Sturt’s Desert Rose

South Sudan FlagAguil de’Chut Deng

Aguil is now in South Sudan helping the new Government of South Sudan. Watch here for further news.

First Step!

Capital Careers “First Step!” course is starting again on the 5 July 2011 and we are seeking participants!

This course is an ideal starting point for refugees and newly arrived migrants to get a taste of the Australian workplace. It is designed to bring participants up-to-date with Australian work practices including office communication technology, common software packages, occupational health and safety and to provide them with an understanding of the community services available to them.

The course has an enrolment fee of $150, however concessions and a payment plan are available upon request — please feel free to talk to us about these options.

A copy of the course flyer is attached [212KB] with further information regarding the dates, class times and content. To enrol, participants need to complete and return the attached training registration and eligibility declaration forms to confirm their place on the program.

We are also happy to meet with clients to discuss the program in further detail before they decide to enrol — please contact us to arrange a meeting time.

Pamela Hilton
Office Manager
Capital Careers Pty Ltd

P: (02) 6253 0682
F: (02) 6253 0685
E: pam.hilton@capitalcareers.com.au
W: www.capitalcareers.com.au

2010 Calendar

January

30 Clebrate signing of Peace Agreement

February

March

8 International Womens Day

21 Harmony Day

April

May

16 SPLM Day

26 Sorry Day

June

20 World Refugee Day

July

30 Martyrs Day

August

18 Veterns Day

September

21 World Peace Day

October

November

December


30 January: Celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Time: 12:30 - 2:30
Venue: Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre
2nd Floor, Function Room
180 London Cct, Civic

See invitation brochure for details.

8 March: International Women’s Day

See International Women’s Day 2009 website.

21 March: Harmony Day

Harmony Day Banner

Harmony Day sound clip

Link to Harmony Day website

16 May: SPLM Day

16 May is the anniversary of the founding of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which led Sudan’s 21-year liberation struggle.

26 May: Sorry Day

National Sorry Day has been held every year in Australia since 1998 to acknowledge the wrongs documented in the report Bringing Them Home.

20 June: World Refugee Day

See UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency website.

30 July: Martyrs Day

Anniversary of the tragic death of the first vice president of the republic of the Sudan, the president of the Government of the South Sudan (GOSS), and the Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), Dr John Garang de Maboir.

18 August: Veterans Day

Veterans Day is in remembrance of the Torit Uprising in 1955.

21 September: World Peace Day

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 21 September of each year as the International Day of Peace.




SAIAG Events

Resized JPEG graphic

Kuol Deng Atem Agang(1978 – 2006) came to Australia as a refugee under the humanitarian program in November 2005.

He was bashed in Auburn in Sydney on Tuesday 1 February 2006 and died in hospital on 5 February 2006.

He left behind his three younger brothers, his young wife and their four small children.

How can you help?

One youth was convicted of manslaughter in relation to Kuol’s death and was sentenced to six years in jail with a four-year non parole period. The appeal was heard in the NSW Supreme Court on 14 December 2007.

Kuol’s wife, Nyannuer Agouk, is looking for support from the Sudanese community and Australian friends. You can:

Make a donation towards the cause.

Order a t-shirt with Kuol’s photo on it.

Volunteer your time – we are establishing a volunteer committee who will coordinate the action and assist in collecting and managing any donations.

If you would like more information about Kuol’s case or how to become involved please contact Aguil de’Chut Deng.

Thanks to Maker Kengok – $100 and Peter Aguer Tor – $50.

top

Media Release

Sudanese are celebrating the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement.

Members of the Sudanese Community of Canberra and NSW are gathering to celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), on 30th January, 2010, at the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, 2nd Floor, Function Room, 180 London Cct, Civic, Canberra.

The CPA Agreement was reached between the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLA/M) and the National Islamic Front (NIF) on 9th January 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya. This ended the longest running war in Africa, a war that left two and a half million dead, five million displaced in their own country, two and half million people displaced around Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan, millions more seeking refuge in the neighbouring countries while thousands more settled in western countries.

