By Makeda Saba
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By Makeda Saba
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In January this year Sudanese troops were sent to man the country’s border with Eritrea.
The border was sealed: trade between the neighbouring states ceased.
This has caused real hardship for many on both sides of the border – but particularly in Eritrea, which relies on imports from Sudan.
So what is behind these dramatic events?
The origins of the dispute can be traced back to a visit to Eritrea by the Sudanese First Vice – President and National Prime Minister, Lt. Gen. Bakri Hassan Salih in December last year.
The official Sudanese statement said the two sides had “discussed progress of the bilateral relations between two countries and issues of mutual concern.”
But Sudanese sources suggest the discussions were far more dramatic. Sudan has been drifting away from its traditional alliance with Egypt, and closer to Ethiopia.
Khartoum has sided with Addis Ababa rather than Cairo over Ethiopia’s Grand…
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I have received this from a contact working through the ‘Freedom Friday’ network.
Activists from yesterday’s protest are sending a call for national unity against PFDJ actions against religious schools.
In an impassioned appeal for unity across all faiths the activists stated:
“Unsurprisingly the regime is attempting to taint this as a religious move aimed at asserting Moslem dominance in the country.
However neither the actions of the government in closing religious schools not the actions yesterday were about one religious group.
There were Christians protestors on the streets yesterday and some are actually in prison alongside their Moslem brothers.
Yesterday at the mosque we made it clear that our issues are issues of freedom and liberty and not confined to religion or one religious group.
In fact what must be clear is that the schools shut include the Catholic school in at the Cathedral as well as the…
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The trend is extremely concerning
Maybe one day our grandchildren will ask us: what did you do when a Nazi party returned to the German parliament? A modified question of this version was asked by my generation to their grandparents and parents: what did you do when ‘Auschwitz’ happened, ‘Auschwitz’ having become the metaphor for the barbarity of the ‘Third Reich’, including not only the extermination of the Jewish and other populations but also the extermination war in the East and much else.
AfD election poster: ‘Stop islamisation – vote AfD’ Photo: Stefan Boness, http://www.iponphoto.com
Hopefully it will not get that far, and the ‘Nazi-party’ will disappear again before future grandchildren are born, but the result of the recent German general election, where it came third in the overall popular vote, even if not unexpected, still came as a seismic shock to many. Those who ever went to an rally by the Alternative für Deutschland
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La version en Français ici
I spent several years of my professional career working on human rights and justice first as the Founder and Chairperson of Juris-Club, then as Commissioner at the National Commission of Human Rights following my election by the Parliament of Togo, then as Outreach Liaison for Africa at the Global Coalition for the International Criminal Court in New York among others … The conflict between the African Union and the ICC therefore interests me in several respects but especially as African and a human rights lawyer; therefore I would like to share here some personal reflections on the different episodes of the serial “ICC versus the African Union”.
The International Criminal Court: The Basics
The creation of the International Criminal Court is an important step in mankind’s efforts to make our world more just. The court was established by an international law treaty “The Rome…
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The eruption of fighting on 7th July 2016 between the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army(SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition ( SPLA – IO) in Juba and the huge loss of life and casualties as well as the destruction of properties that it has caused are clearly an indication of flaws of the Compromised Peace Agreement.
Clearly the Compromised Peace Agreement is in tatters and there is an urgent need to address the key shortcoming of the agreement and in particular for IGAD mediators to consider the meaningful inclusion of diverse voices from South Sudan both political as well as from Civil Society .
In 2015, during the negotiation of the Compromised Peace Agreement in Ethiopia , Senior Generals and Politicians from the SPLM-IO were already dissenting and defecting from SPLM-IO and accusing rebel leader Dr Riek Machar of poor leadership because of provision of the Compromised Peace Agreement
At the time, General Peter Gadet , a hardliner famous for the capture of Bor in the aftermath of December 2013, was one of the early defectors who rejected the proposal for the formation of Transitional Government that included both President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar and consequently vowed to fight both sides. At the time the significance of Gadget’s defection was downplaid by SPLM-IO.
In August 2015 , prior to the singing of the Compromised Peace Agreement, the South Sudan Federal Democratic Party ( SSFDP) broke away from the Riek Machar led Sudan People Liberation Movement – In Oppositions ( SPLM – IO ) . The chairman of the SSFDP is H.E. Gabriel Changson Chan, is the former Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports
The SSFDP has an armed wing called South Sudan Armed Forces (SSFA) initially lead by General Peter Gadet. However by April 2016 there was a formal separation between SSFDP and General Peter Gadet as the latter had formed the National Defence Alliance ( NDA). During the same period, reflecting the fluidity and complexity of South Sudan politics, the SSFDP suffered the defection to the Government of Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, Gen. James Malith Gatluak and Brig. Gabriel Gatwech Puoch
During the negotiation of the Compromised Peace Agreement and in particular in August 2015, matters were not much better on the Government side. Because of these tensions and dissentions, President Salva Kiir signed the Peace Agreement, with reservations on 26 August 2015, almost 2 weeks after the document had been signed by Dr Riek Machar ( SPLM-IO ) and Mr Pagan Amun – the reinstated Secretary General of the SPLM South Sudan who signed on behalf of the former detainees – a group of high ranking politicians briefly jailed in the aftermath of the events of December 2013.
