South Sudan joins the Elephant Protection Initiative

15 Dec 2016

South Sudan joins the Elephant Protection Initiative

The success of the Sustainable Development Goals, will depend, in part, on how well stakeholders invest and support the young girls of today, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

The announcement was made as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched it's state of the World Population report 2016 in South Sudan today.

According to the report, the UNFPA states that of the 125 million 10-year-olds today, 60 million are girls who are systematically disadvantaged at the global level as they move through adolescence into adulthood.

Miraya Breakfast Show host, Sebit William, spoke to UNFPA Assistant Representative Dr Wilfred Ochan.

He began by asking Dr Ochan, why this year’s report has focused on this demographic.

The success of the Sustainable Development Goals, will depend, in part, on how well stakeholders invest and support the young girls of today, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

The announcement was made as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched it's state of the World Population report 2016 in South Sudan today.

According to the report, the UNFPA states that of the 125 million 10-year-olds today, 60 million are girls who are systematically disadvantaged at the global level as they move through adolescence into adulthood.

Miraya Breakfast Show host, Sebit William, spoke to UNFPA Assistant Representative Dr Wilfred Ochan.

He began by asking Dr Ochan, why this year’s report has focused on this demographic.

The UNMISS SRSG, Ms. Ellen Margrethe Løj, has reiterated that the mission is here to support the people of South Sudan, during a meeting with members of the South Sudan Council of Elders in UN House, Juba.  Ms. Løj then called for the guns to go silent, to allow the people of the country to return to their normal lives. 


The Head of the UN Mission explained that UNMISS is here to support the peace process and the people of South Sudan.


“The United Nations does not want to take over South Sudan,” Ms Løj stressed, adding that “we are here to assist in solving the countries difficulties so that the people can live in peace regardless of their gender and ethnicity.”


The SRSG added, “The sooner you solve disagreements amongst each other in a peaceful manner the better, so that the people can live in peace.”


Deng Macham, Chairperson of the South Sudan Council of Elders, asked UNMISS to facilitate a workshop to explain the role of the UN Mission in the peace and reconciliation process of the country. 


“We need this workshop so that we can work together with UNMISS to explain to the people that the UN is here to support the people of South Sudan,” Macham said.


He explained that the forum would clear misconceptions and inform citizens about the role of the UN Peacekeeping Mission.


“Most people in the country feel that the UN wants to take over South Sudan,” Macham said, “so we want to hear from you, so we can then clearly explain it to the people,” he added.


The meeting was also attended by members of the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance. 






A Civil society activist has called for the speedy implementation of the Agreement to resolve the conflict in South Sudan.


“I think many of us feel that the peace agreement is not moving as it was intended, the pace is very slow, it is almost stalled,” said Lorna Merekaje, a member of the Voluntary Civil Society Taskforce on the Implementation of the Peace Agreement 2015. 


Speaking to Miraya Breakfast Show on Thursday, Merekaje deplored the delays in implementing the peace agreement and warned, that the slow pace in implementation, paves way for more complications in the restoration of normalcy in the country.  


The activist urged all stakeholders to go back to the drawing board and revitalize the process of implementation, stressing that implementing the agreement requires a robust and decisive response, from all stakeholders and the actors in South Sudan’s peace process to accelerate the process. “one hand cannot clap we need two hands,” she said.


Merekaje however advised that reviewing the mechanisms of implementing the agreement must also involve the intellectuals and academicians and should not be left to politicians alone. “We need to specifically pay attention on the intellectuals that we have, we have very good brains in South Sudan, some of the best brains are in South Sudan but we are not capitalizing them.”


Merekaje noted that the Politicians have tried their best, but appear to be stuck and it’s time for technocrats to jump in and provide guidance on how to unblock the stalemate.


“Technocrats must be involved in the discussions on how to unblock the stalemate, because we look stuck and don’t know how to move on.”


In October, the Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and evaluation commission, H.E Festus Mogae, urged the Transitional Government of National Unity develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule that is consistent with the Agreement.


The Director of Operations for the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) is calling for the immediate implementation of procedures that will ensure the unhindered movement of vital aid assistance across the South Sudan.


Concluding his visit to the country, John Ging said ‘emergency procedures’ are needed, that would allow quick movement and response of humanitarian teams to needy populations across the country.