The CPA highlighted the separation of religion from state, granted the people of Southern Sudan the right to self determination through a referendum to be held in 2011 and a mid term election to be held in April this year, among other things.

The CPA agreement has reached a critical phase - its achievements and the remaining challenges in the South, the views of political parties from both North and South regarding self determination for the people of the South all need to be reviewed. Other issues that need to be considered include: the Darfur Peace Agreement reached in early May 2007, the SPLM Position on the Darfur Conflict, the SPLM opposition to the ICC ruling on President Basher, and the call for the arrest warrant period to be extended, the fate of the up-coming election in April, border demarcation, the peace keeping force - the Joint Integrated Unit. These and other issues will form the focus for the media briefing.

The role of the international community, WORLD BANK, IMF, AU and the Arab League will also be discussed.

The event will include speeches, from distinguish guests, Sudanese dance will be on display and Sudanese cuisine will be served to mark the historic day.

For further information call Hon Comrade Aguil de’Chut Deng on 040 3362 562.

top

As a participant at the Australia 2020 Summit convened by PM Kevin Rudd, Aguil de’Chut Deng contributed to the Summit Topic Australia’s future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world. The Final Report may now be viewed at this website.

top

See Reportspage from SWRNN website.

top

Fund raising event to support SAIAG.

Where

Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
15 Blackall St
Braddon ACT


Time

6:00PM to 9:30PM


Dinner

Sudanese Food


Cost

$25 (Concession $15)



top

Please click here to see the text of the email sent to all political parties.

Will you say sorry to the Sudanese and other African Australians who were insulted by the comments about alleged crime rates made by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, on 4 October 2007?

Will you increase African refugee intake as a humanitarian response, not an integration matter?

Further comments


Australian Democrats

Yes

Yes

The Australian Democrats’ immigration policy is based on non-discrimination and gives priority to refugees and family reunion. We acknowledge the long-term social, cultural and economic benefits that family and humanitarian migration brings to Australia. Our policies also recognise the benefits that refugees bring to Australia and seek to prevent refugees from being punished simply for seeking protection from persecution.


Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party


Australian Greens


Australian Labor Party (ALP)

Replied personally to Aguil.


Carers Alliance


Cheaper Petrol Party


Citizens Electoral Council of Australia

We in the Citizens Electoral Council welcome further African refugees and oppose the Howard government’s divisive and cruel policies in relation to refugees. We are sorry that the Sudanese community and other African Australians have had to put up with a clearly racist agenda.
I note that the mainstream media, particularly the Murdoch media, has played a disgraceful role in whipping up racial tensions over this issue.


City Country Alliance


Communist Party of Australia


Country Liberal Party - The Territory Party


Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia


Family First Party


Liberal Party of Australia


Liberty and Democracy Party

The LDP has a very liberal policy on immigration, including humanitarian immigration. Details are here: http://www.ldp.org.au/federal/policies/immigration.html
I encourage you to read it and tell others who might be interested.


National Party of Australia


Non-Custodial Parents Party

Your concerns are appreciated and justified.
Our Government is also not even doing the best for the citizens who live here, as well.


Nuclear Disarmament Party of Australia


One Nation

I would not personally say sorry for someone else’s comments even though I disagree with them, that I would say.

 

I would maintain humanitarian refugee immigration regardless of where people come from, race should not be the determining factor. The proviso should be, are the refugees capable of enhancing our society?


People Power


Progressive Labour Party


Reconcile Australia Party


Socialist Alliance


top

The 58th Session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programmer was held in Geneva. For further details please see 2007 Executive Committee Meeting.

Here is the text prepared by 270 International, Regional, National and local NGO’s. A shorten version of this was presented by Aguil de’Chut Deng in Geneva on behalf of all NGOs present.

NGO Statement Agenda Item 5a International Protection

Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentleman,

This statement has been drafted by a number of NGOs. It attempts to reflect the diversity of views within the NGO community.

