Wednesday, 18 October 2017 02:50

Honourable Ministers, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

1. I welcome you all to our long overdue JMEC plenary.

2. Over the past three weeks, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development has, through its Council of Ministers and Special Envoy, conducted a round of pre-consultation meetings pursuant to the decision to convene a High Level Revitalisation Forum.

3.  I am delighted to hear from the Special Envoy, Ambassador Ismail Wais, that positive progress has been made and that all Parties consulted have approached the process in a constructive and peaceful frame of mind. I wish to thank all those who took part for their engagement.

4. After more than a year of unacceptable turmoil and unimaginable distress suffered by millions of South Sudanese, this revitalisation process offers an opportunity for the leaders of all communities to sit together, bring the violence to an end and determine a political path forward.

5. The people of South Sudan hope and pray for peace and stability and the world is watching with high expectations.

Honourable Ministers, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

6. JMEC remains fully focused on its mandate to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Peace Agreement and to support IGAD.

7. The JMEC Working Committees, comprising regional and international guarantors, the TGoNU and other South Sudanese stakeholders, have undertaken a comprehensive evaluation of the status of implementation of the Peace Agreement complete with observations and recommendations.

8. This evaluation report will be presented to IGAD pursuant to our mandate and will form part of our contribution to ensuring a successful High Level Revitalisation Forum. The TGoNU has stated its intention to provide its own comments, which will also be forwarded to IGAD.

9. I will now place on record a summary of the key findings, observations and recommendations of our JMEC Working Committees, which will be made available publicly on our website after formal submission to IGAD.

Honourable Ministers, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

10. I have previously described implementation of the Peace Agreement as being “modest, at best” and from the evaluation reports presented I have heard nothing to change my view.

11. Although initially reasonable progress was made in the formation of the various institutions and bodies, implementation of the Peace Agreement was disrupted in July 2016, and very little progress has since been made in the delivery of its key provisions.

12.  Fundamental to the whole report is the irrefutable fact that the permanent ceasefire has been and continues to be violated by all the Parties with impunity and as such security has deteriorated to a critical level. Violations reported to both SPLA-IG and SPLA-IO have not been addressed.

Honourable Ministers, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen. 13. With regard to Chapter One:

1. The main institutions, such as the Transitional Government of National Unity and the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, have all been established with varying degrees of adherence to the letter of the Peace Agreement and the specified power-sharing formulas. Representation of women is still below expectation.

2. The expansion of the number of states, from 10 to 32, in contravention of the Peace Agreement, has also fundamentally adversely affected the intended power sharing formula.

c. The National Constitutional Amendment Committee, whose establishment according to the Peace Agreement should have preceded that of all the other institutions, was eventually established. However, it has proceeded expeditiously and has completed the drafting of the Constitutional Amendment Bill (2017), which has since been presented to the Council of Ministers for consideration.

d. Key among those provisions still awaiting implementation include enactment of the Constitutional Amendment Bill (2017), commencement of judicial reforms and a review of the Judiciary Act, and reconstitution of the National Elections Commission and the Political Parties Council.

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen; 14. With regard to Chapter Two:

a. The Permanent Ceasefire was signed, but has been consistently violated by the Parties with impunity. Fighting between government and opposition forces continues in different parts of the country, particularly around Pagak.

2. The assembly and cantonment of troops is only now seeing some progress as several SPLA-IO (Taban) commanders have declared troops for cantonment in some areas of South Sudan. This process is months behind schedule and SPLA-IO (Machar) is not participating.

3. The Strategic Defence and Security Review Board, the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanisms and the Joint Operations Centre have all been established, yet most are not following prescribed guidelines or timeframes; the National Architecture has not yet been fully established; and the Joint Integrated Police, though formed, is not functional.

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen; 15. With regard to Chapter Three:

1. The number of people displaced since the signing of the Peace Agreement has practically doubled, from approximately 2.3 million to around 4 million. I require no other statistic to underline the tragedy that has unfolded here.

2. There is grave concern regarding inconsistent humanitarian access. In addition to bureaucratic impediments, the killing of aid workers continues, in clear violation of International Humanitarian Law. The total number of aid workers killed since the signing of the Peace Agreement is forty-eight. Perpetrators include state and non-state actors.

c. The TGoNU is implementing the NGO Act without having subjected it to public consultation as required by the Peace Agreement. In addition, the Special Reconstruction Fund has not been established.

d. Whilst the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in the country is attributed to several causes, the persistence of armed hostilities is the main factor. Renewed offensives resulted in the further displacement and civilian flight across borders into neighbouring countries.

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen; 16. With regard to Chapter Four:

1. The degree of implementation of this Chapter is low. Only 16 provisions out of the 127 considered have been recorded as implemented.

2. In sections covering resource management, institutional reform and public financial and economic management, 16 out of 98 provisions have been implemented.

c. In sections covering the review of National Legislation, Environmental Protection and the Enterprise Development Fund, none of the provisions have been implemented.

d. The TGoNU also reports that work has yet to start on the seven provisions needed to establish the Economic and Financial Management Authority. In that regard, there is a clear need to establish the TGoNU’s position in order to move forward within the framework of the Peace Agreement.

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen; 17. With regard to Chapter Five:

1. The TGoNU has not adhered to the timelines set out in the Peace Agreement. None of the institutions intended to implement a transitional justice agenda have been established.

