August 21, 2011 (SSNA) — South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) has been perturbed by constant violations of human rights in South Sudan and with 2009 up to 2011 being the worst years witnessing deliberate violations of human rights and the right to life being constantly violated. There had been numerous occurrences and for a number of years in every part of South Sudan. What kind of society are we in? With constant deaths meted on the civilians particularly in the cattle keeping communities by what in SSHURSA view, are controllable circumstances if a functional government believes in the welfare of the people!. Again, Western Equatoria state has become unstable ground under the bloodiest Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
The ongoing Murle-Lou Nuer inter-tribal fights in Uror County of Jonglei state that had so far caused the death of over 640 civilians majority of whom women and children , dozens wounded with 208 children reported kidnapped and over 7000 houses and property destroyed from Lou-Nuer, is very alarming and violates human rights of the victims. If the number of the dead persons from the attackers is added to the reported death tolls, how many South Sudanese shall have been confirmed dead in one day? What are the civilians dying for? For how long will the civil population continue dying in South Sudan even when the region has attained its long independence and has a government of its own autonomy and territory?
SSHURSA is heartily perturbed by such violations of human rights and therefore, it condemns in strongest terms possible such violations of human rights. This is unbecoming and intolerable to sane and human rights minded persons not only in South Sudan but also the whole world because of the shared value of human rights.
Human rights are universal and no one has the right to take up life of another person. For how long will the people of South Sudan continue dying from manageable crisis?
In June 2011, the Lou-Nuer were alleged to have staged similar attacks on Murle community in Pibor County killing dozens, burning down houses and destroyed property with death tolls rising on civilians rating to hundreds and similar attack is now meted on Lou-Nuer by alleged Murle attackers. The political leaders of both communities are just dancing on usual tunes of blames and denials of the responsibility neither the state government is a serious player on devising mechanisms practically enough to bring conflict to an end.
The inter-tribal fights between these two communities have been going on for many years and throughout the interim period of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The government of Jonglei has done less to protect the civilians. The leaders of the two communities have always found scapegoats of not accepting the realities on the ground by owning up responsibilities to mediate their grassroots people and use practical and honest approaches to resolve the conflict permanently.
The government of South Sudan has also miserably failed to protect the civilians not only in Jonglei but in most parts of South Sudan. Lakes, Warrab, Upper Nile and Unity states have been witnessing similar attacks on civilians by the South Sudan’s insurgents and cattle raiders leave alone LRA atrocities in Western Equatoria state. Who does the government think can protect the civilians?
The constant revenge attacks by the two communities; Murle and Nuer in Jonglei state, has been litmus test for the Government of Southern Sudan and now the Government of the Republic of South Sudan. The South Sudan’s army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has also failed to prevent similar attacks by the armed civilians on civilians and neither protected the civilians on either community. What better language can one use to describe a situation when a national army cannot protect its own people from controllable attacks and killings preserve human rights?
SSHURSA believes that the SPLA is a strong force to recount with and therefore, together with the respective state’s police, must genuinely ensure that citizens are free from internal and external attacks and therefore, provide all civilians with equal protection. Hundreds of lives lost and thousands of property destroyed constantly in South Sudan without the government acting seriously to bring the situation order, where will South Sudan get such lost lives again?
SSHURSA in solidarity with the victims and families of those who lost the dear ones in constant revenge killings in South Sudan due to the negligence from the government of the Republic, condemns such killings as inhuman and hence violations of human rights. Losing a single life of a human person and destruction of property are a great loss to humanity. This violates the human rights of an individual and contravenes the provisions of Article 11 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 that states;
“Every person has inherent right to life, dignity and the integrity of his or her person which shall be protected by law; no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life”
With women and children being killed and those caught taken into a form of servitude. This is insanity and a necessary worry of any concerned, effective and humane state.
There is no any justification under the sun that the government of the Republic of South Sudan should continue to fail without protecting its own population even after the independence. The government should know that protecting its own civilians is not a privilege but a Constitutional right of and fundamental national service by the state to its own citizens.