NGOs remain concerned about the ongoing erosion of the refugee protection regime and remind States of their international obligations under refugee, human rights, and humanitarian law. Particular international protection concerns we address in this statement include: refoulement, detention, refugees’ economic rights, durable solutions, statelessness and, finally, UNHCR Executive Committee (ExCom) Conclusions.

top

Refoulement

As has been noted in several NGO statements to this forum in the recent past, the fundamental principle of non-refoulement has come under increasing threat. States have sought to circumvent their obligations in this regard through a variety of means, including rejection at the frontier, visa requirements, carrier sanctions, interdiction, and arrangements with third countries; the end result being that refugees and others are placed at risk of return to situations where they face persecution or torture and other serious human rights violations.

NGOs are concerned, in particular, at the reliance by some States on diplomatic assurances in order to effect the removal from their territory of refugees, asylum-seekers, and others at risk of torture and ill treatment. We note that States that violate international law and have a record of torture or ill-treatment of individuals under their jurisdiction also systematically deny the fact and take steps to hide it. In another disturbing development, some States are using national security arguments to justify legal challenges to the absolute prohibition of torture under international law.

We have been alarmed in recent months by bilateral discussions between the Governments of Laos and Thailand in relation to groups of Lao Hmong refugees and asylum-seekers currently in closed camps and detention centres in Thailand. Following the forced return of more than one hundred Lao Hmong refugees to Laos earlier in the year, and credible reports of abuse and detention of many of these individuals upon their return, NGOs note that Thailand will be in further breach of its obligations under international law if the bilateral discussions result in more forcible returns. We urge the Government of Thailand not to rely on diplomatic assurances being provided by the Government of Laos and to continue to provide asylum to these individuals until they can find a durable and rights-based solution to their plight.

NGOs also note that the principle of non-refoulement has been ordinarily understood to embrace not only forcible return from within a State’s territory, but also non-admittance at its border. ExCom Conclusion No. 6 (XXVIII) on Non-refoulement from 1977 has reaffirmed that the principle of non-refoulement applies “both at the border and within the territory of a State of persons who may be subject to persecution if returned to their country of origin irrespective of whether or not they have been formally recognized as refugees.”

We have noted, with concern, the forcible removal during 2007 of individuals, including from Sudan and Eritrea, from the territory of Israel at the border with Egypt. According to reports, these individuals were not allowed to access fair and satisfactory asylum procedures in Israel prior to their removal. This summary expulsion of asylum-seekers appears to contravene Israel’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention. Reports have also indicated that asylum-seekers and other migrants attempting to cross the border have been subjected to inhumane treatment by Egyptian security personnel, and that border guards have killed more than one individual. We are further concerned that the government of Sudan has, in the past, punished and/or executed its own nationals solely for having entered Israel, and that Sudanese migrants within Israel may, therefore, have a sur place refugee claim. We call on the government of Sudan to desist from this persecutory practice and on the Government of Israel to provide appropriate international protection to such individuals, particularly protection against refoulement.

We remind Member and observer States of ExCom that the principle of non-refoulement is a norm of customary international law from which any departure is prohibited. This fact is of fundamental importance in the context of mixed population flows. States should make all efforts to promptly identify those in need of international protection and ensure their access to fair and satisfactory asylum procedures. In no circumstance should any individual be returned to a situation of human rights abuse, regardless of his or her legal status in the host country. We look forward to discussing these and other issues in more depth at the forthcoming High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges. In this context, we urge that the agenda for this Dialogue provide sufficient space for interactive and meaningful debate and that NGOs are able to participate fully, in recognition of the unique perspectives that we can bring to such a debate.

top

Detention

The issue of detention is also one of increasing concern to NGOs. In many regions of the world, asylum-seekers and refugees are subject to prolonged, often indefinite, and arbitrary detention. Many States use detention as a regular facet of their asylum and migration policies. Aside from its lawful purpose, States appear to use detention to penalise asylum-seekers for entering their territory in an irregular manner, and/or to act as a deterrent to the arrival of more asylum-seekers.

Such use of detention contravenes the spirit and, often, also the letter of the international system of refugee protection. It also contravenes UNHCR’s Guidelines on Detention, which state, explicitly, that the detention of asylum-seekers is “inherently undesirable”.

