STATEMENT BY THE CITIZENS OF
BAHR EL GHAZAL IN KENYA(17th June, 2003)
We, the undersigned citizens of Bahr El Ghazal Region of South Sudan resident in Kenya, joined by a number of our compatriots from elsewhere in the Diaspora, who are currently visiting Kenya, attended a meeting convened by Bahr El Ghazal Consultative And Coordinating Committee (C.C.C), in Nairobi on Tuesday 17th June 2003.The meeting conferred on the state of South Sudan politics and liberation struggle. Particularly the state of the current peace negotiations being undertaken by the Inter-governmental Authority for Development (IGAD). The IGAD is assisted by a consortium of facilitators from the international community. Our meeting resolved, first of all, to note strongly that the 20th July Machakos Peace Protocol of the said negotiations, had endorsed the right of the people of South Sudan to self-determination.
However, we wish to warn the people of South Sudan that the IGAD peace process is stalled due to disagreement on a number of issues and the intervention of other regional powers like Egypt, the Arab League and all Arab countries. These countries had historically been responsible for denying the people of the South the expression of their political aspiration. As a result, we fear that self-determination is being turned into an instrument of reaching a peace agreement between the negotiating parties at the peace process at Machakos that may not be carried out in the end. South Sudan has a living example in the 1953 Cairo Agreement, which had embodied self- determination. This determination was in the end brushed aside and a resolution declaring Sudan an independent country issued inside a parliament that was not elected for that purpose.
Hence, any negotiations must not only achieve agreement, and not any agreement for that matter this time round, but achieve real, just and lasting peace. For the people of South Sudan, real and genuine peace would mean a stabilized, regularized, durable, guaranteed and a lasting and ensured security for our people. We don?t have to go for prolonged and tactical cease-fires, which in the end will enable the Arabs to rebuild their depleted army, exploit the oil of the South, rebuild a shattered economy, surround and isolate South Sudan diplomatically etc. in the rest of Africa and elsewhere in the world. Our people would equally and justifiably demand a sustainable social, economical, cultural, aesthetic, ideational and guarantee of their Africanness and traditions. And not to mention their value systems, and historical philosophical heritage. Besides, to overcome social backwardness and an acute economic underdevelopments and their structures underlines, the lo! gical conclusion that such an issue cannot be left in the hands of those who preach and ask for being allowed to experiment on the so called attraction to unity of Sudan. Hence, the people of South Sudan will insist and must get a socio-economic transformation model that will create an entirely new society. That society will be free from domination, subjugation, oppression, suppression, exploitation, continuous slavery, genocide and forcible acculturation, Islamicisation and all the other measures that go with foreign occupation.
The pattern of that behavior has not changed as far as North Sudan is concerned. The abrogation in May 1983, of the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement is a glaring example of this political immorality by North Sudan. That Agreement had at least ended 17 years of war between South Sudan and North Sudan. This bitter experience should also serve as a very good reminder at this juncture in which South Sudan seems to being railroaded again into another peace agreement without the fullest and broadest participation and or consultation with its people!
We should like to also add that for any process and practice of self-determination to be solid and concrete, the basic political and legal modalities, protocols, legal perquisites and laws, general agreements of understanding and such understandings have, to firmly, be put in place. Furthermore, these basic requirements which have until now been the practice and the norm under UN Conventions, OAU or AU Charters, the Algiers Declaration of 1976, among others issues. These should be applied to the letter and spirit when it comes to the implementation of self-determination process. The later must not only underpin such an implementation but call into existence all the other various protocols under international law for the recognition of oppressed and occupied people?s. to self-determination. Therefore, the condition and process of the said self-determination, should follow to the letter the basic need to consult with the population being oppressed and occupied. ! It isn?t the case at the moment regrettably.
And at the utmost that process must be supervised internationally and with the strong support of civil society, Church, professionals and the civil population at large in South Sudan. We cite the precedents of Namibia, East Timor, Eritrea, Sierra Leone etc. The methodology followed in the IGAD format of negotiations which granted to Sudan the false claims it made before the mediators, and which claims assert that South Sudan and Northern Sudan have always been one united country historically is unsubstantiated, false and therefore null and void.
1. The People?s Right of Self-Determination:
(a) Article 1 of the UN Charter 1945, stipulates that the colonized societies in Asia, Africa and Latin America should be entitled for self-determination in order to decide their destiny to independence. This article by the UN was adopted to cater for "decolonisation". It served its purpose when UN supported independence uprisings in Africa and elsewhere in the world in 1950s and which led to all these colonials who had been occupied earlier on regaining their countries and freedoms. This principle was latter adopted by UN under its Human Rights Protocol on the matter.
