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The South Sudan Civil Society Forum ends the 60-day countdown to the end of the pre-transitional period with disappointment

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(Juba, May 13, 2019) – Today, with disappointment, the South Sudan Civil Society Forum (SSCSF) ends
the 60-day countdown to the end of the pre-transitional period.

The purpose of the countdown was to remind
the parties to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) of
the time left until the end of the pre-transitional period and to urge the parties to strengthen their efforts to
form a unity government by May 12.

We, the SSCSF, had worked in good faith with all the signatories to the R-ARCSS since its signing in Addis
Ababa in September 2018.

Since the signing of the agreement, the South Sudanese people developed hope
and expectations that all the signatories would act in the people’s interest and work to make the deal
succeed. Sadly, the parties’ failure to implement the agreed-upon governance and security arrangements
over the last eight months give us reason to question their commitment to the agreement.

On May 3, 2019, the parties reached a consensus agreement to extend the pre-transitional period for six
months. This extension was unavoidable, given the parties’ failure to make meaningful progress since the
agreement was signed. Nonetheless, we commend them for demonstrating political maturity and
recognizing that the alternative might have been a renewed conflict, which South Sudan cannot afford.
While we commend the incumbent government’s pledge to provide one hundred million dollars for
implementation of the R-ARCSS, it is disappointing that the same government waited for the pre￾transitional period to elapse before making this pledge.

Several events over the last eight months raise concerns that our good faith engagement has not been
reciprocated by the signatories to the R-ARCSS. A recent scandal involving the hiring of US-based
consultants by the office of the President to, among other things, lobby against the Hybrid Court—a
mechanism that was provided for in the R-ARCSS as a means of combating impunity and deterring violence
against civilians—is a worrying indication that they are not committed to implementing the agreement in
full. We welcome the immediate withdrawal of the government from that contract in response to public
demand. However, we are still concerned about the ambiguities surrounding the new deal with Gainful
Solutions, especially about the fees to be paid by the government to the company.
Even as fighting between government and opposition forces have decreased since the signing of the R￾ARCSS last September, the situation remains extremely tense and could deteriorate at any moment.

Intensified violence between signatories and non-signatories to the agreement is also taking its toll on
civilian populations, as seen in the atrocities being committed in Yei.
Our fears, realized
On April 30, 2019, the United Nations Panel of Experts on South Sudan released a detailed report exposing
numerous egregious human rights violations and abuses committed by the signatories to the R-ARCSS.
The report also describes in detail their failure to comply with the agreement’s terms. The report’s findings
leave us profoundly disappointed with all the signatories to the R-ARCSS for failing to not only protect
their people but also for continuously siphoning the country’s resources for personal gain.
The ongoing misuse of South Sudan’s natural resources threatens to leave future generations bankrupt and
destitute. If well utilized, South Sudan’s rich resource endowments could not only meet the humanitarian
needs of its citizens but could also finance the country’s governance institutions and socio-economic
development needs for generations to come. There can be no future for our country if our leaders continue
to squander our national wealth.

The conflict, now well into its fifth year, has taken a devastating toll on our society. Despite the parties’
commitment in the R-ARCSS to stop conflict-related sexual violence, rape and other such crimes continue
to be a horrific feature of the conflict. The Panel’s report, as well as reporting by the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Commission for Human Rights in
South Sudan, have documented hundreds of sexual violence cases since the signing of the R-ARCSS in
September 2018. Sadly, South Sudanese girls as young as eight have been among the victims. The
continuous creation of committees to investigate the problem without action is not enough. The government
should prosecute the individuals responsible for signaling to the armed forces and allied militia that such
conduct will no longer be tolerated.
We are also deeply disturbed by the UN report’s finding that Dong Samuel, an activist and prominent
human rights lawyer, and his colleague Aggrey Idri, a member of the opposition, were brutally murdered,
by individuals allegedly acting on behalf of the government of South Sudan. As the SSCSF, we strongly
condemn these murders and demand that the government carry out a thorough investigation, apprehend and
prosecute all those responsible for this heinous crime or adequately inform citizens on the fate of the two
citizens.
Reinvesting hope in South Sudan

The report of the UN Panel of Experts is not the first report to document the suffering of South Sudan’s
people. Over the past five years, numerous reports have documented ongoing violations and abuses against
the people of South Sudan. The civil war has left the country and its economy in ruins.

Despite ample reason to lose faith, the people of South Sudan continue to retain hope that we will soon
chart a way out of this crisis. To give up would be a profound dishonor to all those who have perished and
suffered over the generations to free the people of South Sudan from oppression, abuse and discrimination.
We have come too far and lost too much to lose hope now.

We call on all citizens of South Sudan to play their part in the implementation of the R-ARCSS and to keep
watching closely especially on activities that could undermine our journey to peace, such as mobilization
of youth for violence. We urge you to report any such information to the contact details below.
South Sudan needs a stronger and more constructive investment by its neighboring countries, renewed
support from the international community, and the active involvement of its citizenry to end the war. As
the Panel’s report so clearly shows, if the R-ARCSS signatories are left to their own devices, there is little
chance that the agreement will be implemented. South Sudan needs an investment – an economic one undoubtedly, but a political one, more importantly, which may require a strict and stringent engagement at
first, but which will yield positive results soon after.
To renew hope and commitment in South Sudan, the SSCSF recommends the following:
 The Parties to the R-ARCSS fulfill their promises to implement the agreement and make
meaningful progress over the coming weeks and months to form the unity government by
November 12, 2019. We urge the parties to develop a detailed plan on how to implement the pre￾transitional tasks within the next six months with realistic timelines and costs. We also call upon
the government to swiftly avail the funds it has committed to the implementation of the agreement;
 The UN Security Council fulfills its mandate to protect South Sudanese citizens by enforcing all
measures it has taken, and new ones it can take in the future, to close off all paths to war to let
South Sudan’s people forge new paths for peace;
 South Sudan’s regional partners, individually and within IGAD, understand that South Sudan
cannot be of much value to any of its neighbors if it continues on the path of decline both
economically and in terms of security, and if its resources are funneled away without proper
oversight; and that arms continue to proliferate the country fueling ghastly violence, and that a
healthy, vibrant, democratic, and conflict-free South Sudan is intricately linked to the well-being
of the entire Horn of Africa;
 The African Union resolutely upholds its commitment to promote and protect justice,
accountability, human rights, and the rule of law in South Sudan, a commitment it has made not
only directly to the people of South Sudan in the R-ARCSS through establishment of the Hybrid
Court on South Sudan, but also but to all Africans in its new transitional justice policy.

South Sudan’s international partners to understand that adequately investing in our country is
more than just donating dollars, pounds, and euros; it is also about investing in the country’s
chances for a sustainable peace, which international partners can do by removing any ability for
the spoilers of peace to profit from continued war, and by holding all perpetrators to the most
stringent measures of accountability when there is irrefutable evidence they have committed crimes
against international law.
Hope becomes reinvested in South Sudan when our country’s present and future leadership understand
that self-enrichment and personal gain does not build a country; that our precious South Sudan, for which
we have sacrificed so much, becomes real only when we can touch it, smell it, see it, and share it with all
our loved ones without fear for our lives and in full anticipation for the bounty it can provide for the
generations of South Sudan’s children to come when all this that we now experience is but a fleeting
memory.

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