Press Statement of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on preventing the relapse of South Sudan into conflict (05.11.2019)
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), through its Country Rapporteur for South Sudan, Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, has been following with concern the challenges facing the implementation by the parties, of the September 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).
The Commission expresses its serious concern about the imminent risk of relapse of the country into violence, which would certainly lead to another round of death and displacement of civilians. While only a few days are left before the deadline for the formation of the revitalized government of national unity and the start of the transitional period on 12 November, progress has not been made in the implementation of two key pre-transitional tasks, notably security arrangements and the number of states as well as internal boundaries of states.
The Commission deplores the intransigence and lack of concern of the parties to the R-ARCSS in relation to the plight of the people of South Sudan, leading to the absence of a consensual timeline and the requisite minimum conditions for the formation of a stable government of national unity by the current deadline.
The Commission notes with concern the disagreement between the parties to the R-ARCSS (namely the Government of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO)) on the formation of the revitalized government of national unity by the deadline of 12 November 2019. While one side is inclined to proceed with the plan of forming the government of national unity by 12 November, the other has called for the resolution of the dispute over the implementation of the two key pre-transitional tasks before the forming of the government of national unity and extension of the 12 November deadline.
The Commission is particularly alarmed that the inevitable disagreement that will result from formation of the government of national unity before progress is made in respect of the two key pre-transitional tasks, will create conditions that jeopardise the lives and peace of the South Sudanese people.
In light of the above, the Commission:
- Strongly urges the political leaders in South Sudan to place the protection and promotion of human rights of the South Sudanese people at the centre of all negotiations towards sustainable peace and development;
- Reminds the Government of South Sudan and the SPLM-IO as parties to the R-ARCSS that the right of all peoples to national and international peace and security under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights entails that they bear primary responsibility for the peace of South Sudanese;
- Urges the parties to avoid resort to unilateral measures that endanger the peace agreement and push the country back to violent conflict, and to this end, to engage constructively to achieve meaningful progress in respect to the two key pre-transitional tasks; and
- Calls on the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in collaboration with the African Union and others supporting the South Sudan peace process to facilitate consensus between the South Sudanese parties on the number and boundaries of states and for a mutually agreed timeline for the unification of their armed units into a unified army, as necessary steps for preventing recurrence of armed violence and the ensuing violations of the rights of South Sudanese, including women and children.
Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, Chairperson of the African Commission
Commissioner Rapporteur for the Republic of South Sudan and Focal Person of the Commission on Human Rights in Conflict Situations