Joint statement by South Sudan's peace and reconciliation bodies

09 Jan 2014

image Chuol Rambang, Archbishop Daniel Deng, Archbishop David Okwier

Joint Statement

By the Peace and Reconciliation Commission, The Specialised Committee of Parliament on Peace and Reconciliation, The Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation

9 January 2014

The three government constituted bodies - The Peace and Reconciliation Commis-sion, The Specialised Committee of Parliament on Peace and Reconciliation and the independent Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation - mandated to work on peace and reconciliation, have watched with growing concern and alarm as armed hostilities escalate and intensify, threatening to pull our country into a down-ward spiral of violence.

In support of the dialogue process to end the violence and in the spirit of unity and reconciliation in building a collective future for all the people of South Sudan, the three institutions wish to offer this joint statement to the respective leaders who have start-ed a crucial dialogue process to end the fighting and violent conflict. The Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation is an independent body and The Peace and Reconciliation Commission is an independent government constituted body. The Specialised Committee of Parliament on Peace and Reconciliation is a key parliamen-tary committee within the Legislative Assembly. Together these three institutions with their partners are working for peace, healing and reconciliation in South Sudan.

The struggle for freedom and independence taught us lessons of courage, persever-ance and how to overcome almost insurmountable obstacles. It also taught us the value and strength of unity and standing together, shoulder to shoulder, and the need to talk to each other when we most strongly disagree. We achieved our victory through unified action and purpose. We solved our differences through dialogue and discussion. We draw on our spiritual connections to God, on our own inner strengths, on our skills and capacities and on our ancient wisdom and traditions. Our leaders spoke with vision and acted on principle and stayed connected as servants of the people of South Sudan. These are the lessons of our struggle and we believe that these lessons hold value not just for the past but in such times of crisis and for the future South Sudan we desire and deserve. We strongly urge our leaders to reclaim these lessons and apply them to the current disagreements in rebuilding the South Sudan we want.

The people of South Sudan have survived the war. It would be sad if our victory leads to our demise. By turning against each other we are betraying the memory and lega-cy of our martyrs who died for our freedom and independence and we deny the people of South Sudan the fruits of our collective victory. The free, prosperous, peaceful and secure South Sudan we want is evaporating like the morning mist before the harsh summer sun. Our proud history of struggling together as brothers and sisters and striving for peace and reconciliation amongst ourselves is giving way to a spirit of re-venge, intolerance and wilful killing. The values we learned from religion, from our mothers and fathers, from our grandparents and ancestors are seemingly forgotten. We strongly urge our leaders to reclaim and practice these values and principles and put unity before personal and group interest.

Drawing from the lessons of our historical struggle and honouring the values of our diverse cultures the three institutions make a joint appeal to all sides of the current divide to commit themselves to a process of political dialogue as the only way to re-solve the conflict and realign the country towards development and prosperity for all.

The Joint Statement proclaims the following
-    Support for the dialogue process facilitated by the IGAD leaders working with our leaders to come to an agreement to end the violence
-    Commitment from the fighting groups and their leaders to declare an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and cease armed combat.
-    Commitment from the leadership to resolve differences exclusively through dialogue and engage each other with respect, dignity and humanity.
-    Recognition and commitment from the leadership to embark on a long-term and in-depth process towards national healing and reconciliation
-    Express solidarity with the victims of the conflict and offer our condolences to the families who have lost loved ones, livelihood and belongings.
-    Appeal to the local and international humanitarian organisations to double their ef-forts to assist the people of South Sudan working in concert with local partners and with understanding of local sensitivities.

We wish to express our appreciation to the IGAD family who are offering their good offices and diplomacy to facilitate this very sensitive and crucial process to assist our leaders towards an agreement to end the violence. We also wish to express our grati-tude to the wider international community, including the UN for providing shelter and food to many of our fellow citizens and international NGOs who are offering humani-tarian support. We wish to thank the many people across the world who have kept South Sudan in their prayers and thoughts and we draw strength from your friendship and concern.

We wish our leaders wisdom, clear thinking and grace as you deliberate on political settlements which will further shape the future of our beloved country.

Above all our hearts and prayers go to our fellow brothers and sisters of South Sudan who once again are suffering and are subjected to immense pain and disruption. We are with you in our collective desire for peace and security. We wish you to be safe during these trying times.

We know that the road to true reconciliation and healing is long and stopping the fighting immediately is only the first, most necessary step in a difficult and tough journey. As South Sudanese citizens we believe we have the leadership, compassion, integrity, capacities and resilience to work together across divides of region, culture and ethnicity to achieve true peace and reconciliation in our lifetime. As state institut-ed bodies we are committed to work jointly towards this singular goal and to be of service to the people and nation of South Sudan and the government of the country.