In October this year President Salva Kiir issued an executive order forming a nine member joint committee tasked to oversee access and delivery of humanitarian aid to areas where assistances are needed.


Despite the directive, Ging said checkpoints continue to hamper delivery of medicines and other aid assistance to the people of Yei, recounting how his convoy was delayed at a check point for many hours, despite having the required security clearances.


“We have to find the procedures that will enable smooth movement of humanitarian assistance, just like the President said,” Ging remarked. 


He said the women of Yei told him ‘horrific’ and ‘disturbing’ stories of rape, killing and violence against innocent people, further adding that the populations are traumatized by a worsening situation. 



Ging called on the country’s leaders to do more to bring an end to the conflict, warning that the already dire situation will deteriorate further if peace is not realized.  


“I am hoping that the leadership on all sides will have the wisdom and the courage to do the difficult job of making peace,” he remarked. 


The UN Refugee agency, UNHCR says ongoing military operations have trapped an estimated 100,000 people in Yei, exacerbating an already desperate humanitarian situation. 


“Humanitarian organizations need to be able to reach everybody everywhere freely, this is the intention that has been stated by the President,” he said adding that “we now have to work together to make that a reality.”


The security situation in Yei deteriorated rapidly after renewed conflict broke out in Juba in early July.  In October, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) issued a statement, saying it was extremely concerned about the continuing deterioration of the security situation in Yei, Central Equatoria, where the Mission was continuously denied access.


The statement called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and urged all parties to refrain from further violence. Read the full UNMISS statement here .




The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan has asked the UN Security Council to keep South Sudan a priority for the international community.  Ms Ellen Margrethe Løj said the victims of the conflict still carry hope and have high expectations from the international community.  Ms Løj called on the 15-member body to also consider the future of its people in taking any decisions.  She was briefing the Security Council on the situation in South Sudan before she prepares to leave office at the end of this month.  Her brief highlighted that the security situation in the country, particularly in the Greater Equatorias, in parts of Unity, and Western Bahr el Ghazal states, remained volatile, with frequent attacks that resulted in civilian casualties and displacement, as well as disrupted supply of essential goods, including food.


Speaking to the UN Radio after the Security Council briefing, Ms Løj acknowledged the public distrust towards UNMISS, and said the UN Mission is here to implement its mandate to protect civilians in an impartial manner.

Recalling his recent visit to South Sudan, Adama Dieng, the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, painted a grave picture of the situation, saying he had undertaken the trip because of his growing concern about ethnically-fuelled violence, which is taking place against a breakdown in the political process and a stalled peace agreement.

In the course of the week he was in the country, he had met a variety of stakeholders, including religious and community leaders, including in Yei, which been spared the widespread violence of other areas but has now been identified among the country’s conflict hotspots, with escalating violence against multiple tribe and ethnic groups, reportedly carried out by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the SPLA in Opposition, as well as unidentified armed groups and bandits.

“I was dismayed that what I saw confirmed my concern that there is strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines with a potential to spiral into genocide; I do not say that lightly,” Mr. Dieg told the Council, noting that the ongoing conflict is also taking an ever-increasing economic toll, both domestically and internationally, causing a drain on funds that could be devoted to much-needed humanitarian assistance.

“South Sudan will see neither growth nor development as long as security accounts for half of Government spending,” he warned.

He went on to say that the early July outbreak of violence is fresh in the minds of people he had met and they noted the potential for more such violence in the coming dry season. Violations of the ceasefire by all sides, widespread impunity and lack of accountability, were clearly evident and the feeling seemed to be that what had once been an undisciplined army formed out of two opposing groups is now an “amorphous and undisciplined force that has splintered into multiple armed groups, criminal gangs and bandits, over which the Government is failing to exercise control.”

What began as a political conflict has transformed into what could become an outright ethnic war UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide

Mr. Dieng said he had sensed a “tremendous mistrust” between civilians and the military and rather than as a source of protection, many ordinary people saw the armed forces as an entity to be feared or joined as one of the country's few employers. One elder had given him a chilling assessment of the ethnic polarization: “in the eyes [of some people] he saw fear, while in the eyes of others, he saw enthusiasm.”

The Special Advisor went on to express deep concern about inflammatory rhetoric, stereotyping and name calling have been accompanied by targeted killings and rape of members of particular ethnic groups, and by violent attacks against individuals or communities on the basis of their perceived political affiliation. The media, including social media, are being used to spread hatred and encourage ethnic polarization.

