The Final communiqué
of The Ruweng Community Conference in Pariang Town
On the theme:
“Uniting Our Ranks from the Bottom Up: A Search for Social, Political and Economic Transformation in Ruweng ”
Date: January 16 to January 19
Venue: Red Cross Compound, Parieng Town, Ruweng Administrative Area,
The Republic of South Sudan
We, the Ruweng people,
Represented by delegates from various walks of life, ranging from political and military leaders to youth, women, chiefs, elders, and senior government officials, both at the levels of the National Government, the Government of Ruweng Administrative Area (GRAA) and local government,
Having convened this historic Conference on our own soil from January 16 to January 19, 2023, under the auspices of the Chief Administrator of RAA, H.E. Stephano Wieu de Mialek,
Acknowledging and adopting in their entirety the resolutions of the Ruweng Community Dialogue held in Juba from November 16 to November 19, 2022,
alarmed by the level of adverse material conditions our people are in as well as trusting in our ability to forge a unity of purpose among our ranks and file in order to address and ameliorate these adverse conditions,
Aware of the level of underdevelopment our region is in and the enduring inadequate support from, or being underserved by, development partners and the international community,
Reminding ourselves that it is our collective responsibility to forge a better and stronger community for ourselves and the posterity, by embarking on prudent management of our local resources and using them to improve the quality of healthcare, education, roads and agriculture production in RAA,
frighted by the unprecedented levels of birth defects in our children and animals due to the searing effects of environmental pollution that arises from improper disposal of chemical wastes used in oil production,
concerned about the exponential disappearance of our forests and other adverse environmental conditions relating to climate change in addition to the illegal cutting of trees by our own population and by displaced persons residing in Ajwoonthog/Ajuoongthok, Pamiir and Yingda (Yida),
Desirous of a vision of making RAA a model of perfection of good governance in the Republic of South Sudan and beyond,
Cognizant that RAA is underrepresented in the National Government, especially in the civil service, foreign service, organized forces and other national institutions- whether ad hoc or otherwise,
Keen on living in peace and harmony with our neighbors from Abyei Administrative Area to Warrab State, to Unity State, to Jonglei State, to Upper Nile State and to Sudan,
Believing in our ability to radically transform RAA socially, economically, and politically with the view to achieving the vision of The Ruweng We Want,
Indebted to H.E., the President of the Republic, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardid, for his unwavering historical support to the Ruweng people,
Grateful to the Chief Administrator, H.E. Stefano Wieu de Mialek, for his zealous initiative to unite the Ruweng people, starting with the 2022 Ruweng Community Dialogue in Juba followed by this historic Conference, as well as his commitment to the social, political, and economic transformation of RAA,
Committed to the full and unflinching implementation of all the resolutions of the 2022 Ruweng Community Dialogue in Juba and, more importantly, the resolutions of this historic Ruweng Community Conference,
do hereby adopt the following resolutions:
I. On Peace and Security
1. The Chief Administrator, in collaboration with the National Government, should speed up the establishment of the structures of the administration of justice to reduce the case backlog, the level of crimes and enhance criminal accountability in RAA,
2. That the youths of RAA must refrain from cattle raiding from, but instead promote peaceful coexistence with, neighboring communities,
3. There be a periodic intercounty sports competition among the youths, within RAA and between Ruweng and its neighbors to enhance peace and social harmony among the people of RAA,
4. The GRAA should make effort to encourage and facilitate resettlement of families, especially in the counties of Lake No, Tuooch, Aliiny, Wunkur and Awarpiny who have been displaced by insecurity or environmental pollution,
5. The GRAA should make effort to build an airstrip in Biemnom,
6. The GRAA, with the help of development partners, should establish a radio program aimed at promoting the message of peace and unity among the people of RAA,
7. The GRAA should establish Livestock Patrol Unit (LPU) drawn from the Police Service and stationed at cattle camps in order to protect cattle and herders from cattle raiders from hostile communities,
8. The people of RAA and Misyeria should, with the help of the Governments of the Republic of South Sudan and the Sudan, hold a peace conference at a venue to be later agreed by both sides,
9. The Government of Unity State should surrender the administration of internally displaced people at Darbim (Unity Oilfields) and Miadiing (Lalob) as part of the effort to promote peace and harmony between the two regions.