In some States, including in States where detention is routinely used as an element of asylum policy, NGOs remain concerned about inadequate procedural safeguards in relation to detention and also about the conditions in which refugees and asylum-seekers are detained. Too often, the detention of refugees and asylum-seekers is not subject to periodic review by a court and in some circumstances asylum-seekers are detained alongside convicted criminals. Detention is also used by States to provide a less than satisfactory “solution” to the situation of rejected asylum-seekers who are in a legal limbo, as they cannot be returned to their place of habitual residence or country of origin.

We are particularly concerned in cases where asylum-seeking and refugee children are detained. We urge all States to recognise in their policies and practice that the detention of children is undesirable and detrimental to their physical and mental well-being. We, therefore, call upon States to refrain from detaining children and, in all cases, to consider the necessity and appropriateness of the detention of children, including, primarily, whether it is in the best interests of the child and proportionate to the objective to be achieved. There should be a statutory prohibition on the detention of unaccompanied and separated children and appropriate accommodation created where none exists.

In this context, we bring to the notice of the ExCom, the situation of 149 recognised Lao Hmong refugees, of which 82 are children, who continue to be detained in appalling conditions at Nong Khai detention centre in Thailand. Reports have indicated that these refugees are confined to two hot, windowless, and overcrowded cells, which they are not allowed to leave. They have no access to clean drinking water, have not been allowed to wash their clothes adequately, and have had their mosquito netting and blankets removed. UNHCR has described the conditions as “deplorable” and “inhumane”.

We welcome the inclusion of a reference to children in detention within this year’s Conclusion on Children at Risk. We are also particularly concerned to ensure that all refugee and asylum-seeking children are able to enjoy access to the right to education, and note in this respect the importance of ensuring that these children have access to a safe school environment and to good quality education.

top

Economic Rights

The Agenda for Protection (Goal 5, Objective 7), emphasises the need to integrate strategies for self-reliance and empowerment from the outset of refugee operations, with UNHCR as a catalyst to mobilise financial and technical support for such measures. NGOs remind all relevant actors, however, that while the achievement of self-reliance can be a key element of protection, it should not be seen or used as a substitute for a durable solution. In addition, NGOs note that all refugees are entitled to respect for, and protection of, their human rights, by virtue of their humanity, which includes the rights to work, freedom of movement, and to an adequate standard of living, regardless of whether these are being provided in the context of a self-reliance strategy or a durable solution.

Nearly 8 million refugees do not enjoy their rights under the Refugee Convention to work, to practice professions, to engage in enterprises, to own property, or to move freely. In many countries around the world, asylum-seekers are denied employment and forced to live in severely inadequate housing while they wait for a final assessment of their claim.

In some countries, NGOs report a deliberate policy of destitution to force rejected asylum-seekers to leave the territory of the host State. Such individuals are homeless, unable to work, to access healthcare and/or other essential services. Rejected asylum-seekers in many countries in Europe live in conditions of extreme poverty. Many are unable to return to their countries of origin for reasons beyond their control. In 2004, a parliamentary committee in the United Kingdom noted that “where the removal of a failed asylum-seeker is delayed through no fault of their own, it is morally unacceptable for him to be rendered destitute.” In addition, Iraqi families are reported to be leaving Egypt and returning to Iraq, despite great dangers, in a form of constructive refoulement because of destitution in Egypt, particularly by being denied the right to work.

Rather than disempower asylum-seekers and refugees by rendering them destitute or detaining them, States should allow them to work and study in order to facilitate their local integration or return once their status has been determined.

top

Resettlement and Durable Solutions

NGOs consider that the identification of durable solutions should respect, as far as possible, the intentions and voluntary choice of the individual refugee, including determination of the best interests of the child. Ensuring the right to participation, which is an essential element of the human rights framework, is crucial to enabling refugees to identify rights-respecting solutions to their plight.

We welcome recent offers to resettle a large portion of the 108,000 Bhutanese refugees who have now spent nearly 20 years in camps in Nepal, but are concerned that the combined effect of a strong push for resettlement and the absence of strong and sustained pressure on Bhutan to accept repatriation of the refugees undermines the refugees’ right to a free, voluntary, and informed choice. We caution that all durable solutions offered to this group, including resettlement, must be based on a free, voluntary, and informed choice and should never be premised on coercion, directly or indirectly. We urge UNHCR and resettlement countries to ensure that the choice of resettlement is voluntary and does not in any way extinguish the right to return to Bhutan. In addition, continued discrimination against remaining Lhotsampas and other minorities inside Bhutan risks exacerbating existing tensions and provoking renewed displacement.

