FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The recent wave of massacres against innocent civilians in Equatoria, perpetrated by SPLA soldiers, is deeply disturbing. This is especially the case given the massacres immediately follow the inflammatory speech of the President against Equatorians, made on the 19th of September 2016 in Juba and denounced in our press release of the 25th October 2016. We hold President Kiir responsible for the crimes; these include reported massacres in:
- Kalipapa village of Kwerijik payam 35 miles from Juba that occurred on the 31st of October 2016 and resulted in the murder of 10 civilians (mostly women and children) as well as displacement of over 750 villagers now facing a dire humanitarian crisis.
- The massacre on the 7th of November in Pukuka village outside Yei town, Central Equatoria, of 12 youth and women returning from a market day in Lutaya.
- The armed clashes in Mogi and Salori areas surrounding Torit town in Eastern Equatoria, resulting in the indiscriminate murder of civilians including women and children.
- Reports of renewed waves of people fleeing Eastern and Central Equatoria to camps in Kenya and Uganda respectively. UNHCR reports recorded 44,000 new refugeesin the first two weeks of November 2016 alone.
UPDM is further dismayed by reports that internally displaced persons and refugees who have managed to get to relative safety in refugee camps across the border are now facing food shortages, lack of clean water, inadequate shelter and non-food items; in short they are being robbed a second time, of a right to life with dignity. It is regrettable that to date, of the USD 649 Million budget for the UNHCR 2016 South Sudan Regional Situation appeal, only 26% has been funded.
UPDM welcomes the visit and confirmation by the United Nations Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng, of an eminent genocide in South Sudan, and concur with his preventive recommendations to the UNSC to: (1) impose an arms embargo on South Sudan; (2) strengthen UNMISS capacity to protect, monitor, investigate, document and report incidences against civilians; (3) establish a hybrid court; (4) widen targeted sanctions against South Sudanese individuals inciting ethnic hatred; (5) request the UN panel of experts to report on individuals inciting ethnic violence on social media; (6) pressure the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU) to provide necessary humanitarian access to starving and displaced populations; and (7) use its leverage to stop the international and regional banks facilitating financial incentives that are driving the conflict;
UPDM is encouraged by the response of the Japanese government in strengthening the mandate of their contingency joining the UN peace keepers in South Sudan, and their prompt response as seen by the deployment of 130 Japanese troops who arrived Juba on the 21st of November, with the remaining of the 350 to follow soon;
UPDM appreciates the UNSC response in strongly condemning all instances of attacks against civilians, ethnically targeted killings, hate speech, and incitements to violence in South Sudan, as per the UNSC press statement of the 18th November 2016;
However UPDM reminds the UNSC, AU, TROIKA, IGAD and the International Community that they ‘can and must’ do more than report on and condemn the increasing wave of ethnically incited atrocities in South Sudan that are building up into a genocide. With urgency, UPDM:
- Reiterates the call for an arms embargo sanctions as soon as possible and commitment to its effective enforcement. In this regard, we note the skepticism echoed by Russia and China and urge them to cooperate and abate the looming genocide in South Sudan as a matter of urgency.
- Continues to call for a speedy deployment of the agreed 4,000 protection force with a strengthened mandate, increased capacity and revised deployment locations, given the increase in ethnically motivated atrocities in Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria.
- Appeals for immediate replacement of the UN Peace Keeping Commander, engagement with all heads of military forces on the ground to agree on a cantonment strategy and facilitation of its implementation.
- Requests urgent donation towards the deficit UNHCR South Sudan Regional situation appeal budget for life saving support to the 1.25 million South Sudanese refugees, and 1.73 million internally displaced persons including those in UNMISS PoCs.
Given the grave failures of this regime against its people, UPDM calls on the President Salva Kirr, his deputies Taban Deng Gai and Wani Iga, and his cabinet members to step down with immediate effect to avert the looming genocide and allow the recovery of our dying Country that millions laid down their lives for.
We call on all South Sudanese communities inside the country to reject President Kiir and his government’s ethnically divisive incitement and atrocities, and join us in calling for their resignation with immediate effect. The longer failed President Kiir stays in power, the more the country’s situation will worsen as Salva Kiir, Taban Deng Gai, Wani Igga, Martin Lomuro and JCE continue covering the country with blood and violence.
UPDM urgently appeals to the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) to impeach the President and members of his cabinet to exit public office, and to be held to account for their complicity in crimes against the state and the people, and to institute a care taker government, while the AU, IGAD, JMEC and TROIKA Plus facilitate a new inclusive Transitional Government to implement a more inclusive ARCISS.
UPDM also calls on the SPLA-IG, SPLA-IO and other military groups on the ground to cooperate with the regional protection force in the planning and implementation of a successful cantonment strategy, as part of their contribution to avert a genocide. We appeal to all military groups to cease hostilities and give chance to a political solution that speaks to all people of South Sudan.
We urge all military, community and church leaders across the country to reject the divisive strategies of the current TGONU, reconcile the people and protect the legacy of all our fallen heroes who gave up their lives for our freedom since 1955. UPDM believes in the power of the South Sudanese people to end Jieng Council of Elders inspired ethnic dictatorship and militarism visited upon them by the current genocidal and illegitimate TGONU regime under President Salva Kiir’s failed leadership.
CC.: UNSC, AU, TROIKA, IGAD, JMEC, SS-TNLA, Community Leaders
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