By: Sarah Lafen
Impunity Watch News Reporter, Africa Desk
JUBA, South Sudan — The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) concluded its summit meeting this past Monday with a focus on the worsening war situation in South Sudan. The bloc at the summit called upon all parties involved to take necessary steps to follow a concrete plan to revitalize the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict on South Sudan, which was implemented in 2015.
The IGAD also called for a forum including all parties, even estranged groups, to discuss measures to restore a permanent ceasefire. The forum would also develop a more realistic timeline towards South Sudan’s August 2018 elections, and would delay the elections if necessary to a more feasible date. South Sudan First Vice President Taban Deng Gai believes the elections should go forth as planned, however summit delegates officially decided that it would be “too premature” to hold an election considering the country’s high level of violence.
The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (JMEC) in South Sudan has also decried its country’s continuing violence. JMEC chairperson Festus Mogae commented that “[t]he rapidly deteriorating political, security, humanitarian and economic situation in the country has caused unprecedented displacement, famine, and growing civilian flight. The pace of the implementation of the Peace Agreement has been too slow…”
According to the UN OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin Report distributed on May 28, 3.7 million South Sudanese are homeless. Some have relocated to civilian sites, and others have been moved to refugee settlements in neighboring countries Kenya and Uganda. Also according to the report, 5.5 million people are “food insecure,” and there are many reports of human rights violations including murders, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests, and detentions.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir did not attend the summit due to “pressing issues in the country,” however First Vice President Gai attended in his place.
Sudan’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Jamal Al Sheikh, told reporters that the summit commenced the opening of “Sudanese humanitarian corridors to forward to relief to the affected civilians in South Sudan.” Al Sheikh confirmed that IGAD would continue its efforts to cooperate with willing partners.
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