While we welcome the resettlement opportunities currently available to refugees from Burma on the Thai-Burma border, we note with concern the impact of the resettlement process on those who remain in camps. Camps are being stripped of refugees who have run community based organisations, worked as teachers, and paramedics. This is despite undertakings from countries of resettlement that the most vulnerable refugees will be given priority. Resettlement should not just be offered to those individuals who demonstrate “integration potential”. Some refugees from Burma do not wish to be resettled, but given declining conditions in camps feel they have no alternative. Not all refugees will be resettled. It is of critical importance that UNHCR and States ensure that the continuing protection of refugees in camps is not eroded by the resettlement process.

We welcome efforts to expand the use of resettlement as a durable solution. However, we note that this is a solution that will, of necessity, be available to a minority of the world’s refugees and also note, with concern, that far too many refugees in protracted situations are unable to access any durable solutions at all. The ability of many refugees to access the resettlement solution is also hampered by delays in processing, UNHCR’s actual capacity to make referrals, and onerous criteria related to security concerns. In light of the important role played by resettlement in providing durable solutions for refugees, we welcome indications from some States, particularly in Europe, that they wish to start resettlement programmes and urge these to be initiated without delay. We express concern however, on the adoption, by some States, of integration criteria, instead of focusing on those in greatest need of protection. We also express concern about HIV status being used as a barrier to resettlement.

Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) constitute the largest and longest-standing unresolved caseload of refugees and displaced persons in the world today. NGOs urge the international community to increase efforts to find voluntary durable solutions to their plight. The estimated 15,000 Palestinian refugees still in Iraq and the hundreds stranded in camps at its borders are particularly vulnerable and in urgent need of evacuation, and at least temporary protection, and access to durable solutions, including local integration, resettlement, and voluntary repatriation.

Given the current numbers accepted by States, we are concerned that only a small percentage of the Iraqi refugee population will be referred for resettlement. We, therefore, urge States with resettlement programs to increase the numbers of places available for refugees from Iraq and to expedite their resettlement processing in view of the urgency that exists. Moreover, w e encourage States that have already resettled Iraqi populations to utilise existing family reunification provisions or otherwise make efforts to ensure that family members are speedily reunited and resettled. Efforts must also be urgently made to provide protection to thousands of highly vulnerable Palestinian refugees in Iraq, stranded at Iraq’s borders with neighbouring countries, as well as those in Egypt who have been refused residency. We urge States to make concrete offers of resettlement on their behalf at least as a temporary humanitarian and protection measure pending a durable solution to their plight.

top

Statelessness

NGOs welcome the visible commitment and concrete actions undertaken by UN actors and others to prevent, identify, and reduce statelessness and to protect stateless persons. The need remains, however, to increase capacity to respond to the needs of de jure and de facto stateless individuals, and to strengthen and expand protection and assistance activities, particularly in field operations, to better respond to the wide range of protection and assistance needs of stateless individuals. A substantial and timely addition to the number of dedicated protection officers at the field level, as well as additional professional staff in the statelessness unit at UNHCR headquarters, is essential. Populations of particular concern reside in Bangladesh Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and Syria, to name a few.

NGOs encourage increased efforts to ensure that domestic nationality laws provide for the equal right of women to pass on nationality to their children. Statelessness can increase the vulnerability of children and we, therefore, urge UNHCR to increase its activities to prevent and reduce statelessness in infants, children, and youth.

To facilitate the exchange of practical information between UNHCR field-level protection staff and partner agencies and to identify concrete actions that UNHCR and NGOs can undertake in a coordinated manner to implement the agency’s statelessness mandate, we propose the protection of stateless persons as one topic for the forthcoming UNHCR/NGO Protection Retreat, currently scheduled for March 2008.

