EES CSOs Brief AU CoI, Demand Participation In Peace Talks

Chairperson of EESCSN Simon Ebul (standing) briefs the visiting AU CoI's delegation. [Gurtong]

The AU CoI delegation included Commissioners Lady Justice Sophia Akkufo and Prof. Mahmood Mamdani and secretariat personnel and their remit focused on two areas. Firstly, it aimed to unearth the root causes of the crisis which led to the outbreak of hostilities in December 2013. Secondly, it sought viable strategic institutional reforms of the government of the Republic of South Sudan which it could reccomend.

The newly elected Chairperson of the Eastern Equatoria State Civil Society Network (EESCSN), Simon Ebul, briefed the visiting AIC’s delegation, highlighting the grave impacts of the ongoing conflict in the country as a whole. He also presented a position paper to the AIC on behalf of the state CSOs, seeking their representation in any upcoming roundtable talks.
Representing the state youth during the forum, Paul Lopwa told the delegation that the war has impacted negatively on the country’s citizens as many lives have been lost and properties destroyed and looted.

Disan Dina, who heads the state Women and Youth organization, spoke on behalf of the women. She lamented the fact that women have suffered the brunt of the conflict. She told the team that women and girls faced many problems as some have been raped, tortured and even killed with their children. She also regretted that donors left the country in the wake of the conflict, putting services at jeopardy.

Also speaking on behalf of the local Community Based Organization, Joseph Ukello Atur informed the delegation that the country has witnessed a brain drain since the start of the conflict. He added that this is because people, including foreign nationals, have fled for their safety and the protection of their families. 

The delegation began its visit on 11 August by meeting the state Governor, Louis Lobong Lojore, the state Minister of Local Government, Law Enforcement and Wildlife Conservation, Hon. Charles Lokonoi Ambrose, the Minister of Gender, Culture and Social Development, Hon. Paska Hifita Oduho, and the EES Acting Director of Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, Hon. John Odongi Simon.

The delegation consulted widely during its visit, also meeting with SPLA commanders including Sector Commander, Lt. General Charles Lam, and 9th Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Simon Mutok Agutukok, Director of National Security Agency Major Mobile, EES’s Police Commissioner, Brigadier Albino Uthou Marino, , the chairman of EES Peace Commission, Hon. Claudio Suleiman Liling, the president of EES High Court, Justice Bol Lul Wang, EES’s acting Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Paul Napon, as well as state humanitarian actors, women’s and youth organizations,.

The Commission has already visited Warrap, Western Bhar El Ghazal, Northern Bhar El Ghazal and Lakes states. It is set to continue its enquiries in Jonglei and thereafter the remaining states.

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