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  • Victoria Taban

International Peace Day: End Racism. Build Peace.

21 September

“Instead of fighting each other on the battlefield, humanity should be rallying together to tackle the common challenges we face.

On International Peace Day in Sudan, racism continues to fuel conflict. Marginalization and ill-treatment on account of race and tribe has been at the forefront of conflict in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan for decades. Backlashes against pro-democracy protesters since the October 2021 coup, show how racism also spurs arrests, torture and sexual violence on account of skin colour and historic superiority ideologies that see those from the peripheries as ‘slaves’.

Our latest report, "Can we prevent the spread of renewed atrocities? Addressing Structural Discrimination in Sudan", speaks to the current situation in Sudan. A long-needed anti-discrimination law was being discussed prior to the military takeover that hijacked the transition to democracy in October 2021, leaving hopes for change dashed. Mass atrocities, with racial undertones, are on the rise again. The protest movement, determined to bring back a transition government and international accountability, is more important than ever.

"Any Peace Deal in Sudan should be inclusive and should address the injustices of the past. Peace should amplify the voices of all marginalized groups and make clear provisions of reparations for CRSV." - Najlaa Ahmed, Legal Adviser

In South Sudan, implementation of transitional justice, integral to the 2018 Peace Agreement, hangs in the balance. The last 3 years of supposed ‘transition to peace’ have seen parts of the country reverting to intercommunal conflict, revenge killings and conflict related sexual violence - generally based on identity hatred and racism.

Jackline Nasiwa, Executive Director of Centre for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice (CIGPJ) said on Twitter today:

"Do I say happy International Peace Day to South Sudanese or just wish them peace? Unending circle of violence, never know peace, SGBV & poverty but fading hopes. I wish you all happy resilience in search for peace"

Lilian Riziq, President of the South Sudan Women Empowerment Network (SSWEN), marking the four-year anniversary of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, said the power-sharing agreement has neither ended the violence nor delivered the need reforms.

“The situation in South Sudan is unsustainable. The whole country is breaking down,” she warned.

In failing to meet the transitional targets in August 2022, the Government and opposition parites came up with a 2-year extension period running through to December 2024.

The extension was signed amidst protests from civil society groups.

“As we mark the International Peace Day, it is our hope that the recently extended roadmap is genuinely to bring lasting peace to the people of South Sudan.” - Jackline Nasiwa (CIGPJ)

Although we applaud the recent graduation of Unified forces which took place on 30th August 2022, we would like to urge the government to put in place operational apparatus to ensure they are salaried and receive better and different treatment from the one accorded at the cantonment sites.

We call on the government of South Sudan to hasten to:

  • Conclude the process of accession to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its Optional Protocols

  • Ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

  • Ratify the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

On the Extension Period:

  • Put in place necessary measures including reforms towards the electoral and constitutional review process.

  • Consult, legislate and establish the relevant Transitional Justice mechanisms including:

    • the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH),

    • the Hybrid court for South Sudan (HCSS) and

    • the Compensation and Reparation authority (CRA)

We also call on the international community to fund the extended period as well as humanitarian aid and exert pressure on the administration to ensure the new roadmap culminates in peace and a democratic South Sudan.

Find out more. Read our 2021 Annual Report
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