WASHINGTON – As reports continue to emerge concerning the aftermath of a recent resurgence of inter-communal violence between the Lou-Nuer and Murle communities of Jonglei state, the government of the Republic of South Sudan, supported by the international community, must redouble its efforts to address the more systemic causes of this and other such instances of inter-communal violence throughout the new nation, the Enough Project said. Without robust government intervention, violence between the communities and attacks on civilians will continue.
Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast stated:
"These inter-communal attacks do not have to be inevitable. Individuals on both sides are complicit in inflaming the situation. Outsiders have provided arms and ammunition. The South Sudan government did not do enough in the aftermath of initial attacks last year. The international community’s efforts have largely been too little, too late. A major investment in diplomacy, development and security is needed for Jonglei state to prevent an intensification of violence."
“The causes of the violence go beyond the retaliatory nature of cattle raiding in Jonglei state and touch upon broader issues of accountability, reconciliation, political inclusion, an absence of state authority, and development,” said Jennifer Christian, Sudan policy analyst for the Enough Project.
The Enough Project recommends that the government of the Republic of South Sudan, along with the international community, focus its efforts to address inter-communal violence in Jonglei state on the following:
Greater Accountability for Crimes Committed in the Context of Inter-Communal Violence: Individuals responsible for perpetrating crimes related to cattle raiding must be held accountable. This includes individuals who foment violence related to cattle raiding, as well as those who participate directly in such violence. Processes through which individuals may be held accountable may be judicial or more traditional in nature. Regardless, capacity building efforts within South Sudan’s judiciary must be redoubled now to ensure judicial, as well as police, personnel are able to investigate and prosecute offenders, if necessary.
Inter-Communal Reconciliation Efforts: The Government of South Sudan’s decision to bolster the ongoing reconciliation efforts of the Sudan Council of Churches is important for bringing about sustained peace between the Lou-Nuer and Murle communities. Such reconciliation efforts should target not just traditional community leaders, but also include Lou-Nuer and Murle youth as well as those actors who possess influence over parties to the violence on both sides. Reconciliation efforts may contemplate mechanisms to address crimes committed during past instances of inter-communal violence, which may, in turn, assist in addressing issues of accountability. The sustained support of national and state officials behind these reconciliation efforts is key to building the credibility of the process.
Greater Inclusion of Murle Community Members within the National and State Level Governments: Efforts should be taken to increase the representation of Murle community members in government, both at the national and state level. Greater inclusion of the Murle in government will, in turn, provide the Murle community with mechanisms to voice its concerns in a peaceful and constructive manner. This inclusion should, however, be coupled with efforts to develop the capacity of the civil administration, particularly at the state level. Such capacity building will help to facilitate greater communication and dialogue between Jonglei’s state government and communities.
Expansion of State Authority in Lou Nuer and Murle Areas: The political and security-related isolation of the two communities has contributed to the rise of parallel authorities, and renders violence as one of the few mechanisms for addressing community grievances. The delivery of basic services, provision of security, and establishment of rule of law by the government in Lou Nuer and Murle areas are critical toward ending inter-communal violence in the long term. Expansion of state authority will require, among other things, capacity building within the national, state, and local governments and policing forces, as well as development of Jonglei’s infrastructure.
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