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The UN’S conversion into a prison management agency in South Sudan

By Elhag Paul

August 18, 2014 (SSNA) -- The United Nations protection camps in the middle of government controlled areas in South Sudan are frankly speaking prisons of President Salva Kiir managed by the UN and funded by the western world tax payers. I sit here and think: how on earth could a world body with the ability to master enough power from its member states to hold the feral leaders of South Sudan accountable have allowed itself to be reduced to prison warders and happily it goes along with it. 

The initial decision of the UN in December 2013 to protect civilians by opening its gates wide is a commendable act and it must be praised. However, these camps should not have been allowed to morph into prisons holding totally innocent people who have not committed any crimes apart from being born members of certain targeted ethnicities.

While the UN is honouring its duty to protect the right to life, it has through the back door been pushed to violate other human rights of those it is protecting by acting as prison warders for the feral dictator of South Sudan. President Salva Kiir must be laughing his head off for turning a world body into his own instrument of oppression. Look at it, technically the UN in South Sudan is now complicit in the abuse of South Sudanese by its own naive acceptance to protect without immediately holding the criminals to account and letting itself become a violator of its own ideals of human rights. For example, life in these UN protection camps as spoken about by the aid agencies can easily be classified as inhumane. Please see, ‘Horrific conditions in flooded UN camp’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28714774 and ‘South Sudan’s New War: abuses by government and opposition forces’ http://www.hrw.org/node/126088

With all these violations going on, the super powers of the world are paying a blind eye. Well, these may be only Africans suffering and given the perception that has clouded the literature and interaction of the developed world and the third world, the appalling conditions of the South Sudanese in the UN camps may not be seen as deserving attention to invoke the instruments relating to grave violations of human rights. Obviously, the curse of oil and natural resources may have something to do with the unacknowledged abuse of South Sudanese by their dictator leaders.

IGAD is complicit in advancing and promoting the neglect of the rights of South Sudanese by pretending that it can solve the problems of South Sudan. Their trumpeted slogan of “African solutions for African problems” is a vehicle for the world powers to hide behind from their global responsibility to stamp justice in South Sudan. A responsibility, some of these powers are happy to embrace when advancing their own interest, but not in the service of humanity as in the case of South Sudan. The African solutions the IGAD pride itself on to say the least are product of malicious mind designed to protect the abusers. After all, IGAD membership has some of the worst dictators in Africa. Logically, how can any reasonable person expect a club dominated by some vile dictators solve a problem created by one of them. This is like accusing a fox who has stolen and eaten chickens to a leader of skulk howling about Fox solutions to fox problems with expectation of a just solution.

Let us look at their African solutions for South Sudan. IGAD is convinced that if it can reconcile the various warring factions of the SPLM, South Sudan will return to peace. Please see, ‘The solution of South Sudan’s political problems lies in new blood’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201404040507.html       and ‘IGAD’s inadequate strategy in South Sudan’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201404140864.html            In spite of the fact that this position is not supported by any evidence, they plough on with it while the damage on the lives of the innocent in South Sudan goes on.      

Now in Addis Ababa the warring parties with the blessing of IGAD are being allowed to negotiate themselves out of their grave crimes against humanity and return into power at the expense of the people (victims). Really, if the over 20,000 people killed in Juba; the over 100,000 people in the UN Protection prison camps; the over 400,000 people pushed into refuge in neighbouring countries; and the over 1,300,000 people displaced internally was to happen in the other continents, would the powers that be not intervene decisively and swiftly to right the wrong? When less than a 1000 people were killed in Bosnia, the world powers immediately intervened, saved lives and held the culprits to account. Why is the world then not decisive to end the abuse of the South Sudanese people? Why are the powers that be pampering the feral leaders of South Sudan whose hands are dripping with blood of innocent people? Why do the powers that be talk about ineffective sanctions and condoning the imprisonment of the innocent victims in those UN protection prison camps without a solution in sight?

