Cape Town Launch

Posted on September 13, 2011. Filed under: Events, Gender, Publications, Sudan |

All you Cape Townians!

If you plan to do anything this week, come to the launch of the IJR’s latest book, ‘Hope, Pain & Patience – The Lives of Women in South Sudan‘. Edited by Friederike Bubenzer and Orly Stern, this is among the first volumes released that focuses on gender since South Sudan became independent in early July.

The event will include readings from both editors, and plenty of time for Q&A!

Event details:

14 September 2011, 17:30-19:30

The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland Street, Cape Town

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Images from South Sudan

Posted on August 1, 2011. Filed under: Sudan |

Heard a lot about Africa’s newest country, South Sudan, in the media lately? Wondering what it looks like? Have a look at this amazing photographic essay by Tim McKulka for Foreign Policy entitled From Khartoum to Juba: Images of Sudan and its people on the eve of the country’s division. Very compelling images!

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South Sudan: New film from UN Women

Posted on July 13, 2011. Filed under: Gender, Sudan |

I just came across this really interesting new film from UN Women on ‘A Considerable Difference: Women and Representation in Southern Sudan’ – the footage is amazing, and it should get you thinking about gender, conflict and transition, particularly as you look forward to the new IJR Book edited by Friederike Bubenzer and Orly Stern, due out in the next few months!

This is the short description from UN Women:

‘After more than 20 years of civil war and a long struggle for independence, South Sudan officially became Africa’s 54th nation on 9 July 2011. In the making of the nation, women played a significant role in achieving independence—making their voices heard, particularly in the political arena.’

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South Sudan becomes Independent

Posted on July 8, 2011. Filed under: Sudan |

Friederike Bubenzer

Tomorrow marks a very important day for the African continent as South Sudan finally becomes an independent state and Africa’s youngest country. The 9th of July will be a great day in African history, and in the global pursuit of peace and democracy.

Many Sudanese, young and old, have been dreaming about this day for most of their lives. I have looked into many faces during my travels through South Sudan – young and old. I have heard the stories of horror and loss, of pain and suffering, of hunger and thirst yet ultimately of hope that freedom is attainable. The day will certainly be a joyous one in the capital city of Juba, but also in the many small and remote towns and villages. Many will also be saddened by the memories of those countless brave men, women and children whose lives were sacrificed in the South’s long battle for freedom.

South Africa has played an important role in South Sudan’s pursuit of peace, primarily through former President Thabo Mbeki’s mediation as part of the AU’s High Level Implementation Panel on Sudan. Despite some criticism of the panel’s achievements and impact, Mbeki has been working with policy-makers and community leaders across Sudan until very recently, to set up peace agreements in politically unstable areas.

The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) has also arrived in Juba to assist with security measures and to stand guard as the celebrations kick off tomorrow.

This important transition will be well worth observing through broadcast and online coverage. And if you have ever wondered what it takes to set up a nation, take a look at this interesting article, which explains the difficult processes of agreeing on a national anthem (listen/watch), currency, flag and constitution, admission to the United Nations, and the complexity of finding an internet domain when your country acronym is ‘SS’.

The IJR will soon be releasing a forthcoming book titled Pain, Hope and Patience: The Lives of Women in South Sudan – an edited collection of new research and analysis by a selection of Sudanese and non-Sudanese authors outlining the experiences and contributions of women to South Sudan’s path to freedom. It is the first of its kind. By telling the stories of many brave women, the book highlights some of the tremendous challenges related to gender  in South Sudan today. These are, amongst others: a lack of access to education for women, the prevalence of highly patriarchal traditions and customs, partially as enshrined in patriarchal customary law framework, and poor health care services, resulting in the highest maternal mortality rate in the world.  It is our hope that the book will contribute meaningfully to the creation of a policy framework that is in line with the new country’s bill of rights.

Beyond this, IJR will continue its work with community leaders and policy makers to assist the new state in pursuing post-independence peace and reconciliation.