NGOs urge UNHCR to carry out a comprehensive and annual study of the scope of de jure and de facto statelessness worldwide, including identifying the causes of statelessness and disseminating best practices to achieve remedies to the plight of stateless individuals. In addition, we encourage UNCHR and Member States to implement the provisions of Conclusion No. 106 on ldentification, Prevention and Reduction of Statelessness and Protection of Stateless Persons from 2006.

We note also that in addition to statelessness, there are several other issues of concern that require UNHCR guidance, and we urge UNHCR to finalise guidelines on these issues without delay. These include the nexus between trafficking and refugee situations, refugee status determination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers living with HIV/AIDS.

top

ExCom Conclusions

The ExCom is, in essential part, a forum intended to provide tools for UNHCR, States, and partners including NGOs to implement protection. ExCom Conclusions are a valuable tool in this regard, and have in the past provided authoritative guidance on specific aspects of protection, ranging from durable solutions to the protection of specific groups. In particular, in recent years since the Global Consultations, Conclusions have helped elucidate various items of the Agenda for Protection. Yet we note that Conclusions cannot alter the fundamental and core obligations found in the 1951 Refugee Convention and human rights and humanitarian law; obligations that remain binding on States. Nevertheless, NGOs have used, and continue to use, Conclusions to further their advocacy and operations on behalf of refugees, asylum-seekers, IDPs, and stateless populations. We urge ExCom to consider issuing a Conclusion in 2008 that addresses implementation of the rights associated with self-reliance and related principles of equitable international burden and responsibility sharing.

NGOs have welcomed the opportunity over the last years to formally lend their expertise and experience to the Conclusions drafting process, and look forward to enhanced participation. We would be pleased to contribute to any evaluation undertaken by UNHCR on the effectiveness of Conclusions. In our opinion, the Conclusions with the least protection value are those that merely re-state language from previous Conclusions or, worse, attempt to dilute or circumvent obligations under international law and standards. The most effective Conclusions are those that bring clarity and greater definition to protection issues articulated within the Refugee Convention, and provide guidance on concrete action that furthers protection objectives. The Conclusion on Women and Girls at Risk No. I05 from 2006 is a good example of such guidance. NGOs commend UNCHR for the positive steps already taken to implement this Conclusion and call on States to provide the necessary resources for this process to continue. Conclusions have important practical application for States, UNHCR, and NGOs and we encourage all Member States to ensure that all Conclusions are negotiated with a view to enhancing protection, rather than merely furthering the interests of States.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

top

SAIAG held a Press Conference to mark the 2nd commemoration anniversary of the tragic death of the first vice president of the republic of the Sudan, the president of the Government of the South Sudan (GOSS), and the Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), Dr John Garang de Maboir. The event was held at Civic Square, opposite the ACT Legislative Assembly in Canberra, Australia with supporters and sympathisers of Dr John’s leadership and vision. As they held each other hands, they started with prayers led by evangelist Daniel Dout Deng. He prayed for Dr John’s soul to rest in peace. He also prayed that Dr John’s vision be pursued calling for all Sudanese to be treated equally before the law and he asked GOD to give our leaders of the Southern Sudan the wisdom so they can lead all Sudanese to achieve our dream of being free from oppression. Daniel Dout Deng called upon our people around the world to support the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) so that people in Sudan can have a better quality of life.

Aguil de’Chut Deng started the proceedings by praising the SPLA/M for their courage, conviction and commitment to the movement proclaiming “Long live the soul of Dr John Garang” and “Long live the vision of SPLA/M”. She read the speech of Dr John Garang de Maboir which he read on the day of the signing of the CPA on 9 January 2005 at the Nyao stadium, Nairobi, Kenya. The speech outlines the root causes of the problem in Sudan and the road map to a New Sudan that will make Sudan a better place for all Sudanese citizens. This peace does not belong to him (Dr John), the SPLA/M leadership, President el Basher nor the National Congress Party (NCP). This peace belongs to each and every Sudanese person. Read it, understand it and own it, Dr John had said.