The abuses in South Sudan should not only be localised for this may be the beginning of dictators around the world and specifically in Africa acquiring the tools of how to trash the instruments of human rights that took centuries to build. Some may be gleefully rubbing their hands and thinking about how to abuse certain ethnicities that they abhor for whatever reasons or another. The activities of dictators and non state actors in many parts of the world if allowed to go unchecked as it is being allowed in South Sudan in the long run may plunge the world into total chaos.

When world bodies are co-opted into the machine of abuse and terror like UN in South Sudan, something is seriously wrong with the mores of the global community embodied in this organisation. This poses a real challenge to the moral fabric of the world. Therefore, the UN and the world powers need to rethink their position on South Sudan. Like late musician Michael Jackson sang in his famous song, ‘Man in mirror’. “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.” It is time that the moral of the world is restored before feral leaders around the globe begin to trash the current structures in place for world peace. Thus, UN must stop shouldering the role of prison management in South Sudan by intervening appropriately and decisively.

The South Sudan conflict and the recommended process to address it challenge the moral of the world. If all the ideals that are at the core of human rights ideology intended for advancement of society built in the last 300 years are not to wear off then the world truly needs to do something radical to address it. The structures for maintenance of world peace erected initially in 1920 and later on replaced by the United Nations after the Second World War risk being gradually destroyed by cynical actions of dictators and non state actors in different parts of the globe. For example, the case of South Sudan is a typical one.

The universality of humanity is now parcelled into relative geographical regions without emphasis on the rights of humanity as stipulated in the various instruments. Under this arrangement it is easy for the powerful countries or the supposed guardians of the world to turn blind eyes to the grave crimes against humanity in faraway lands like South Sudan. The new buzz words and phrases are “African solutions for African problems”. What this presupposes is that if Africans are massacring themselves, that remains their problem and the world needs not to intervene.  

In South Sudan, a monster slaughters children, women and elderly in broad day light in their tenth of thousands and displaces over million people causing serious regional problem unbelievably  it stirs no moral outrage whatsoever in the conscience of the custodians of the world. In relation to Africans, the question that has been asked for centuries remains truly valid today: has the life of an African any value? Are the decisions taken by the custodian of the world really not clouded by the beliefs of “them” and “us”, “civilised” and “savage” developed world and the third world? Else why is the death of tenth of thousands of African people down played by the western media and not taken seriously as it should to draw the attention of the world?

IGAD has been a total failure and numerous calls for it to be discarded and replaced by eminent person have been met with deaf ears. The shameful failure of IGAD is capped by the passing of its deadline on 10th August 2014 in relation to formation of interim government in South Sudan. The United Nation Security Council’s recent visit to the region though understands the situation it still puts faith on the hopeless process. “The council has made it very clear that it is prepared to impose consequence if there continue to be spoilers, if there continue to be people carrying out gross violation of human rights” “We will not tolerate violations of cessation of hostility and people who spoils peace agreement. We have delivered that message here and will deliver it to Riek Machar.” Stressed Samantha Powers of UNSC. Please see, ‘South Sudanese president vows to form all inclusive cabinet, http://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52014 and ‘UN Security Council visit to South Sudan’ file:///C:/Users/Rosemary/Downloads/08-14%2520UNSC%2520Press%2520Stakeout%2520Transcript.pdf

Samantha Powers is a well known committed advocate of human rights. Powers words should be taken seriously. However, her comments in Juba missed the point completely. The issue is not “if there continue to be people carrying out gross violations of human rights.” The violations have already been committed en masse in December 2013 and they continue to be committed daily. For example, the imprisonment of over 100,000 innocent people in the UN Protection camps. Does the subjection of these people to confinement due to terror from President Kiir’s government not constitute ongoing gross violation of human rights? If it is not then the people of South Sudan and I do not know what it is.

