Silence the guns – Anataban

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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] A movement for peace in South Sudan has urged all armed combatants to put away their arms so as to ensure a conducive environment for fruitful dialogue. It said this on the eve of the third anniversary since war broke out in Juba in December 2013.

The movement, Anataban, said there was need for inclusion of youth, women and other sectors of the South Sudan society, more so the voice of those at the grassroots, in the peace process in the country.

“Realizing the importance of the call for national dialogue echoed across the political divide, the need to ensure a safe space where citizens and other stakeholders alike can freely express themselves cannot be over emphasized,” said a statement from the movement.

Their statement comes at a time when President Salva Kiir announced in parliament the launch of a national dialogue that will involve all the country’s rival political parties and groups. He said the dialogue will be led by eminent statesmen who will work with independent experts from Juba-based think tanks such as the Ebony Center, Sudd Institute and Centre for Peace and Development.

While making the announcement, President Kiir asked for forgiveness from the people of South Sudan for any wrongs he might have committed in the past.
The movement has urged South Sudanese to take ownership of the current situation, stressing the need of each individual to play their role in upholding the dignity of the people of South Sudan.

Since the outbreak of conflict in December 2013 in Juba, and its most recent resurgence in July 2016, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, thousands have fled to neighbouring countries while others have sought refuge in Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) camps across the country.

The movement has also denounced hate speech and incitement perpetrated within the country and by those in the Diaspora using different media outlets, especially social media.

It called for expediting the formation of the hybrid court proposed by the African Union to hold accountable the perpetrators of injustices such as rape, targeted and ethnic killings, as the key to paving the way for lasting peace and reconciliation.

The African Union Commission of Inquiry formed under the chairmanship of Nigeria's ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, recommended the formation of a special court to try perpetrators of war crimes committed in the country during its past wars. The commission found evidence that both sides to the conflict in South Sudan had been involved in murder, torture, looting and sexual violence.

Anataban (Arabic for “I am tired”), is the slogan for a new campaign, championed by young South Sudanese activists and artists, who are decrying the violence in the country. The campaign uses various art forms such as street theater, graffiti, sculpture and poetry to speak about social injustice, accountability, and transparency.

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