Aguil then gave a briefing about the current situation in Sudan. She thanked the SPLA/M leadership in Juba and acknowledged the hard work the GOSS is doing not only in bringing the CPA to each and every Sudanese mind to think about, eye to see, or ear to hear, but also bringing to their bodies to feel, to their hearts to love, and to their homes to experience the fruits of the struggle which brought the CPA. Without each and every individual’s involvement in the process of implementing the CPA, GOSS’s achievement would be limited by their scarce resources: the lack of donor commitment and the national government’s reduction in monthly oil revenues. This reduction is intended to sustain critics’ opposition to GOSS and to create more wounds to divide the SPLA/M Leadership and GOSS so people would blame them for their poor management. This has resulted in the continuing deterioration of southern Sudanese lives in every way. Our full attention and involvement is needed in one way or the other to save the CPA.

The difficulties faced by GOSS in Juba hindering the realisation of the CPA were outlined by Aguil de’Chut Deng. Hurdles include, but are not limited to, the up coming midterm election in 2008 or 2009 and the preparation for the referendum in 2011. Aguil spoke about the Abyie Border Commission Report, the upcoming census, border demarking, and the appointment of a new Kenyan envoy to Sudan. This appointment was requested by the SPLA/M leadership when they identified the fact that so many articles of CPA had been breached by the NCP. The leadership appealed to the Kenyan President on the grounds that Kenya was the midwife of the CPA and, as such, they needed Kenya to nurture the two parties back on track and to honour their commitment to the CPA. The response from President Moi Kibaki was positive. He immediately appointed former president Daniel Arop Moui to the position. It is a window of hope which is highly appreciated by GOSS in Juba. The new envoy will fly to Khartoum soon to remind both parties of their obligations to fully implement the CPA. The stability is not only for the sake of the Sudanese people but for the region and beyond.

An active role is needed from each and every South Sudanese individual to help in the implementation of the CPA, addressing:

The military build-up of the Sudan Air Force (SAF) in the Western Upper Nile and the North Bel Gazel as stipulated in the United Nations Mission In Sudan (UNMIS) quarterly report;

The refusal of the NCP to implement the Abyie Border Commission Report to set up an administration body in the Abyie area;

The immigration of Arab tribes from all over Africa to Abyie with help from the national government;

The decrease in oil revenues each month;

The refusal of the NCP to hand over militia that created chaos in Malaka in November 2006 and were given safe haven in Khartoum; and

The national women conference.

While speakers were talking, songs of the struggle were being sung with some members shedding tears during the procedures.

One of the speakers said of the death of Dr John that she believed GOD had a hand in it, because if Dr John was alive today more confusion would have talking place simply as a result of positions in the government. People will say positions were given because of tribal loyalties, etc. She thinks Dr John’s sudden death has united the country, especially Southern Sudanese people. The trouble, nonetheless, is that the gifts that Dr John Garang had no one else have. As a result, the country is going through a transformation that will lead not only to appreciating what Dr John lived and died for, but also to learning lessons to keep the struggle strong and to dedicate their efforts to bring better lives and conditions to Southern Sudanese People.

Speakers were Lucia Costa, Akuol Bul Ayual, Thon Alier, Yom Bol, Ayiik Garang and Evangelist Daniel Duot Deng. It was marked as a good way to remember our leaders. Some visitors asked questions on the street about what the Sudanese were doing now.

After the closing prayer, refreshment followed. It was sad because Dr John had gone so soon but happy because his vision is living on. Each speaker thanked the organisers for their commitment to keep the SPLA/M leadership and vision well and alive.

top

This workshop was run by Manning Clark House in Canberra. Aguil de’Chut Deng was one of the guest speakers.

top

Harmony Day is part of a joint project between the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria, the African Think Tank and the Institute for Social Research of Swinburne University. Speakers on this day talked about our Australian democracy to Sudanese immigrants.

top

See Reports page from SWRNN website.

top

This Rally was held in Civic Square, Canberra.

top

Aguil de’Chut Deng demonstrated the daily back-breaking work by Sudanese women to get flour by pounding grain. This was in front of Parliament House in Canberra on Sudan Day.

Various speakers touched on the real desperation, the difficulty of getting international aid to the actual people in need and the virtual genocide in Southern Sudan.

top