The Peace Agreement included a national consultation process on establishing the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing.
GENEVA, Switzerland, September 26, 2022 – The international community urgently needs to pay more attention to the escalating violence proliferating at a local level all over South Sudan, warned United Nations-appointed human rights experts during a visit to New York which concluded yesterday.
“In meetings with United Nations officials here, we tried to get across the message that it is critical donors and member states continue to monitor the peace agreement, security sector reform and ensure constitutional legislation is pushed through before elections,” said Yasmin Sooka, Chairperson of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. “Without these steps, we are likely to see millions more South Sudanese displaced or crossing borders, creating havoc for neighbouring countries and aid agencies,” she added.
On 4 August 2022, parties to the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement for South Sudan signed on to a further two-year extension of the transitional governance arrangements, postponing elections until late 2024. As of now, the shape of the electoral system remains undefined. Additionally, elections require a conducive environment, but South Sudanese who have questioned the government or exposed atrocities have received death threats, been detained or tortured, with the political space shrinking.
The Peace Agreement included a national consultation process on establishing the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing. Consultations were held in mid-2022 but excluded millions of refugees who had fled fearing for their lives, along with large portions of the country, including those areas under opposition control.
Indeed, after four years, none of the three proposed transitional justice bodies have come into being – the Commission on Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, the Hybrid Court or the Compensation and Reparation Authority.
“You cannot exclude large numbers of people who have suffered from having a say in the future justice system. Nor can you cherry-pick between the different transitional justice bodies – they all have to work together to bring closure to the people of South Sudan,” said Commissioner Barney Afako.
“In the meantime, the Government must make available interim reparations to survivors whose lives are shattered,” he added.
While in New York, the Commissioners also spoke at a Global Survivors Forum hosted by Nobel Peace Prize winners Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, which examined best practice for reparations for sexual violence.
“Survivors in South Sudan, particularly those of repeated incidents of sexual violence, tell us again and again that criminal accountability is the only way to guarantee their safety and peace for the country,” said Commissioner Andrew Clapham. “That’s why setting up the Hybrid Court is non-negotiable.”
Minister of Interior Jeje Odongo own Ministerial Policy Statement of 15th March 2018 are very standard sort of document, but certain statements from there is telling. Especially on the Vote 120 on National Citizenship and Immigration Control, what it is, is apparently, reasons for why it need to be addressed, because it is a real lack transparency and not taking care of the Republic.
The NCIC is compromised of: “Deployed 300 Immigration Officers and Immigration Assistants at the borders and regional offices. This recruitment and deployment has improved border control and post entry management of aliens. This has improved representation of the ethnic groups of Ugandan and staff gender ratios” (…) “Insufficient funds to undertake constructions: Immigration offices are in very small single room measuring less than 8ftX8ft which accommodates more than 5 immigration staff. Furthermore, the Headquarters is housed in what was formerly a warehouse with some services provided under tents. Limited Staff accommodation. Some borders operate in wee hours which necessitates presence of accommodation for staff. This limits space for offices, e-services and board meetings. The Directorate requires UGX25.8bn for constructions. Porous Borders: Uganda has 52 gazetted border points along 2729 km borderline operationalized through the cluster approach. This leaves part of the borderline unmanned which compromise security and revenue generation. The Directorate requires extra UGX1.9bn for border operations” (MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS – MINISTERIAL POLICY STATEMENT FOR THE FINANCIAL YEAR 2017/2018, P: 62, 71, 2018).
It really is showing that something is lacking when you have 52 borders and staffed three hundred officers. That means that each border post would have about average 5 officers. Just think about that, when the border needs to be open 24/7 and there would be more on certain border-posts, also at Entebbe Airport as well. Since lots of the ones entering Uganda come by planes, not only by foot. Therefore, the NCIC is underfunded, but also understaffed.
The 300 officers are not only keeping track of the foreign workers, visitors of the Republic, but also issuing passports. Therefore, the NCIC is even more important to be staffed, because of the need of control of the borders. The republic cannot have open borders and have control of the revenue and neither also population control. It is seemingly bad planning and at random. But the porous borders and the gazetted borders should have officers. Since they are issuing in the last year over 65,000 passports last year. The Officers are really busy doing and not only looking into the ones moving across the borders.
If this body is supposed to control the migration, register and secure that no-one overstays their welcome. They need bigger funding, more officers and more training. Since that must be lacking, when the borders are seen as porous. Peace.