January 9, 2020
Public encouraged to nominate the worst peace spoilers in South Sudan
(Kampala) – A Ugandan-based organisation, Atrocities Watch Africa, has today called on the wider public to nominate individuals and entities from, or linked with, South Sudan for a “Spoiler of the Peace Award,” for having used their clout to frustrate the country’s fledgling peace process and harm civilian lives. A pan-African judges’ panel will review the nominations and present ‘awards’ at a public event in early February for several categories, including ‘top overall spoiler of the peace’ and ‘top spoiler for human rights and civilian atrocities.’
Dismas Nkunda, founder and Executive Director of Atrocities Watch Africa, said: “The purpose of the Spoilers of Peace Awards is to hold accountable those who bear the most responsibility for prolonging the misery of the people of South Sudan. These not only include individuals and entities who are a part of South Sudan’s elite, but it will also include foreign individuals, entities, and governments who have aided and abetted the stalling of South Sudan’s peace process, as well as catastrophic destruction and suffering in the country.”
South Sudan’s civil war, which began in December 2013, has persisted despite numerous political attempts to end it over the years, including recent efforts by neighbouring countries to revive a faltering peace agreement. One of the war’s root causes has been deep political and economic corruption. South Sudanese elite have extracted and sold South Sudan’s natural resources, spending the profits on themselves and their familial and business networks by buying expensive real estate in Kenya and Uganda, loyalties, and scores of weapons to continue waging war. The power the elite has accrued has enabled them to stifle civil society which has led to the illegal detainment of numerous civil society leaders such as Peter Biar Ajak, whom President Salva Kiir recently pardoned after two years of imprisonment, eight months of which were without charge or trial.
Dismas Nkunda said: “President Kiir’s pardoning of Peter Biar Ajak and other political detainees is a step in the right direction, but that action does not absolve him and other elites for having illegally imprisoned peaceful political activists in the first place. Peace in South Sudan can’t happen until the spoilers are exposed and held accountable to South Sudan’s citizens. And the more the peace spoilers are revealed, the better the international community can use their political and economic leverage to cut off their ability to wage war and profit from it.”
From today until January 19, anyone from the public can nominate a ‘spoiler of the peace’ by completing a submissions form on https://www.spoilersofpeaceawards.org/. Nominating individuals will be asked to provide a short explanation and open-source references from a pre-approved list of established sources to back up their nominations.
Dismas Nkunda said: “Award winners will not be praised for being the worst. They’ll be exposed for all the actions they’ve done to kill and harm civilians and frustrate the peace process, as embodied in the award which depicts a hand making a mutilated peace sign. And they’ll be exposed to potential political and economic repercussions from governments and international institutions who have the capability to hold them accountable and to sanction them: to block their ability to travel and purchase property, withdraw money from their bank accounts, and make it much harder for them to use their corrupt networks to profit from suffering in any way.”
Contact information: Dismas Nkunda, Founder and Executive Director, Africa Atrocities Watch. Mobile/WhatsApp: +256 753 310 404. Email: Dismas.Nkunda@gmail.com
Atrocities Watch Africa (AWA) is a non-partisan, civil society organization and institution registered in accordance with the laws of Uganda as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in 2016. AWA provides continental leadership in matters pertaining to the prevention of mass atrocities within Africa and beyond, through multi-pronged approaches that infuse ownership, legitimacy, and sustainable interface. https://atrocitieswatch.org/