South Sudan and the Collective Pain of Watching a Peace Agreement Struggle for its Life

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For the past several weeks, there have been rising voices of both optimism and frustration, as reports of progress in the implementation of the so-called Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) continued to highlight violations, fresh military attacks, delays in executing ceasefire and security mechanisms and irregularities in the use of funds allotted to this process. This Weekly Review is a commentary on these mounting frustrations, some of which have begun to remind South Sudanese of the ways in which past peace agreements failed to achieve peace and end the war. It also highlights areas of hope, that the agreement also stands a chance of enduring, if the right steps are taken and the current missteps are quickly rectified. The review is based on a number of unstructured interviews with South Sudanese in the military, civil society, ordinary rural and urban people, and with individuals involved in the peace process, including party representatives, foreign diplomats, and humanitarian aid workers in Wau, Gogrial, and Juba. It is also based on a close reading of the debates that take place among South Sudanese online.

Jok Madut Jok

Executive director at Sudd Institute
Jok Madut Jok is cofounder of the Sudd Institute. Born and raised in Sudan, Jok studied in Egypt and the United States. He is trained in the anthropology of health and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Jok recently joined the Government of South Sudan as undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. He was a J. Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute. He is a Professor in the Department of History at Loyola Marymount University in California, from which he is on an extended leave. He has also worked in aid and development, first as a humanitarian aid worker and has been a consultant for a number of aid agencies. He is the author of three books and numerous articles covering gender, sexuality and reproductive health, humanitarian aid, ethnography of political violence, gender-based violence, war and slavery, and the politics of identity in Sudan. His book Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence, was published in 2007. Jok is co-editor of The Sudan Handbook, 2010.

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