Catholic Bishops Express Doubt Over South Sudan Peace Implementation

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The bishops of the Catholic Church in South Sudan are expressing concern about the future of South Sudan’s peace agreement, signed last year.

The bishops said in a statement Thursday they welcomed the agreement as a step forward.

“However, the concrete situation on the ground demonstrates that it is not addressing the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan,” they said.

The bishops said human rights abuses continue with impunity, including murder, rape, widespread sexual violence, looting and occupation of civilian land and property in South Sudan.

“There is no will or commitment for peace among many of our leaders, hate speech and propaganda abound, and there is a thirst for revenge among our communities,” the bishops said.

The statement said many of the committees and commissions mandated by the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, (R-ARCSS), have not been set up or are late in getting started.

President Salva Kiir’s government, the main rebel group led by former vice president Riek Machar and most other armed groups signed the peace deal designed to end South Sudan’s five-year civil war.

However, Angelina Teny, the chairperson of the strategic defense security board, a body tasked with security arrangements, said not much has been achieved.

Rebel forces were supposed to be gathered on bases before being integrated into the national army.

“That is the prerequisite for the formation of the TGONU (Transitional Government of National Unity),” she noted. But the process has yet to begin, only two months before the “transitional” period defined in the peace deal begins.

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