South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission reviews its ActJun 1, 2016
The South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission (SSPRC) held a two days internal review workshop with the aim of enlisting ideas and recommendations on whether the content of its current Act is commensurate with the need for a more robust, dynamic and independent Peace Commission. The reflection is also in response to calls by the peace agreement for the reform and reconstitution of the Peace Commission.
The meeting that took place on the 26th and 27th of May, brought together representatives from government, UNMISS, CSOs, research institutions, development partners and youth and women groups, who shared their perspective on how to reposition SSPRC as the leading national institution to promote and coordinate efforts on peacebuilding.
During the opening remarks, Presidential Advisor for Education, Hon. John Gai Yoh, pointed out the need for improvement of the SSPRC Act to allow the Commission to support the unfolding peace process in the country.
“This Commission is a mechanism for the transition. We cannot agree in a political level and not reform the Commission to act as a partner and agent of peace. The challenge is translate the aspiration and expectation of the Commission into the law” he expressed.
The participants used an analysis of the experience of other African countries, which have went through similar process in the past, to define the gaps that need to be filled out in the process of reconstituting the SSPRC Act.
UNDP supports the SSPRC through its Community Security & Arms Control Project, which objective is to promote social cohesion, national integration and reconciliation, and respect for human rights.
“We will assist you in the role that you all have taken, we are here to help you to achieve what you want to achieve,” declared UNDP representative, Andrew Shuruma.
Some of the questions addressed at the event were: has the Commission been given the right and appropriate responsibilities? Is the Commission properly mandated and empowered? Considering the contextual realities how should the Commission be governed? What should be the eligibility criteria of the Commissioners to ensure credibility and integrity? Who should the Commission be accountable and responsible to? How can the operational and political independence of the Commission be maintained?
The emerging consensus from the reflection is that, in light of the evolving peacebuilding challenge there need to review the act establishing the Commission in order to make the Commission fit for purpose. Reconstituting the Commission is an endeavour that must reflect the quality of the peace the Commission wants for South Sudan.
Going forward, UNDP will help the peace commission to further consult and initiate the legislation making process.