10. That politicians should cease and desist from undermining the GRAA and/or disrupt social harmony among the people of Ruweng.
II. On Governance and Leadership Succession
1. That the people of RAA do hereby petition the President of the Republic and National Government to take the necessary steps needed to elevate RAA to statehood,
2. That as regards road infrastructure, the National Government and Government of RAA should speed up the following road construction projects:
(a) The construction of the road connecting RAA and Bhar el Ghazel (that is, the Pariang-Panakwaj-Awarpiny-Biemhom-Turalei road) in order to facilitate trade and mobility between the people of RAA and Bhar el Ghazel region besides neighboring states,
(b) Gong-Yak-Jau-Panyang-Pariang-Biu-Lake No (Miaaj) road with the view to opening up the riverine transport system from Juba to RAA and vice versa, and,
(c) Pariang-Manyjabo-Akodweng-Jokchood road. This will shorten access to Nyiel and Yaar areas,
(d) Pariang-Kong-Pachwag-Patwog-Paantheeb-Agarag road. This road will serve the western part of Lake No County, and,
(e) Yingda (Yida)-Pakwem road to facilitate trade between RAA and Nuba Mountains
3. The GRAA should occasionally intervene to regulate market prices in order to prevent traders from exploiting ordinary people through arbitrary hiking of prices of basic commodities in the market,
4. The GRAA should provide reasonable monthly payments to traditional leaders such as Chiefs,
5. The Chief Administrator should, in collaboration with the National Government, expedite the process of the formation of the RAA’s Legislative Assembly and the drafting of the constitution of RAA,
6. That, having regard to the excellent performance of the current Chief Administrator, he should be given at least 5 years in order to promote stability and expedite socio-economic development throughout the Ruweng region.
7. That the selection of anyone to occupy the office of the Chief Administrator shall be undertaken through broad-based consultations before the names of willing candidates are submitted to the President of the Republic of South Sudan for final determination/appointment,
8. That the occupant of the office of the Chief Administrator or Governor, whatever the case may be, shall be held by a person who satisfies the following criteria:
(a) Has attained the age of the majority,
(b) Is of a reasonable material means,
(c) Has at least a college diploma combined with a relevant experience,
(d) Is of an unquestionable moral character and personal accomplishments, and,
(e) Owns a modern house or other assets in Parieng, Biemnhom or both areas,
9. The position of the Chief Administrator or governor, whatever the case might be, shall not be held on rotational basis from chiefdom to chiefdom but on account of competence, integrity, loyalty and resolve to pursue public interests,
10. All contracts that can be performed by competent Ruweng people should be given to Ruweng businesspeople,
11. The minimum requirement for the office of a minister, commissioner, or an executive director in any public office in RAA should be a high school diploma,
12. That traditional chiefs shall be elected rather than appointed by an executive decree,
13. The Chief Administrator, in collaboration with the National Government, should take practical steps to ensure that the border between RAA and Unity State is demarcated in line with the internal/ethnic boundaries as they stood on January 1, 1956,
14. Considering that the presence of internally displaced persons in the Ruweng areas of Miading (Lalob), Darbim (Unity Oilfields) and Wanhdanluel (Munga) has become an incurable source of insecurity to the people of RAA, the GRAA and Unity State should, with the help of development partners, take steps to relocate them away from these areas, either within Unity State or elsewhere outside the RAA,
15. That in lieu of elections, the people of RAA request H.E. the President of the Republic to gather the view of the Ruweng people prior to the removal of the chief administrator or governor, whatever the case may be,
16. Notwithstanding part (5) part of this section, the current Chief Administrator should remain in this position to re-organize the community for the next general elections in RAA,
17. The Chief Administrator should ensure that due recognition is accorded to all war veterans,
18. The appointment of county commissioners should be made through consultations with relevant communities,
19. The GRAA should make effort to construct a courthouse in Parieng Town,
20. In the event that a chief administrator does not command the confidence of the general population of RAA, the people of Ruweng shall be entitled to seek his or her removal from office and his or her replacement by H.E. the President of the Republic,
21. The Ruweng people shall hold a community conference from 16 to 19 of January every year in order to evaluate the status of progress on governance in RAA, socio-economic development, state of security and unity of the Ruweng people,
22. The GRAA, should make effort to restore traditional names to Ruweng areas that currently bear foreign names especially in oil producing areas,
23. All the counties of RAA and Parieng Municipality should form education committees under the supervision of the Director General of Education of the Government of RAA.
