Straight from Juba


Our Africa Advocacy Coordinator, Rob Rees, writes:

While the street cleaners have been out in force in recent days, cleaning up the town in anticipation of the arrival of hundreds of dignitaries and VIPS for the independence celebrations on July 9th, it is difficult to find anyone here who shows the sense of euphoria that you might expect. “Too Many Agreements Dishonoured” is a famous book by Abel Alier, one of South Sudan’s elder statesmen, describing the sorry history of the region since before independence from the British in 1956 – the title says it all.

Even now, there is a danger that there will be further agreements dishonoured: the border between the two future states has not been fully demarcated and there has been no agreement on how the oil revenues will be shared. North and South are at daggers drawn over the issue of the status of Abyei region.

Nevertheless, friends I have spoken to here are convinced that they are on the right path. We will not get everything right at the beginning, they say, but we need you – our friends in CAFOD and particularly the UK government – to accompany us on the road ahead. We thought that our problems had been solved in 1972, when the first war ended, but we were disappointed. Help us to make sure that history does not repeat itself.

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