“I am particularly concerned by the involvement of the youth of this country in this dangerous spread of hatred and hostility, as they are particularly susceptible to divisions within society,” continued Mr. Dieng, underscoring: “So, all the warning signs are there, that what began as a political conflict has transformed into what could become an outright ethnic war.”

Indeed, he said the stalled peace agreement, stagnating economy and spread of arms are the “ingredients for a dangerous escalation of violence – because both motivation and a means” are present in South Sudan.

Here, he emphasized that genocide is a process. “It does not happen overnight. And because it is a process and one that takes time to prepare, it can be prevented. Action can and must be taken now to address some of the factors that could provide fertile ground for genocide.”

While the political leadership in South Sudan has and urgent and primary responsibility to this end, the Security Council could also consider, among other options, publicly calling for the political leadership to immediately condemn and take steps against any actions that could constitute incitement to violence, he said.

Moreover, African leaders must coalesce around a coherent strategy to prevent an escalation of violence. “I saw all the signs that ethnic hatred and targeting of civilians could evolve into genocide if something is not done now to stop it. I urge the Security Council and Member States of the region to take action,” Mr. Dieng concluded.


At long last, there is growing global recognition that violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, public health pandemic and serious obstacle to sustainable development.  Yet there is still much more we can and must do to turn this awareness into meaningful prevention and response.


Violence against women and girls imposes large-scale costs on families, communities and economies.  When women cannot work as a result of violence, their employment may be put at risk, jeopardizing much-needed income, autonomy and their ability to leave abusive relationships.  Violence against women also results in lost productivity for businesses, and drains resources from social services, the justice system and health-care agencies. Domestic and intimate partner violence remains widespread, compounded by impunity for those crimes.  The net result is enormous suffering as well as the exclusion of women from playing their full and rightful roles in society.


The world cannot afford to pay this price. Women and girls cannot afford it – and should not have to.  Yet such violence persists every day, around the world.  And efforts to address this challenge, although rich in political commitment, are chronically under-funded.


Since 2008, I have led the UNiTE campaign to End Violence against Women, which calls for global action to increase resources and promote solutions.  I call on governments to show their commitment by dramatically increasing national spending in all relevant areas, including in support of women’s movements and civil society organizations.  I also encourage world leaders to contribute to UN Women and to the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.  We look as well to the private sector, philanthropies and concerned citizens to do their part.


Today, we are seeing the world lit up in orange, symbolizing a bright future for women and girls. With dedicated investment, we can keep these lights shining, uphold human rights and eliminate violence against women and girls for good.


7 December 2016

“The implementation of the agreement is the lifeline for the South Sudan government and the people; it is also the only thread of hope for them to hang on to in order to attain peace and democracy in South Sudan”,  says the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority of Development (IGAD), Ambassador Mahboub Maalim.

The Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) – was signed between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army in Government (SPLM/A-IG) and SPLM/A in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO).

Signed in August 2015, the agreement sought to end the deadly civil war that had broken out in South Sudan in December 2013.

Ambassador Maalim said the implementation of the Agreement must go on unimpeded, “if we have to make sense of what have been going on for the last couple of years.”

Ambassador Mahboub spoke with Radio Miraya reporter Sani Martin, on the line from Djibouti. He began by explaining why IGAD remains interested in the efforts to bring lasting peace to South Sudan.

South Sudan has signed a pledge to protect the country’s elephant population from extinction.  

The Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) is an African-led partnership launched in 2012 by leaders from Botswana, Chad, Gabon, Ethiopia and Tanzania. 

The wildlife service reported in February this year that at least 500 elephants were killed during the fighting over the past two years, a big loss to the country’s estimated population of 2,500 long-trunked animals. Prior to the beginning of the conflict in 2013, the number was estimated at 5,000. 

Joining the EPI would give South Sudan easier access to resources to protect the endangered elephants and their precious ivory.

“It will clearly indicate the government’s commitment to combat illegal trade of ivory. The second thing is that it will liberate direct financial and technical support to our country,” says Khamis Adiang Diing, spokesperson of the National Wildlife Service, adding that “indigenous inhabitants around protection areas will benefit from this project directly or indirectly”. 

Adiang Diing spoke to Radio Miraya's Sebit William in this interview.