III. On Health Services and Environmental Protection
1. The GRAA should help expand the size of Pariang Hospital and purchase blood bank facilities to increase availability of blood in RAA,
2. The GRAA should ask GPOC to expedite the construction of Alilang hospital as agreed in the 2020 Memorandum of Understanding between the Ruweng oil producing communities and the National Ministry of Petroleum
3. The National Government and GRAA should, with the support of development partners. supply the necessary staffing and equipment to Parieng Hospital to meet the standard of a referral hospital and upgrade Biemnom Hospital, Yida Hospital and Jamjang Hospital to county hospitals, pursuant to the criteria set out by the National Ministry of Health,
4. The National Government and the GRAA should ensure that oil companies are strictly committed to sustainable development and safe environmental practice including plating of trees throughout RAA,
5. The GRAA should develop mechanisms for controlling sources of pollution and make those responsible for pollution accountable,
6. GPOC is responsible for the presence of all non-natural open pits in oil producing regions and must, therefore, do everything necessary to level them off in order prevent the unnecessary accumulation of stagnant water and accidents that are associated with such pits,
7. The GRAA should enforce strict environmental protection policies, including ensuring that anyone who is legally permitted to cut trees is obliged to plant two trees for every single tree lost by cutting,
8. The GRAA has the responsibility to negotiate financial settlements for the victims of oil pollution with GPOC,
9. Where oil companies are exiting oil industry in South Sudan, they should be compelled to restore the nature of environment as a precondition for their departure,
10. The GRAA and GPOC should cooperate and resettle families whose lands have been rendered uninhabitable due to environmental pollution,
11. The GRAA, the National Ministry of Petroleum and GPOC should conduct annual environmental impact assessment, including conducting sample testing of soil to determine the status of environmental safety,
12. GPOC should consult medical personnel in Parieng hospital prior to purchasing any medical supplies for the hospital in order to prevent buying of wrong equipment or medicines,
13. The GRAA and development partners should make effort to build a theatre ward at Biemnom Hospital to mitigate unnecessary deaths or medical referrals to Abyei or other farflung areas that are sometimes not accessible due to conflict and unnecessary costs,
14. GPOC should recruit an eye surgeon to be placed at Parieng Hospital to reduce the rising loss of eyesight in many parts of RAA,
15. The GRAA should enforce the construction of a pit latrine by every family in towns and rural areas in RAA,
16. The GRAA should fence off the cemetery near Red Cross compound in Pariang Town in order to separate it from residential settlements towards which the commentary is currently expanding,
17. The GRAA and development partners should make effort to establish a Pariang Health Institute and a training center for nursing and midwifery service in RAA,
18. Petition GRAA in collaboration with Care International and other development partners to purchase tetanus vaccines, TB vaccines and hepatitis vaccines and embark on a region-wide vaccination campaign against these diseases,
19. The GRAA and Care International should purchase antivenom (snake medicines) and store them for use in each of the 8 counties of RAA and Parieng municipality.
IV. On Education
1. The GRAA, in collaboration with development partners and GPOC, should improve the quality of education in RAA with special consideration given to children whose parents serve in the Ruweng police force,
2. The GRAA shall sponsor at least 5 students every year to study specific areas of professional training such as medicine, engineering, public health, environmental science, and journalism in foreign countries,
3. The GRAA or any investor should build kindergarten or nursery schools in Pariang, Jamjang, Yida and, Biemnhom and Biu towns,
4. That as of 2023, every scholarship offered by GPOC should be vetted jointly by the GRAA, the Ruweng Ministry of Education and GPOC authorities to ensure that the most deserving candidates benefit from these scholarships,
5. The GRAA and development partners should collaborate to build vocational training/trade schools in RAA, both in Pariang and Biemnhom,
6. The National Government and the Government of RAA should take practical steps to promote tertiary education such as colleges and universities in RAA,
7. The Government of RAA and development partners should prioritize training of teachers and take steps to establish teachers training institute in RAA,
8. That local communities should contribute in-kind to education especially in support for teachers at schools in their neighborhood o improve the quality education in RAA,
9. That revenue from 3% of oil revenue accruing to oil producing communities should be used to rehabilitate crumbling schools and pay teachers as part of effort to improve education in Ruweng Administrative Area.
10. The GRAA, with the help of development partners, should promote adult literacy or education in RAA,
11. The Chief Administrator shall give special consideration to orphans and widows in terms of providing education and health services including awarding of scholarships to Ruweng students,
12. The GRAA and the National Government should build at least one boarding school for girls and one boarding school for boys in RAA,
13. That the Government and people of RAA call upon UNICEF to support the construction of a library in Pariang Town.
V. On Resource Management and Development
1. The GRAA should make efforts to attract commercial banks to have branches in Ruweng commercial centers as well as persuade the Bank of South Sudan to have a branch in Pariang Town,
2. Resources oil and murram should be shared fairly among the people of RAA in order to promote social harmony and unity,
3. The modalities of sharing the net revenue of 55% and 45% should be determined by relevant stakeholders in all counties and communities of RAA,
4. Murram exporting communities and non-murram exporting communities of RAA with the goading of the GRAA make arrangements to ensure that 45% of 40% that goes to murram exporting communities is transferred to non-murram producing communities of RAA,
5. To expedite socio-economic development throughout the region, any citizen of RAA who needs murram or aggregate materials should not pay for such materials insofar as such materials are being used for residential rather than commercial purposes.
6. The GRAA should join forces with development partners such as WFP to construct a series of bridges on Dir, Ageed and Ngol Rivers.
Calling upon Greater Pioneering Operating Company (GPOC) to cooperate with Ruweng oil producing communities, including having to address the need to compensate those who have lost their crops to birds due to GPOC’s negligence and its nefarious response in addressing the problem,
GPOC should strictly comply with its corporate social responsibility of providing essential services such as education (including scholarships abroad), cleaning drinking water, healthcare, roads, among others, to RAA generally and oil producing communities in the Ruweng region specifically
That, with the help of development partners, plans should be put in place to construct a Kala Azar Memorial Center or Museum in Pariang Town,
That there be constructed residential buildings for war veterans in Pariang Town.
VI. On Customary Law
1. Eligibility for marriage shall be 18 years or older for both males and females,
2. All forms of forced marriage are illegal in all their practical respects,
3. Any parent or relative who tortures especially a girl for refusing to marry a man she does not love should be subject to severe criminal punishment by a court of competent jurisdiction
4. Child labor, in all its forms, is illegal and is hereby banned.
5. The price of a bull, whether for marriage or compensation, is set at the price of SSP 200, 000, that of a cow is set at SSP150, 000 and that of a heifer is set at SSP100, 000
6. The minimum number of cows required as brideprice shall be 10 cows for every marriage,
7. That the GRAA should establish the traditional Court of Appeals in Biemnhom to deal with a variety of customary disputes in the Western region of RAA.
VII. On Agriculture and Food Security
1. The Chief Administrator should continue to make food distributions to local communities at a subsidized price, considering that there is an acute increase in food insecurity in various parts of the Ruweng region,
2. Considering the repeated destruction of crops by birds especially in Aliiny and Tuoch areas, there is a need for a transition from jak sorghum farming to hybrid crop farming, by adopting the use of modern maize varieties, and the GRAA and partners should facilitate such a transition,
3. The GRAA should embark on large-scale agricultural schemes in at least four specific locations in Biemhom, Tuooch, Aliiny, Jamjamg, Jaw and Biu,
4. Every household must plant between 1 to 2 Feddan every year,
5. The GRAA should undertake regular maintenance and repairs of tractors owned by individuals as part of the broader support for community farming projects
6. The GRAA should immediately initiate a consultation meeting for agriculture production and food security with farmers in RAA.
VIII. On the Relationship Between Humanitarian Agencies and Host Communities
1. While grateful to the support the people of RAA receive from NGOs, especially Care International and other humanitarian agencies, request the international community to support local development and humanitarian support to residents in RAA,
2. All humanitarian agencies should provide essential services to host communities in RAA at a comparable level of services to what they provide to displaced persons in Ajuongthok, Pamiir and Yida in RAA,
3. Non-governmental organisations and UN agencies should give special consideration for employment to citizens of RAA
4. That the United Nations and Humanitarian agencies operating in RAA have an obligation to promote sound environmental policies in order to protect the environment and ensure that the displaced persons hosted in RAA do not illegally cut trees,
5. Humanitarian organisations operating in Ajuongthok, Yida and Pamir should make effort to promote tree planting programs in all RAA areas and neighbourhoods where displaced persons from the Sudan are being hosted.
6. That while grateful to the modicum of support that the people of RAA receive from humanitarian organizations, NGOs and humanitarian agencies should do more in terms of projects that support the wellbeing of the people of RAA, and
7. UN agencies, humanitarian organizations and NGOs should urge every family in Pamiir, Ajuongthok and Yida camps to plant trees including mangoes, and other ever green trees to mitigate the effect of deforestation in RAA.
IX. On Gender Equity, Youth and Women’s Empowerment
1. The office of the Chief Administrator should support Ruweng women’s association in order to promote women’s and girls’ empowerment in RAA,
2. Affirmative action shall be an instrument of public policy in RAA so as to ensure that women, girls, and people living with disability and other categories of people who have been left to fend for themselves on the margin of society catapulted into the mainstream, especially in relation to employment and decision-making processes,
3. A battered women’s shelter shall be established to ensure that women and girls who are most at risk of serious gender-based domestic violence and death threats can find accommodation and refuge,
4. That, in order to take the edge off youth delinquency and enhance physical fitness, the GRAA should partner with development agencies such as UNMISS to build a gym facility, at least in Pariang Town.
X. Miscellaneous Resolutions
1. Considering the historical and blood ties between the Ruweng people and the people of Twij Mayardid, and between the people of RAA and the people of Abyei Administrative Area, we, the Ruweng people, are utterly heartbroken by the ongoing vicious conflict between our sisterly communities of Twij and Abyei, and are, hence, of the view that we can intervene as a force for good in an effort to mediate and bring about a lasting reconciliation between the people of Twij Mayardid and Abyei in order to restoring lasting peace and order in the region,
2. That the erstwhile Kwel section of the Ruweng people be severed into two separate and independent sections namely Kwel section and Paweny section, making Ruweng people of RAA to consist of four major sections namely, (a) Aloor section in Biemhom (6 chiefdoms), (b) Awet Section in Jau and Aliiny (3 chiefdoms), (c) Kwel section in Nyiel, Biu and Jamjang (6 Chiefdoms), and (d) Paweny section in Wunkur (3. chiefdoms).
Decide to remain seized of all these resolutions and such other matters as the Ruweng people and all residents of RAA may find necessary for their collective survival and dignified existence.
Adopted on this Day of January 19, 2023.