During an interview given to the Sudan Tribune on 11 February 2016, HE Gabriel Changson Chan stated:
“……. Depending on the peace agreement as the basis of the Transitional Government of National Unity ( TGoNU) without constitution will lead to failure in the implementation of the peace agreement. “
“The agreement will be dead as soon as the First Vice President takes oath of office as the First Vice President”
“The President  will then govern the country with un –amended constitution and shall have the liberty to appoint and dismiss the First Vice President and the cabinet minister because there will be no constitutional protection for them”
In April 2016, Dr Riek Machar finally arrived in Juba and the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) was formed. Though people wanted to hope for the best, the general feeling in Juba was that the formation of the TGoNU had simply reset the country in the same position as it was in 2013 with the same players and tensions in place.
Earlier this month , fighting reminiscent of December 2013 erupted in Juba ,causing more than 300 deaths, and the displacement of over 30,000 people in Juba .In Addition the fighting was not restricted to Juba as almost simultaneously armed clashes were reported in Wau, Torit, Bentiu, Lainya, Yei , Kajo Keji. Though it is not possible to say that there was a deliberated coordination it is clear that there was a widening of the conflict throughout South Sudan.
Thought the ceasefire in Juba is most welcome, it is disturbing that:
“He has no right to do that because this is the coalition government and I have my group. We should discuss the issue, and if the Former Detainees are convinced, than it is up to us to look for a replacement.”
On 14 July 2016 ,I interviewed HE Gabriel Changson Chan, former Minister of Youth , Culture and Sports and present chairman of the Political Committee of the South Sudan Federal Democratic Party ( SSFDP). He explained that recent events in South Sudan clearly demonstrate that the Compromised Peace Agreement is very weak and that that there are no safeguards to ensure its viability and implementation. The mistrust and antagonism between President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar is such that it is not possible for the two personalities to work together in particular in light of the fact that both expect to contest the 2018 elections. Changson claims that during the negotiation phase of the Compromised Peace Agreement IGAD was informed of the concerns about the ability of President Kiir and Dr Riek Machar to overcome their mutual antagonism, however such concerns were ignored .
According to the SSFDP Chairman the way forward is as followss:
Such stabilisation action would then support: The process of reconciliation in the country and in particular the:
H.E Gabriel Changson Chan is of the view that in the event that IGAD and partners fail to take immediate action to stop the fighting, maintain law and order and support the setting up of a truly inclusive Transitional Government of National Unity ( TGoNU), the current conflict will expand as the South Sudanese People will look to take such action as they deem necessary to protect their rights
Makeda Saba firstname.lastname@example.org
 IGAD Plus Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan ( ARCSS)
 Dr Riek Machar
 President Salva Kiir Mayardit
 President Salva Kiir Mayardit
 Compromised Peace Agreement
 President Salva Kiir Mayardit
 2016.07.14 South Sudan Federal Democratic Party ( SSFDP) /South Sudan Armed Forces (SSAF) – Urgent Press Release – The Juba Two Massacres 2016
On Monday 11 July 2016, in view of the deteriorating situation in South Sudan and in particular in Juba there were emergency meeting of both the UN in New York as well as of IGAD Council in Nairobi.
The IGAD Council meeting held in Nairobi was also attended by the Troika representatives of USA ( Ambassador HE Nic Hailey), UK ( High Commissioner HE Robert Godec), Norway (Royal Norwegian Charge D’Affairs HE Vebojen Heines ); the Head of the EU Delegation to Kenya ( HE Stefano Dejak); Deputy Head of Mission Embassy of Italy to Kenya and Representative of the IGAD Partner forum ( Ms Angela Loi).
Following the meeting the IGAD Council issued the following statement:
Late on Monday 11 July 2016, friends and colleagues in Juba started to report that they could hear announcements on the streets of Juba of cease-fire this was later officially confirmed by Brigadier General Lul Ruai, the spokesperson for the SPLA who read the Republican Order No 17/2016 signed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on SSBC .
Today ( 12 July 2016 ) the UN Security Council plans to meet and discuss recent events in South Sudan . It is of particular relevance that in preparation for the UN Security Council meeting the Secretary General Banki Moon is lobbying for the imposition of an immediate arms embargo, additional targeted sanctions on leaders and commanders blocking the implementation of the Peace Agreement , and the fortification of the UN mission in the South Sudan which has in fact been the target of attacks during recent events.
Thought the ceasefire in Juba is most welcome the reality is that the IGAD Plus Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan ( ARCSS) (also known as the Compromised Peace Agreement ) is in tatters . This time the armed conflict was not limited to Juba, almost simultaneously armed clashes were reported in Wau, Torit, Bentiu, Lainya, Yei , Kajo Keji. Though it is not possible to say that there was a deliberated coordination it is clear that there is widening of the conflict throughout South Sudan. To address the situation that is now developing in South Sudan, there will be a need to seriously consider the meaningful inclusion and participation of Civil Society in the peace process. The previous attempt of involving Civil Society in discussion held in Ethiopia was very poor and farcical
Juba a city barely recovering from the horrific events of December 2013 is once again left wounded, in mourning and fearful that the perpetrators of the recent violence will use the lull to re-arm and regroup . Today the people of South Sudan are left with many unanswered questions that can be summed up with the one universal question – WHY ?
Civil Society Organisation are once again left to pick up the pieces, Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation ( CEPO) , South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission and others are calling for national mourning as a means not only to mourn the dead but also to regroup to fight for the only fight worth fighting Peace For South Sudan . Peace for the Children of South Sudan