#SawaSouthSudan: South Sudan Women’s Virtual Summit on May 25, 2018

Posted: May 24, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, Press Release

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CONTEXT

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 (PW) — Seven years after independence, violence in South Sudan goes unchecked. The 2015 power sharing peace deal between the President and Vice-President lies in tatters. The violent, hyper-masculine discourse of these leaders has left no room for an alternative vision for the country.

Despite women’s elevated roles in their societies, and the unique dangers they face – including the use of rape as a weapon of war – it is the voices of men, those who fought hardest and most viciously, who are rewarded with a place at the table. There is no spot for those who wage only peace.

This must change if the world’s youngest country is to build a peaceful and representative future. Women’s perspectives, experience and solutions must be heard if South Sudan has any choice to forge an alternative, united vision for a peaceful and stable nation.

With a coalition of women’s organizations, Crisis Action intends to bring together powerful women leaders from South Sudan, the African continent, and the wider world to a Virtual Summit that will transcend geography and the conflict itself to create a call so loud and so united that those with the power to drive real, lasting change will have no choice but to listen. 

The commitments to be involved include from Chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, big hitter Kenyan journalists Julie Gichuru and Caroline Mutoko, international human rights campaigners like former Irish President Mary Robinson and Navi Pillay, and if we can get necessary protocol assurances from the Kenyan government then former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will be taking part.

We also have interest from Angelina Jolie and Lupita Nyong’o. This is alongside a network of South Sudanese women including Rita Lopidia of Eve Organization for Women Development in Juba and Rebecca Garang, wife of the late leader of pre-independence South Sudan, speaking to their experiences of the conflict and their efforts to secure its resolution.

The summit will take place on Africa Day, an international day that marks the founding of the African Union and symbolizes the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from domination and exploitation. It is a day of solidarity that will see women from all over Africa and the world lend their voices and share their platforms with the citizens of South Sudan.

The summit will be called #SawaSouthSudan: Sawa means both ‘solidarity’ and ‘togetherness’ in Juba Arabic and ‘ready’ or ‘ok’ in Swahili.

OBJECTIVES

  • To bring together activists from South Sudan and elsewhere on one online forum, demonstrating how women’s lives in South Sudan and the wider region bear the costs of the conflict.
  • To launch a wave of action towards the African Union, emphasizing the moral, political and security imperatives for action to protect civilians – especially women and children.
  • To draw powerful connections between the women of South Sudan and new allies from the African continent and further afield, galvanizing international support and co-creating solutions for a lasting and equitable peace.

KEY MESSAGES

  1. Seven years after independence, violence in South Sudan goes unchecked. The 2015 power sharing peace deal between the President and Vice-President lies in tatters. The violent, hyper-masculine discourse of these leaders has left no room for an alternative vision for the country. If South Sudan is to find peace, the conversation has to change – and helping women access that conversation is the answer.
  2. Despite women’s elevated roles in their societies, and the unique dangers they face – including the use of rape as a weapon of war – it is the voices of men, those who fought hardest and most viciously, who are rewarded with a place at the table.  This must change if the world’s youngest country is to build a peaceful and representative future. This summit will bring together women’s perspectives, experience and solutions must be heard if South Sudan has any choice to forge an alternative, united vision for a peaceful and stable nation.
  3. This summit is an innovative and democratic attempt to give the women of South Sudan the opportunity to meet online and share ideas with others from their country and abroad. Travel or expense will not be a barrier to be heard. The noise made at this summit will be heard at the highest levels of regional governments and the African Union – and the coalition involved will ensure that noise will translate to pressure for lasting change for the people of South Sudan.

HOW TO TAKE PART

The SawaSouthSudan summit will be branded with the name of the South Sudan Women’s Coalition. It will begin at 2pm East African Time and can be seen at www.SawaSouthSudan.com and on facebook, twitter and youtube. Listeners in South Sudan can send questions for panellists to Radio Miraya and the stations of the Catholic Radio Network, who will relay them to the summit and look for answers.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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