As SSHURSA condemns the constant violations of human rights in South Sudan, we make the following recommendations to the government of Jonglei, the Republic of South Sudan, SPLA and the international community:
1. The government of the Republic of South Sudan must, under all circumstances take practical responsibility to protect the civilians in every part of South Sudan. SSHURSA emphasizes that it is not a privilege but a right of the citizens to be protected by their own government
2. The government of South Sudan must professionalize and train the SPLA and South Sudan police manpower to be capable of neutrally protecting civilians from any aggression.
3. The government of the Republic of South Sudan must form a neutral team of fact-finding as to why there have been fights and inter and intra tribal fights in the states in South Sudan but neither the SPLA nor the state government has adequately protected the civilians. The team must compose of the members from civil society, government at Juba level, states, international community and religious leaders. Those implicated in perpetuating and fanning the violence and violations of human rights must be brought to justice.
4. The government of Jonglei state must accept that it has failed its sole protection responsibility of civilians and therefore, involve other stakeholders at the level of the Republic’s Government so that peaceful means are devised together to enhance civilians’ protection in the state. This must also be applicable to other states such as Lakes.
5. The government of the Republic of South Sudan must devise non tribalized and non politicized disarmament not only in Jonglei state but also all over South Sudan while with Jonglei, Lakes, Eastern Equatoria and Upper Nile to be disarmed immediately.
6. The government of the Republic of South Sudan, in order to convince the armed civilians to lay down arms without any conditions, must devise series honest mobilization and sensitization campaigns among the civil population in South Sudan that it is capable and indeed its capability is seen to protect the civilians.
7. The government of South Sudan and that of the states must take development in terms of provisions of most needed services such as medical services, schools etc that they have failed to deliver to the citizens over the last years.
8. The leaders of Jonglei state government and people’s assembly hailing from the three major tribes, the Dinka, the Murle and the Nuer in Jonglei state as well as those in central government, must honestly come out and go to sit down with the grassroots communities including chiefs and armed youth to hold conferences to come up with practical and honest resolutions on how the live and co-exist peacefully. The leaders should desist from politicizing the revenge and inter-tribal fights and enjoy constant denials of who takes the responsibility.
9. SSHURSA appeals to the Members of South Sudan National Legislative Assembly as well as the state Assemblies to accept their failures in overseeing welfare and security of the people of South Sudan and therefore, come up with positive measures that will protect permanently the people of South Sudan particularly civilians.
10. SSHURSA appeal to rekindle its nationalistic and patriotic spirit as it was in the bush to protect the people of South Sudan equally and deligently.
11. SSHURSA appeals to international community particularly United Nations Mission In South Sudan(UNMISS) to get involved in protecting the civilians particularly working together with the SPLA and police in each state to ensure the safety of civilians.
12. SSHURSA appeals again to all other stakeholders to sensitize grassroots on human rights particularly right to life.
13. SSHURSA appeals to every individuals to respect human rights, life and dignity of another person.
14. SSHURSA appeals to all the armed civilians in every state, to co-operate with the government in laying down their arms peacefully and desist from violating the rights of others.
Let every person in the new Republic respect human rights and the leaders in the government must know that universality of human rights is non-negotiable and therefore, the Republic has the sole responsibility to protect its citizens’ rights. Right to life is as important as other rights. South Sudan must not be of exception, it must protect its civilians.
BACKGROUND OF SSHURSA:
South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy is an indigenous, non-political Human Rights organization registered in accordance with the laws of South Sudan by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of South Sudan. SSHURSA is based in South Sudan with its headquarters in Juba and co-ordination offices in the states. It was founded on June 5th, 2007 at Makerere Law Development Centre (LDC) Kampala-Uganda by a group of South Sudanese lawyers and law students. The rationale for SSHURSA formation was occasioned by the Human Rights records in Sudan as a whole and in war-torn South Sudan in particular where Human Rights, dignity and freedoms of individuals and the rule of law had suffered gross violations in the hands of warring parties over the last decades of civil wars in the country. SSHURSA came to South Sudan in 2009 and the organization since then had conducted a series of trainings and sensitization campaigns on Human rights in South Sudan. SSHURSA, top on its vision and mission, believes in an equal society where human rights are upheld and Constitutionalism is valued and women’s and Children’s rights protection is a priority.
SSHURSA OBJECTIVES AMONG OTHERS INCLUDE: