Activists Call Peace Talks To Widely Be ‘Inclusive’

A civil society gathering. [File]The call came after a coalition representing more than 30 civil society organizations in South Sudan and from the Diaspora dubbed Citizens for Peace and Justice (CPJ) met in Nairobi, Kenya last week.

CPJ has deeply expressed concerns with the grave human suffering brought about by the conflict in the country.

CPJ condemned all actions and inactions that have resulted in the death, injury, sexual violence, displacement, destruction of property, and gross disruption of life for an untold number of people as a result of the conflict. The organization has called for the peace talks in Addis Ababa to focus widely on several reforms that will restore stability and peace in the country.

In its conference last week which brought together more than 60 representatives from the civil society in South Sudan and Diaspora, aimed at developing concrete measures on the current crisis in the country, CPJ called on IGAD to provide for direct and independent participation of civil society in the peace talks currently underway in Ethiopia.

“We strongly support the calls for a more inclusive process that provides for a meaningful participation of all citizens, including civil society, women’s groups, youth groups, religious leaders, traditional authority and academics. CPJ believes that this is the only path to a just and sustainable peace,” said a position paper developed by the coalition last week in Nairobi.

CPJ representatives have also asked for necessary accreditation such that they can actively participate in all meetings of the parties; contribute proposals for consideration in the talks, including draft language for any agreements; and offer their expertise and advice to the mediators.

It called for inclusion of comprehensive institutional reforms, with a focus on constitutional reform, political party reform, electoral reform and security sector reform in the agenda of the talks in Addis Ababa.

It urged for mechanisms for securing truth and reconciliation, justice and accountability, humanitarian access and protection of civilian populations, management of oil and other natural resources and foreign military intervention as some of the issues that should be included in the agenda of the talks.

CPJ also proposed thirteen (13) principles that the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediating the talks should use as criteria to develop and assess proposals for a transitional political arrangement.

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