Thousands ‘choose peace’ on anniversary of South Sudanese independence

Published: 16 Jul 2012

Thousands ‘choose peace’ on anniversary of South Sudanese independence
Warring parties urged to pull back from the brink as UN resolution deadline looms
Citizens from South Sudan and Sudan have today been joined by human rights activists, civil society
organisations and faith leaders from around the world in a united call for peace within and between the two
countries. The global campaign – We Choose Peace – is backed by over 150 organisations including the African
Council of Religious Leaders, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Enough Project, FIDH, IKV Pax
Christi, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Refugees International, Reporters Without Borders and Secours
Catholique and marks the 1st anniversary of independence of South Sudan.
The campaign calls on the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the League of Arab States (LAS) and
other influential governments to do all they can to persuade Sudan and South Sudan to resolve outstanding
issues between them. This means adhering to the AU’s Roadmap for Peace and complying in full with UN
Resolution 2046, agreed on May 2, which called for an immediate end to hostilities, withdrawal of forces and a
resumption of negotiations at the AU.
The UN set a deadline of August 2 to resolve outstanding issues between the two countries including oil,
borders, returnees and the disputed territory of Abyei. It also explicitly called for the Sudan People’s Liberation
Movement – North (SPLM-N) and the Government of Sudan to reach a negotiated settlement on security in
Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, and enable humanitarian access.
Mr. Edmund Yakani, Programme Coordinator at Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) in
Juba, South Sudan said: “With only three weeks to go before the deadline for compliance with UN Resolution
2046, now is not the time to lose hope and condemn the world’s newest country to failure. Now is the time to
act. We are coming together today to say to our governments, and to their brothers and sisters in the AU and
League of Arab States, that citizens on both sides of the border and around the world want an end to the
Peace rallies and other events are taking place around the world, including in Washington DC, London, Berlin,
Toronto and Rome. Placards bearing the slogan ‘We Choose Peace’ will be displayed and in some locations
citizens will cast votes for peace in a giant ballot box. Thousands of people are also taking part in online
campaign actions via Twitter and Facebook, photographing themselves with the slogan ‘I Choose Peace’ and
asking decision makers at the AU, UN and in key governments if they do too.
Since South Sudanese secession, failure to resolve key issues and tensions between the two countries and within
Sudan itself has led to an escalation of conflict and the threat of a return to all-out war. Fighting in Sudan’s
Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states has exacerbated instability in the border areas and caused a
humanitarian crisis in Sudan and in refugee camps in South Sudan. Journalists and aid workers have been denied
access and many of those affected are cut off from the rest of the world. Meanwhile anti-government protests
have been taking place in Khartoum and throughout Sudan, during which hundreds of people have been
Arnold Tsunga, Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said: “There has been too
much suffering, too much bloodshed, and there is too much to lose to let this crisis carry on or escalate. There
must be an immediate cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access to affected populations in Sudan, and
protection of civilians. The UN, AU and others must help realise this through facilitating meaningful political
dialogue and exercising tough diplomacy.”
Dismas Nkunda, Co-Director of the International Refugee Rights Initiative said: “The leaders of Sudan and South
Sudan need to honour their responsibilities to their people and respect the human rights of all their citizens,
especially those displaced from their homes by ongoing violence. That is essential for sustained peace. If they fail
to choose peace by complying with UN Resolution 2046 and following the AU roadmap then the international
community must get tough and resort to punitive measures. It would be nothing short of a tragedy if the gains of
the past few years, and the hopes of so many people, were thwarted by pointless war.”
/ Ends
For more information and to arrange interviews contact: Amy Barry, +44 7980 664397 or +44 207 2699450
List of signatory organisations: African Centre for Peace and Justice Studies, Aegis Trust, African Council of Religious
Leaders, African Peace Forum (APFO), African Resource and Research Forum (ARRF), Arab Coalition for Darfur
(representing 135 Arab civil society organisations), Arab Program for Human Rights Activists (APHRA), L’Association
Congolaise pour l’Accès à la Justice (ACAJ), Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), Cairo Institute for Human
Rights Studies (CIHRS), Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), Cordaid, Darfur Bar Association,
Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre, the Enough Project, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR),
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Funj Youth Development Association (Blue Nile State, Sudan),
Genocide Alert, Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker, Global Witness, HART (UK), Humanity United, ICCO (The
Netherlands), IKV Pax Christi, International Centre for Policy and Conflict, International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI),
Italians for Darfur, Justice and Peace Commission of French Bishops’ Conference, Al Khatim Adlan Centre for
Enlightenment and Human Development (KACE), Mensen met een Missie (The Netherlands), Mother’s Union (UK),
National Union of Teachers (UK), Norwegian Refugee Council, Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development
Organisation (South Kordofan State, Sudan), Norwegian Support Group for Peace in Sudan (SFS), Peace Direct,
Refugees International, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), Saferworld, Secours Catholique, Socio-Economic Rights and
Accountability Project (SERAP), Sudan Democracy First Group, United to End Genocide, Waging Peace
The campaign on Twitter: hashtag: #ChoosePeace; handle: @sudan365
For photos of campaigners with I CHOOSE PEACE signs visit
The following activities will take place:
Country City Location Date / Local Time Further details / Contacts
Germany Berlin Brandenburg Gate 9 July, 10:00 People queuing to vote for peace in giant ballot
boxes. Contact: Sacha Dewjis,, +49 1721403058
UK London Old Palace Yard, SW1 9 July, 11:00-11.30 People queuing to vote for peace in giant ballot
boxes. Contact: Mariam Kemple,,
+44 7534990178, +44 7870411301
Egypt Cairo Nation House Museum
(Saad Zaghloul Cultural
8 July, 14:30-23:00 Cultural Festival Day, including concert with
Sudanese and Southern Sudanese singers
Contact: Wadah Tabir, +201009240291,
The following rallies will also take place as part of the We Want Peace Campaign:
Country City Location Date / Local Time Further details / Contacts
Canada Toronto Queen’s Park 9 July, 12:00-14:00
Italy Rome Teatro San
Genesio, via
Podgora 1
9 July, 20:00 Rally and music concert. Contact: Vittorio
Gianini, +39 3357387684; Antonella Napoli,
Kenya Nairobi Sudanese
9 July, 12:00-14:00
Norway Oslo Parliament 9 July, 12:00 Contact: Marit Hernæs,
Spain Madrid
Plaza de Olavide
Plaza de la
9 July, 20:00-22:00
UK London Old Palace Yard,
9 July, 12:00-14:00 Contact: Bayah 07990992511, Sama, 07949
762344 or email
US Washington DC Lafayette Park 8 July, 16:00 Contact: Carly Oboth,, +1 202556 2115
For information on these rallies, including the involvement of Emmanuel Jal, please contact Elizabeth Freund at
Beautiful Day Media on +1 718 522 5858 or or visit
Crisis Action works behind the scenes to enable our partners to respond jointly to crises. Crisis Action should not be
cited in media reports.

Regions: North and Horn of Africa
Type: Advocacy