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Seminar on Sudan in Pretoria

Posted on May 24, 2011. Filed under: Events, Sudan |

Good news for readers in Gauteng – the IJR will be co-hosting a seminar with the Institute for Security Studies on Justice and Reconciliation in Sudan after the Referendum on Southern Independence, on Thursday, 2 June 2011.


John Yoh, South Sudan Liaison Office in South Africa

Tim Murithi, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation

Boitshoko Mokgatlhe, African Union Liaison Office in Sudan

Time: Registration begins at 8h00, and the programme is from 8h30 -10h45.

Venue: ISS Conference Room, Block C Brooklyn Court, 361 Veale St, New Muckleneuk

RSVP: Monique de Graaff (012) 346-9500.

The discussion with be chaired by Anton du Plessis, Head of the International Crime in Africa programme at the ISS. For more information and full contact details, click here.

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Mbeki still active in Sudan

Posted on February 22, 2011. Filed under: Sudan |

Over the weekend, the Sunday Times reported that the office of President Zuma is attempting to “clip the wings of his globe-trotting predecessor Thabo Mbeki, complaining that his travels to war-torn Sudan are expensive and ‘unsustainable.'”

Mbeki has been leading an African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) established to oversee elections and the recent referendum in Sudan, in which Southern Sudanese voted to establish an independent state. The Sunday Times article reports that Mbeki’s travels between April 2009 and October 2010 have cost South African taxpayers R20.5-million.

Government, however, quickly responded to these claims in a statement released by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) on Monday. DIRCO notes that Mbeki was initially appointed, alongside a number of other eminent experts and leaders, to “undertake an in-depth study of the situation in Darfur and submit recommendations on how best to effectively and comprehensively address the conflict in this region of Sudan.”

Subsequently, DIRCO adds, in June of 2010,

“the partners to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) agreed that the negotiations over the outstanding post-referendum issues should be facilitated by the AUHIP, led by former President Mbeki and supported by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Whilst the January 2011 referendum on self-determination of Southern Sudan was held peacefully and resulted overwhelmingly in favour of the secession of South Sudan, the post-referendum issues have yet to be agreed upon by the parties to the CPA.”

According to the Department, Mbeki’s mandate and work therefore has not yet concluded, but will be reviewed by the AU following South Sudan’s declaration of independence, which is expected to take place in early July.

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SA government congratulates South Sudan on referendum

Posted on January 19, 2011. Filed under: Sudan |

Earlier today, alongside other governments and international organisations, the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation issued a statement congratulating the people of South Sudan on the conclusion of the recent referendum.

In the statement, the Department also states that,

‘South Africa would like to commend both President Al-Bashir and First Vice President Salva Kiir on the personal leadership and courage they have shown in facilitating a conducive and peaceful environment for citizens to participate freely and without fear in casting their ballots.’

The Department also acknowledges preliminary, and largely positive reports by a number of observer missions. These include those representing the European Union and African Union, the Carter Centre, the Arab League and observers from East Africa, which ‘all concurred that the vote was largely peaceful and credible.’

Click here to read the full statement.

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Sudan referendum

Posted on January 17, 2011. Filed under: Sudan |

We at the IJR have been watching closely as voting in the Sudanese referendum has taken place over the last week – reports from Sunday and this morning suggest that, as vote-counting proceeds, the secession of South Sudan seems a likely outcome. Indications also suggest that, despite sporadic incidents of conflict in the Abyei border region in particular, the mood in the South of the country has been one of excitement and anticipation.

Read more about the progress in vote-counting here –

Count under way in South Sudan’s referendum AFP/Mail & Guardian online

Incoming referendum results show massive vote for South Sudan secession Sudan Tribune

Also, to read more from the IJR in the lead-up to the referendum, have a look at a recent SA Reconciliation Barometer newsletter article here by Friederike Bubenzer of the Transitional Justice in Africa programme.

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