The UN Economic and Social Covenant (ECOSOC) assisted by UN Commission for Human Rights adopted three generations of human rights conventions/articles:
(i) International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);
(ii) International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); and People?s Right and self-determination.
Under the UN Charter and the Human Rights Covenant, the right of people?s to self-determination is defined as:
(b) Geographical territory occupied by the population.
(c) Government ruling that territory. In the case of the South, we have had our various indigenous rulers running sub-ethnic or ethnic and tribal polities up to 1898 (in fact the British /Egypt control of the South Sudan became effective only in 1928 - and even then very tenuously administered by the British under the Close District Ordinance Proclamation). Yet the territory known as South Sudan was governed separately from 1898 -1956 or then known as the Condominium Colonial Government.
The Sudan government argument that South Sudan and North Sudan where united under the ruling of 1947 Juba Conference is false and an act of forgery. The said Conference was an Administrative Consultative Conference between the British and its local administrators and chiefs. These people were not elected by the people of South Sudan. Therefore, they the chiefs and clerks that is, couldn?t possibly have been legitimate representatives of the political views and stand of the South Sudan. Besides, it was not a forum for any discussion, on self-determination, let alone making decision on this fateful issue. In fact the South Sudan was officially annexed yet illegally to North Sudan as a result of the Juba 1947 Administrative Conference. Neither was South Sudan represented in the February 1953 Cairo Conference on self-determination for Northern Sudan. Once the Condominium Government left in 1956 South Sudan passed under internal colonialism of North Sudan.
As from 1972 to 1983, South Sudan gained some sort of manifest Self-government following the "Addis Ababa Agreement" and made organic by a Self-government Act (as some sort of constitution). However this was but in name only. The same Self-government Act some ten years down the road was once more abrogated by North Sudan thus dissolving the government of South Sudan. South Sudan, thereafter felt it was being put under a second round of internal colonialism by the Arab North. South Sudan rejected the Arab or Khartoum colonial hegemony and went to war in 1983.
The SPLA liberated areas of our land (estimated as over 80%) is controlled by a de facto government and administered by the SPLM. The control and governance of the territory and population of South Sudan is a fact. That administration is continuous and uninterrupted for the last 21 years. This state of affairs proves that South Sudan is qualified under the UN definition of the right of people to self- determination: territorial integrity, population and government.
The process leading to referendum and decision should then have been the responsibility of UN Security Council. Under its Article and mandate dealing with International Peace and Security. The recent examples are: Namibia, Eritrea, East Timor and the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in early 1990s (see UN Charter and Human Rights Covenants for correct definitions of the Articles dealing with the laws in each case. Also see the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1946).
2. The national identity of Sudan, so-called, is mostly contentious. Sudan is an African country and a country to which South Sudan was not united to through the process and act of self-determination according to the historical facts recounted above. Sudan therefore must remain an African country during the six-year interim period. In this period the UN must grant peace keeping forces along latitude 120. The presence of UN forces will ensure the separation of the armies, SPLA and Khartoum?s, until the final outcome of referendum.
3. As for the Land of the territory called South Sudan, the ownership is vested on the population that are its occupants since time immemorial. Our Land was never occupied by foreigners until 1898. In that year, it was only the King of England, King George the vi who became its proprietor from 1898 -1956. As from 1956 to the date we are writing, the Sudan, so called, never formulated a Constitution that was accepted by South Sudan. The claim that the Khartoum Government enjoys sovereignty over the Land of South Sudan is, therefore, historically and constitutionally false and unfounded. Khartoum, has all these years attempted and failed by political deception and falsehood to Marshall support and stand the false claims unabashedly.
The International Court of Justice decisions to settle land disputes in the past in different parts of the world provide several examples. Those that are available to us are e.g. the case between France and Mexico or Aborigine cases and the Australian Government or the case between Morocco and Western Sahara (Details are found in the relevant UN documentation on the subject and many relevant law journals or documentation on the same in any library). Therefore the Sudan or Khartoum government has no right to claim a right of ownership over the minerals found above or under the land of South Sudan. To persist, insist and actually exploit the minerals of the South by force of arms is tantamount to armed robbery and theft.
