, 21 September, 2020 / 8:30 PM
On the occasion of the International Day of Peace marked Monday, September 21, which coincides with the second anniversary of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), representatives of various Christian denominations in South Sudan have, in a collective statement, noted “with great concern” the slow implementation of the R-ARCSS and expressed the need to “speed up the implementations of the provisions in the agreement.”
“It is with great concern that we observe the slow implementation of the peace agreement by all the signatories to the peace agreement,” representatives of the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC), which comprise seven member churches say in their collective statement dated Monday, September 21.
They highlight sections of the September 2018 document that was signed under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and point out the negative effects of the delayed implementation.
“Chapter 1 and 2 are barely fully implemented; there are some pockets in the violations of ceasefire agreements, and the rampant inter communal revenge violence and cattle raiding, which continue to destabilize communities across the country,” they lament in the statement signed by SSCC representatives including the Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Juba, Stephen Ameyu.
In the statement shared with ACI Africa, the Church leaders say that the slow implementation of R-ARCSS “continues to deteriorate the already dire conditions of the ordinary South Sudanese.”
“The South Sudanese currency continues to lose value at an alarming rate making it hard for the ordinary South Sudanese to barely afford basic needs in the markets,” lament the SSCC representatives.
They call on politicians in the nine-year-old nation “especially the signatories to the Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), to recommit and speed up the implementations of the provisions in the agreement.”
To the non-signatories of the R-ARCSS, the representatives of SSCC urge recommitment to the Rome Declaration, which was mediated by members of the Sant'Egidio Community in January 2020.
They say, “The full implementation of the peace agreement especially Chapter Four (4) will provide a conducive environment for businesses and investments in the country, hence contributing to the recovering of the economy, which will benefit the ordinary South Sudanese.”
“The full implementation of R-ARCSS will reduce both the political and inter-communal revenge violence and conflicts in the country,” they further say, adding that the implementation will “reduce the violence perpetrated against women and children in the country.”
In their statement, the Church leaders also acknowledge the formation of Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU), the agreement on the number of States, the appointment of State Governors and the steps towards the training, unification and deployment of the National army as positive steps taken in the implementation of R-ARCSS.
Established by the UN General Assembly in 1981, the the International Day of Peace seeks to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace with and among all nations and people.
The 2020 celebration is being marked under the theme, “Shaping Peace Together.”
In a separate statement shared with ACI Africa, members of various Christian organizations under the Ecumenical Network on South Sudan (ENSS) reiterate the message of the representatives of SSCC.
Signed by 24 member organizations and dated September 21, ENSS members say, “For peace to take place in South Sudan, the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) should be a key priority for all parties to the conflict and any other competing interests should be put aside.”
“We recognize the need to strengthen the efforts to bring on board the parties that are non-signatories to the R-ARCSS as this continues to present challenges to realizing peace across the country,” say the ENSS members that include SSCC, Trocaire, CAFOD, and the German Catholic Bishops' Organization for Development Cooperation, Misereor among others.
The ENSS members appreciate the role of the SSCC in supporting transformational changes through the Action Plan for Peace (APP) and their provision of psycho-social support to victims of violence.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa