December 6, 2023 (JUBA) – The Government of South Sudan, United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) in cooperation with International Organization for Migration (IOM) have developed an action plan implementation matrix to improve relations between civilians and the military in the Greater Yei.
This activity was conducted within the framework of the Reconciliation, Stabilization and Resilience Trust Fund (RSRTF) programme in Central Equatoria, led by IOM and its consortium including CEPO, UNMISS, Finn Church Aid (FCA), Whitaker Development Initiative (WPDI) and Support for Peace and Education Development Programme (SPEDP).
Organised by CEPO, UNMISS and supported by IOM, the one-day aimed at disseminating the resolutions of the ten civil-military dialogues of phase one and at developing an action plan with high-level government and military representatives to ensure the implementation of these resolutions and their sustainability.
About 63 participants, including community representatives, paramount chiefs, religious leaders, women and youth leaders, high-level defense forces and government officials attended the event.
The 10 civil-military dialogues implemented in the four counties of the Greater Yei identified key issues, including mistrust and misunderstandings among civilians and the army: harassment, intimidation, raping, killing, displacement and looting of properties, checkpoints and roadblocks.
Some key remarks during the workshop
Gen. Duopoly Lam, the Deputy Chief of Defence
Acknowledged the facts that civilians used to provide food, water and security information to the SPLA during the war; with this role
Civilians deserve the protection of the army wherever they are,” he said
Pledged to work together with state and local governments to improve the civil-military relations. He Urged CEPO to extends the same dialogues to other parts of South Sudan in Malakal and Bentiu. He further said it is their obligation and responsibility as the leadership of the SSPDF to bring to book perpetrators of human right violations not only in Greater Yei, but throughout the country
Wayi Godwill, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, the Acting Minister of Local Government and the Governor’s representative urged different stakeholders to work together to improve civil-military relations he asked all delegates to be ambassadors and actors of peace in the grassroots.
He furthered asked commissioners and the military commanders to protect the civilians and their properties. To follow up on these dialogues, the workshop allowed a number of resolutions to emerge from the communities and the government. These included the following points of actions that the government representatives signed and committed to implement within agreed deadlines.
He also requested local authorities to improve relations between the military and civilians;
Like swift unification, training and deployment of the unified forces, separation of politics from military and demilitarization of politics.
He said adherence to the welfare of the military (food, salary and medication), enforcement of the Governor’s order for removal of illegal checkpoints;
The gathering furthered demanded comprehensive disarmament of the civil population, continuous civil-military dialogues in the grassroots and quarterly dialogues at national level, expanding military court martial to the counties and providing psycho-social support and trauma healing for both civilians and military.
Meanwhile the need for establishment of police stations and deployment of sufficient and effective police forces at the county levels and initiating home grown solutions to address the conflict between the National Salvation Front (NAS) and the government as well as promotion of adult literacy education was emphasized.