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Activists call for women’s inclusion in South Sudan peace implementation

Displaced women and children under a hot sun in South Sudan's Maban County, where food shortages are causing tension. (UNHCR/P. Rulashe Photo)
April 1, 2019 (JUBA) - A group of South Sudanese women have launched a petition calling for inclusivity in the upcoming three-year transitional government to implement the outcome of the revitalized peace agreement

The peace pact allocates 35 percent of the ministerial portfolios posts to female representatives in the transitional unity government.

"The incumbent government shall nominate no fewer than six (6) women, SPLM/A-IO shall nominate no fewer than three (3) women, and SSOA shall nominate no less than one (1) woman," reads the agreement.

"We, South Sudanese women and girls, who are 65% of the population, are the ones who bear wars and violence brunt the most; rape, sexual violence, physical and health vulnerability, and poverty in general," said a group of female activists including Kaidi Cleto Rial, Suzanne Jambo, Jennifer Baithpath Majuac, Akuany Mane Nyandeng and Sarah Halliday among others.

The signatories said they have been excluded from the decision-making historically and at the IGAD brokered peace process to achieve peace but stressed they, however, constitute the majority of the South Sudanese population.

Women will not accept periphery posts but want important ministerial posts such as ministries of finance, defence, interior, education, foreign affairs and health, they said

"There are enough competent, committed, non-corrupt, non-violent and nationalistic women in South Sudan," the petition further reads.

In a speech to the Security Council last October, UN peacekeeping chief stressed that women’s representation vital to realizing South Sudan revitalized agreement.

"It is imperative that women be represented in the ceasefire and transitional…mechanisms, as stipulated in the agreement,” Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations said, in a briefing on the joint visit of United Nations and African Union officials to South Sudan from 7 to 9 October 2018.