Uganda’s UPDF, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) of Darfur and SPLM North of the Sudan remain in the country actively participating in military operations against SPLM-IO. Why is the UN quiet about this violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement? Why does it not demand the withdrawal of all foreign forces as stipulated in the agreement? Is this not a constant standing violation by South Sudan government and IGAD of the agreement? What more violation of the agreement does UNSC want?

Therefore, the time for “ifs” is long gone. It is time for compliance and action. It is time for consequences and accountability. It is this point that the UNSC has missed. The entire SPLM leadership are responsible for the mayhem in South Sudan. They need to be dragged to court to account for their collective crimes against the people of South Sudan arising from gross negligence of their beloved party and the management of the country. SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SPLM-G10 and their military chiefs should be facing honourable and respectable international judges and not pussyfoot with mediators intent on rewarding them for their crimes against the people of South Sudan.

President Salva Kiir by default is benefiting from the cultures that led to colonisation of Africa. He is getting away with mass murder because the South Sudanese Africans have been deemed to have no value. No wonder President Kiir is able to convert UN into a prison management agency. Ironically, the very regional body (IGAD) that is tasked to solve the problem of South Sudan is ignorant of its own position and responsibilities while promoting subtly laid down discriminatory approaches under nonsense like “African solutions for African problems”. If the structures of the world are based on instruments whose foundation is anchored in universalism like globalisation, then the right slogan should be “global solutions for global problems”. Under such a slogan feral leaders like President Kiir would not get away with crimes of similar magnitude committed by Slobodan Milosevic, General Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. After all, the entire world is supposed to be a global melting pot.

[Truth hurts but is also liberating]

The author lives in the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Freedom of Expression in South Sudan: Does it exists?

By Abu Deng

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.” (US President Ronald Reagan, from "The Speech" - October 27, 1964)

Dear Mr. President:

August 18, 2014 (SSNA) -- I have followed recent events where the actions of the security forces of South Sudan have done things which are contradictory to the stated public stance of the Republic of South Sudan (RSS), particularly given the recent comments by your Spokesman, Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny, a journalist himself.

Last Thursday Mr. Ateny gave an interview to Bakhita Radio, stating anyone is allowed to express themselves, and there is no intimidation in the country, according to media reports (Sudan Tribune, see article http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article51954).

So one finds it quite ironic that the radio station where your journalist-spokesman, Mr. Ateny was interviewed last Thursday was stormed then closed down on Saturday, 16 August at around 9 a.m. and four of its journalists arrested. See,http://www.bakhitaradio.org/?q=node%2F6275

Even more ironic is the fact that the Presidential spokesman has been using Bakhita Radio as a platform to decimate the views of the Presidency, like when he spoke on 2 July regarding Equatorian's governors assassination rumors; or 23 June on getting Equatorians to not discuss federalism, see http://catholicradionetwork.org/?q=node/14718 - the spokesman has been mentioned or interviewed by Bakhita Radio more than 10 times since January, yet their reporters are mistreated, arrested.

Does the leadership not see how bad this is for the nation - preaching openness and freedom of expression, then slamming down the hammer on a station that is trying to provide a balanced perspective for listeners. Unfortunately this is one area of international norms no one can argue with that needs serious work in the country, which still does not have a formal media law - which has been expected or rather promised since 2007. Should not RSS citizens hears both sides of a story? Most of the world would think so, but this recent action feels like the old Africa, that of Macias Nguema and Siad Barre.

Members of the Troika are noticing, and reporting these sad actions of the national security service and other forces, the UK government country report (31 March 2014) on South Sudan had this to say:

"Restrictions on freedom of expression have continued throughout the conflict. Harassment, intimidation and detention of journalists and human rights defenders have increased in frequency. The Union of Journalists of South Sudan reports that numerous such incidents took place in the first two months of the year. Journalists report increasing constraints on their independence, including seizure of publications and restrictions on coverage of opposition leaders. In March, Information Minister Michael Makeui stated that journalists who interviewed opposition figures risked possible arrest or expulsion from the country. Self-censorship by journalists and media houses is now understood to be widespread."