2. There has been some progress regarding initiating processes towards the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing and the Hybrid Court for South Sudan.

c. In June 2017, six months after its creation, an inclusive multi- stakeholder technical committee established for the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, commenced its work to conduct sensitisation on the consultations envisaged in the Peace Agreement.

4. As regards the mandate for the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the court, and a Draft Statute were tabled before the Council of Ministers in September 2017.

5. The Compensation and Reparations Authority has not yet been established.

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen; 18. With regard to Chapter Six:

1. There has been no progress whatsoever within this Chapter.

2. Key pending tasks include the review and reconstitution of the National Constitutional Review Commission to undertake the Permanent Constitution-making process; and drafting and enactment of legislation to guide the Constitution-making process.

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

19. JMEC’s evaluation report also includes numerous observations and recommendations:

a. Observations:

 i. The political, security, humanitarian and economic situation in South Sudan remains precarious and not conducive for the full implementation of the Peace Agreement.

  ii. The renewed conflict since July 2016 and the escalation of armed violence, the flight of key opposition figures and the emergence of new armed and political opposition has undermined the credibility of the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

iii. Continued conflict exacerbates a worsening economic and humanitarian situation and is an impediment to inclusive political, social and economic progress in the country.

iv.  Gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law continue unabated. These violations have included targeted killings of civilians, rape and sexual violence, mass displacement of the population and the destruction of property. In addition, access to humanitarian relief continues to be impeded.

v. Since July 2016 there have been new political developments, including splits within some Parties to the Agreement and the flight of Dr. Riek Machar and other key opposition leaders, which has undermined inclusive implementation of the Peace Agreement and the credibility of the current peace process.

vi. The TGoNU has faced a number of impediments to implementation including financial constraints, weak technical capacity and a lack of effective coordination, particularly in cases where implementation requires cooperation across ministries. But it is also evident that insufficient political commitment and poor prioritisation is holding progress back.

vii. The continued lack of accountability and prevailing impunity undermines efforts towards reconciliation, healing and recovery.

viii. Furthermore, the governance reforms prescribed in the Peace Agreement are undermined by the non- implementation of key provisions of the Peace Agreement, including those in Chapter Six. A Permanent Constitution is a pre-requisite for reforms including the holding of elections at the end of the Transitional Period.

b. Recommendations:

 i. All Parties to the Agreement and estranged groups must continue to be pursuaded to embrace and participate genuinely in the revitalisation process.

ii. The IGAD High-Level Revitalisation Forum must agree on specific steps and reforms to be implemented within prescribed timelines as a pre-condition for fair and democratic elections at the end of the Transitional Period.

iii. There must be an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to all forms of violence.

iv. Deployment of the Regional Protection Force in Juba should be expedited in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2304 (2016).

 v.  Free and unhindered humanitarian access and the opening of all major corridors and trading routes should be ensured.

vi. The enactment of the Constitutional Amendment Bill (2017) should be expedited to finalise incorporation of the Peace Agreement into the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan.

vii. The Permanent Constitution making process should commence immediately.

viii.  IGAD, in collaboration with the AU and the UN, should put in place mechanisms to enforce compliance.

 ix. The region and the international community must speak with one voice and coordinate their actions.

 x. The AU and the TGoNU should resolve issues surrounding the establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan and provide relevant support to the comprehensive transitional justice and accountability efforts in South Sudan. The TGoNU should also establish all other Chapter Five institutions within the timeframe provided in the Agreement.

xi. Finally, JMEC reiterates the urgent need to engage all the Parties and estranged groups in the revitalisation process and to take concrete steps to restore the

Permanent Ceasefire, ensure inclusive implementation of the Peace Agreement and develop revised realistic timelines towards democratic elections at the end of the Transitional Period.

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

20. I wish to thank all the Chairpersons and members of the Working Committees for their dedication and commitment to the process of evaluating the progress, and lack thereof, in the implementation of the Peace Agreement. I also wish to thank and commend the TGoNU for its cooperation and participation in the Working Committee meetings.

21. I have full confidence in our evaluation and I hope and expect that these assessments and recommendations will enable the Parties, the region and all South Sudanese stakeholders to pursue the revitalisation process from an informed point of view.

22. I encourage them all to take the necessary steps and compromises to revitalise the implementation of the Peace Agreement without further delay and deliver a lasting solution to the conflict in South Sudan.

Honorable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen;

23.  I expect this Plenary to:

1. welcome the reports and recommendations of the JMEC Working Committees, which are to be submitted to IGAD;

2. receive a briefing from the TGoNU on recent progress made in implementing the Peace Agreement;

3. receive an update from TGoNU and UNMISS on the current humanitarian situation, in particular on steps taken to facilitate unhindered humanitarian access; and,

4. receive summary reports on the status of the various Boards and Commissions of the Peace Agreement and the progress towards their objectives.

24.  Finally, I take this opportunity to thank all our partners in the TGoNU, the other South Sudanese stakeholders, IGAD, AU, Troika, EU, China, the UN, UNMISS, and the International Partners and Friends of South Sudan for their commitment and continued support to JMEC, and appeal for full support for the revitalisation process.

25. May God bless us all and continue to guide us in the relentless pursuit of peace. I thank you.