To whom it may concern: South Sudan may not be ready for elections, yet democracy cannot waitPosted: 25 July, 2022 Filed under: Joseph Geng Akech | Tags: African expert, challenges, democracy, democratic future, Election Commission, election readiness, elections, Humanitarian relief, International Institute for Democracy and Elections Assistance, legislation, permanence of transitions, political transition, public perceptions, Revitalised Peace Agreement, security stabilisation, South Sudan, Transitional Period, United Nations Mission in South Sudan, unprepared 2 Comments
Author: Joseph Geng Akech
Assistant Professor of Law, University of Juba, and independent researcher in human rights & constitutional designs
Early this year, Yach Garang, political science PhD student at the University of Juba authored a blog piece asking ‘will South Sudan be ready for its first democratic elections come 2023?’ According to him, certain benchmarks are critical for South Sudan’s democratic election readiness. These include security stabilisation, enactment of electoral laws, adoption of a new constitution and conduct of population census. While I agree with his ‘benchmarks’, I contend that South Sudan may not be ready for elections, but it is imperative to note that democracy cannot wait for a perfect environment.
This piece, therefore, is addressing those to whom the democratic future of the country remains a priority.
What type of federalism should South Sudan adopt and why?Posted: 12 January, 2022 Filed under: Joseph Geng Akech | Tags: Administrative Areas, constitution, constitution building process, ethnic federalism, federalism, governance, governance framework, International IDEA, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Ministry of Federal Affairs of the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity, Republic of South Sudan, Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity, RTGoNU, South Sudan, territorial federalism 1 Comment
Author: Joseph Geng Akech
South Sudanese human rights lawyer and PhD candidate, University of Pretoria, South Africa
This article spotlights existing debates under the on-going constitutional design process on the type of federalism South Sudan should adopt. It is a debate with varying and potentially divisive perspectives. Dominant proposals in these debates are territorial and ethnic federalism. I join this debate with an open mind, and I therefore try to refrain from taking sides. This article thus tries to bring to fore, the underlying arguments in both perspectives and makes three recommendations to break the impasse. The first option is to conduct a referendum for the public to decide while the second calls for a scientific comparative study on performances of both territorial and ethnic federalism. The third calls for open and transparent public debates on the type of federalism South Sudan should adopt.
Respecting the rights of urban refugees in East Africa through a human rights approach to urbanisationPosted: 7 September, 2015 Filed under: Gertrude Mafoa Quan, Michael Addaney | Tags: 1951 Convention, assault, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), discrimination, East Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia, hostility, human rights, Kenya, nited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, poverty, Refugee Consortium of Kenya, refugees, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, sustainable development, Tanzania, Uganda, UN Habit, UNHCR, United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, urban development, urban refugees, urbanisation 3 Comments
Author: Michael Addaney
Student (MPhil Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa), Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria
Author: Gertrude Mafoa Quan
Candidate Attorney; LLM (Multidisciplinary Human Rights) student at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
The city is the new refugee camp…
~ International Rescue Committee
Article 1 of the 1951 United Nations (UN) Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951 Convention) defines refugee as ‘a person who is outside his or her country of nationality or habitual residence due to a well-founded fear of persecution base on race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion and is unable or unwilling to avail him or herself of the protection of that country or to return there for fear of persecution’. Due to contextual issues, article 1 of the 1969 Organisation for African Unity’s Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (1969 OAU Convention) added a second paragraph to the 1951 Convention to incorporate people that have been displaced due to liberation wars and internal upheavals.
Meanwhile, there is no internationally recognised definition for urban refugees. However, the Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) defines an urban refugee as a refugee who satisfies the international requirements for obtaining a refugee status and has self-settled in a city or town. Recent decades have experienced rapid population growth with most cities witnessing urban sprawl. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported in 2009 that an estimated 58 percent of the world’s 10.5 million refugees now reside in cities.
Despite it being mostly rural region, UN Habit has projected that Sub-Saharan Africa and for that matter countries in Eastern Africa will have more than half of its population residing in urban areas by 2026. Characteristically, there has been increasing flow of refugees to urban areas in this region too. According to official UNHCR 2015 statistics, four Eastern African countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia) host more than 1.5 million refugees. These refugees are mostly from 9 countries (Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo).
South Sudan, uti possidetis rule and the future of statehood in AfricaPosted: 26 April, 2012 Filed under: Babatunde Fagbayibo | Tags: colonial borders, Organisation of African Unity, South Sudan, Statehood in Africa, Uti Possidetis 9 Comments
Author: Dr Babatunde Fagbayibo
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public, Constitutional and International law at the University of South Africa
The emergence of South Sudan has once again brought sharp focus on inherited colonial boundaries and the quest for redrawing them.The process that led to the independence of South Sudan,including the immense challenges it is currently facing in building a new state, has raised questions on whether new states will emerge and the viability of such entities. As an expedient politico-legal move, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1964 adopted the principle of uti possidetis (Latin for “as you possess, so you may possess”). Primarily aimed at maintaining the sanctity of colonial boundaries, the adoption of this principle was underlined by two interrelated motives. The first was to prevent violent conflicts between African nations over disputed territories and the second was to stem the tide of secessionist movements within national boundaries. The independence of Eritrea in 1993, South Sudan in 2011 and a number of dormant and active secessionist movements across the continent strongly indicate the problematic nature of colonial boundaries and the structure of statehood in post-colonial Africa. Since the 1960s, there have been secessionist movements in places like Nigeria (Biafra), Congo (Katanga), Angola (Cabinda), Senegal (Casmance), Mali (Azawad), Somalia (Somaliland), Ethiopia (Ogaden, Eriterea and Oromo), Sudan (South Sudan), Zambia (Barotse), Tanzania (Zanzibar), and Coromos (Anjouan) – see www.sscnet.uncla.edu/polisci/wgape/papers/4_Engelbert.doc.