Mr. President: Why, how, can you allow the case of Journalist Abraham Agoth to occur, why must he hide for his life in Northern Bahr El Ghazal? See CPJ article,http://bit.ly/1sNwP3s - Is this one of your decreed governors hunting Mr. Agoth - please tell him to stop or "un-decree" him since your have that constitutional right if he does not behave as a responsible public official immersed in democratic standards.

Mr. Agoth has to hide because RSS security forces have spoken clearly through their past actions against Isaiah Abraham, Jok Madut Jok, Deng Athuai and others. Our brave son has been trying to act in a modern competent and professional way with his news coverage in a hostile environment, proven by the news agency who use his journalistic services like Gurtong and Voice of America.

Mr. President, the principle of freedom of expression must be a pillar of South Sudan, otherwise, how can we sit at the Global table asking for aid, development and investment funds...invites. The South's friends are concerned. The Freedom House 2014 report on political rights and civil liberties has us at 6, equal with Afganistan, but not yet as bad as as Eritrea and Sudan.

Proper nation-building requires an open-minded environment for a progressive and prosperous nation. News reporting is a vital piece of that building process, and the Catholic Radio Network's Bakhita Radio is a professional organisation that provides objective news coverage. Its reporters like others around the world follow a creed. Let me quote two sentences from that Journalist Creed of 1914:

I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

Most Journalists live by this code or creed, some have even died by it. So please respect these pen and paper warriors  - and ensure all of the RSS apparatus does too.

Mr. President you were treated with great respect in my country during the recent African Leaders Summit, were you not, even though I know many US government officials, NGOs and private individuals disagree with what you have done and said.

Yet, America invited you and rolled out the red carpet treatment for you. Our leaders even took photos with you: Obamas, Menendez, Royce. Haven't you wondered about that how could you be treated with such respect there when many people there believe that you are part of the problem in South Sudan?

Mr. President it is because of the hallmarks of democracy, characteristics of which we Americans hold dearly, such as: freedom of expression, of opinion. We believe in allowing dissenting voices in society, in a governmental system - for it makes it better, more accountable, as our founding fathers debated and concluded over 200 years earlier. For it is believed in the end, a Leader will take a step toward compromise though he or she may disagrees with their opponent's views.

In such a society a worker does not have to agree with a superior all the time, sometimes the worker may have a better idea or approach that can advance that organisation. This is the essence of democracy! Richness of opinion is a good thing.

A final note, it was believed by many Mr. President that when you hired government critic Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny, a better relationship between the government and media would occur, but alas it has not, even the British Foreign office has taken notice of this failure in its April 2014 South Sudan - Country of concern report:

"Outspoken commentator Ateny Wek Ateny was appointed as presidential spokesperson in November, prompting speculation that this represented a new openness in the government’s relationship with the media. However, this was not borne out in the government’s subsequent treatment of the media."

It seems whose like Mr. Ateny who used to speak out are silenced by the system, and those who report on the system are hunted and silenced or disappear. Well, correct the path Mr. President, before it's too late - the whole world wants to be proud of South Sudan, to help it grow and prosper. Protect our journalists!

P.S. Oh, on the war, please take a giant step toward Peace. As Head of State, the burden of the nation's welfare is in your hand, and will be part of your legacy, be it good or bad. You alone - through decree or political will - can end this current war - if you like! Everyday you delay, dozens of Junubin children of future generations are dying.

Abu Deng is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Public Policy and International Affairs, who lives in Oslo, Norway.

This war is not for Dr. Riek Machar; this war is a war against Nuer cleansing

By: Sirir Gabriel Yiei Rut

August 17, 2014 (SSNA) -- My fellow country men and women of south Sudan, I know very well that our country has been automatically divided into small sections engulf by tribal hatred for one tribe to another. And I am very much aware that south Sudanese were not born to hate each other. It’s an artificial kind of hatred planted into our hearts by people who claimed to be our liberators. With time it will perish.