4. Equitable power and resources sharing in the context of our argument above become irrelevant within the process of right to self-determination implementation over the historical territory of South Sudan. Besides sharing of organic state power and resources within the fundamental understanding of the basic differences between national state power and one of its none-state regional territory, and which territory will exist and function concretely and operate as a local autonomous body does not make serious sense. Perhaps to the Apostles and converts of "New Sudan cum NDA and political Islam. Because the Central State will definitely due to its monopoly of organic national state power can only delegate, allocate, devolve etc. inorganic power and resources to the lower political units. Its only the out come of the referendum, and all of us should wait, that will determine whether we share our territory and the wealth (e.g petroleum) with a foreign occupier like! Khartoum. Any such political game insisted upon by the Arabs to insist that South Sudan and North Sudan are one country, and blindly endorsed by some self-seeking South Sudanese, should be disallowed by the mediators on the ground of commonsense and irrefutable historical facts for the time being.
It can only be discussed if South Sudan, it decide on its free will to sign or accept an agreement to unite with North Sudan. And in that event can only be done under an agreed mutual constitution acceptable to both parties. There is no such constitution as of present in order to determine the so-called shares of resources or over property of South Sudan population. Hence we reject the false claims of Khartoum and its negligible in number unionists in South Sudan in the IGAD Negotiations forum as being legally and constitutionally groundless.
We are further suspicious of the manner in which the leader of the movement that is supposedly negotiating on behalf of South Sudan has carried himself over the last few months in the international arena over the peace process. The leader of the SPLM/A creates a public impression around the world that self- determination is only an instrument of ensuring that the unity of Sudan will be the outcome of a referendum on self-determination when and if it is undertaken. The leader of the SPLM/A has totally failed over 21 years of his leadership of our people to clearly articulate the political aspiration of the people of South Sudan. He now goes around the world and the Region only emphasizing his "New Sudan". That gentleman forgets on connivance and conveyance ground that our freedom fighters, who took up arms to fight for the political aspiration of their people have been misled into believing that the "New Sudan" agenda of their leader is one and the same thing a! s the right of the people to self-determination.
Furthermore, the negotiating tactics of the leader of the SPLM/A show that these tactics are aimed at putting the IGAD peace process at risk and with it the right of self-determination which that process now embodies. And yet, this is the man the international community seem to want to make solely in charge of the future of our country and people.
If the IGAD peace process is to ensure that the right of South Sudan to self-determination will be carried out at the end of the interim period, then we appeal to the IGAD mediators to ensure that the international community stays with this process until it is finally carried out. The implementation of whatever the government of Sudan agrees to undertake as measures to "make unity attract" to the South need to be internationally monitored throughout the entire interim period. The security arrangements for South Sudan, whatever they may be, need to be closely watched. Indeed, as a matter of confidence building between South Sudan and North Sudan, these security measures need to be internationally monitored.
More importantly, we appeal to the international community to ensure that the government that will begin the implementation of the interim period in South Sudan is a coalition government that will include all the armed groups of South Sudanese. Without that, the IGAD peace mediators and facilitators will be seen as only empowering one military organization in South Sudan, enabling it to repress others that do not agree with it.
Furthermore, we appeal to the IGAD peace mediators to ensure that whatever government that begins the long interim period which is now set to more that six years for South Sudan will be replaced by an elected government at the end of the first two years of that period. This will provide greater political transparency and will ensure that the government of South Sudan that will supervise and conduct the referendum on self -determination is mandated by the electorate of the South Sudan.
Finally, but not the least, we appeal to our brethren and compatriots from Equatoria and Upper Nile, to join us in closing our ranks in unity of purpose to further the cause of the liberation and freedom of our people, whatever the outcome of the current IGAD peace process may bring. No any determined people to be free have ever failed. So, our people will finally be freed by their own determination. So, purposive unity remains the central goal of our people.
In conclusion, we wish to hail the gallant struggle put up by our fighting men and women of the SPLA during the difficult last 21 years of this most bloody of civil wars. We salute the heroism of our freedom fighters. Whatever the outcome of the current peace process, it would not have been possible even to sit down at the negotiating table with North Sudan without the military heroism of the SPLA freedom fighters. We salute them on behalf and in the name of our people.
To the other armed groups in South Sudan, we would like to say that whatever forced you into what we know and appreciate as a difficult choice, you remain South Sudanese. Your responsibilities towards your country and people are equal to those of any citizen else. We appeal to you to close ranks with your compatriots in unity of purpose and to spare our people any further loss of blood and. This achieved,we can all unite to rebuild the shattered lives of what is left of our people after this bloody long civil war. South Sudan has had more than a lion share in the loss of so many millions of lives of our people.
We also wish to appeal to the IGAD negotiators to find a credible, equitable, just and durable peace with honour to our kith and kin, the African people of the Nuba Mountains, the Funj and Darfur.
We remain, yours:
Professor Barri-Ngangara Wanji
Consultative and Coordinating Committee of (Triple - CCC) of Bahr al Ghazal Region (BGR).