, former Minister of Regional Integration & International Cooperation (Zimbabwe)
14. Alice Nderitu, Mediator and former Commissioner of the Kenyan National Cohesion and Integration Commission (Kenya)
15. Apondi Nyangaya, Community Development Consultant (Kenya)
16. Shuvai Nyoni, Director, African Leadership Centre (Zimbabwe)
17. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (Ireland)
18. Betty Sunday, Coordinator of the South Sudan Women's Monthly Forum (South Sudan)