South Sudan is a country with all kind of gifts in it vast territories but always a cruel ruler with no vision and missions is always a blind ruler. President Salva Kiir Mayardit turned us down by declaring a war against civilians who voted for him, by giving orders to ununiformed recruits to carryout killing on tribal lines, by instructing his tribesmen to search for Nuer public figure and murdered them in cold blood inside their houses. This is insane.

My fellow country men and women, I strongly refute the lies fabricated to you by people of interest the betrayers/traitors that Nuer are fighting the government because of Dr. Riek Machar Teny. No! This is not true. That is not their primary concerned. Nuer who are engaging the government forces in all frontlines are sacrificing themselves because of Nuer who were massacred in Juba, Yei, Mapel, Wau, Malakal Renk and Bor by Salva Kiir Mayardit. Nuer  are fighting the government because their women were gangs rapes, their children who don’t know who Dr. Riek Machar is, were butchered by the tranny. This is unforgivable.

I ought you to calm down and relax. Come to your senses and talk to yourselves, ask yourselves about the genesis of this crisis without favoring your tribe or a person you support. You will eventually come to one conclusion and that will be” Nuer join rebellion because their lives become in danger in their own country”. They are being hunt down by people whom they didn’t do anything to them but because they simply belong to Nuer tribe. This is unforgettable.

This is the reason why I rebel; this also why our soldiers and politicians severally defected and joint the struggle, we are joining the rebellion because the government under Dinka’s influence wanted to wipe the Nuer out of south Sudan. And I am pretty sure more will rebel it’s just a matter of time.

However, I am sending a heartfelt message and warning to my fellows Nuer who are still saving under President Salva Kiir Government to realize the consequences of their greed and betrayal toward their community. This Nuer politicians who are working under President Salva Kiir previously send their families inside UN compounds and started to mobilized some vulnerable innocents who already taken refuge and given shelter in UNIMISS bases to come out and got killed just because you wanted to benefit. Their blood is on your neck! Inshallah

And for those politicians, who don’t want to join the struggle simply because they have personal problems with Dr. Riek Machar, I am advising you to give up that attitude and focus on your children’s future in the coming years. Your personal problems with Dr. Riek Machar are something different and the war against dictatorship who aims to cleanse our community is something also different. This conflict has got a lot to do with unity among ourselves so that we can manage to face the enemies. God is great maybe He will touch your hearts abundantly and make you shine your eyes to see the way your brothers and sisters got humiliated in a country their fathers sacrifices themselves for.

Moreover Dr. Riek Machar Teny the leader of the resistance movement SPLM/A in opposition should be always given praises and congratulations for also standing firmed and for His urgent formation of resistance forces that quickly gave a pause to tranny forces advancement. This is a permanent credit I gave him since.

I always said, “South Sudan problem is not Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon and his comrades in the struggle, south Sudan problem is not White army who came to rescue their loves one neither the problem of south Sudan is the Equatorians who are crying for the implementation of Federalism in the young nation. The problems are; Rule of dictatorship, Corruption, Poor leadership, Tribalism, Carnage, Pogroms and Chronic love for leadership without vision and missions”

South Sudanese need to think about the future of south Sudan and their own future too. We need to be realistic in taking decision; we can’t go on with government which value money more than the lives of the citizens. I know we are wise enough to say a big NO! To Salva Kiir and I also know you can denounce Him as soon as possible. I hope with time you will agree with your brain and quickly reject his murderous regime once and for all.

Our beloved country south Sudan a land God has given us is full of everything we need but, poor leadership always lead us to be people without capability to develop their country. Poor leadership always weakens our ambitions to become who we wanted to become………

But I can assure you ladies and gentlemen if we give new leadership a chance, our country will immediately experiences prompt changes. Hence we can have a new least of life in the young nation, freedom of right to express your anger without fear shall prevail……..

Hopefully one fine day in the tile of the night peace will prevail…………………………….

The author is a student of political science living in Egypt; you can easily reach Him through his Email address: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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