Watchdog urges government to recognize 2013 Juba massacre as a national day

JUBA – South Sudan civil society watchdog, the Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA), has called on the South Sudan government to acknowledge the importance of memorializing the victims of the December 2013 massacre for the sake of national reconciliation and healing.

In a statement extended to Sudans Post on the eve of December 15, the CPA, a human rights advocacy group, specifically urged the government to recognize the December 15th-18th, 2013 events in Juba, which primarily targeted members of the Nuer ethnic group.

“Memorializing the victims of 2013 is not just about honoring the dead,” stated the CPA in the release. “It is about acknowledging the pain and suffering inflicted on a segment of our population, and taking steps to ensure such atrocities never happen again.”

The CPA further highlighted the importance of the memorial for the broader South Sudanese community, emphasizing its role in acknowledging the experiences of victims and survivors, recognizing the courage of those who sought justice, and honoring the lives lost and silenced.

The group expressed concern that the government’s alleged disregard for the victims’ families and their pleas for recognition could jeopardize the country’s reconciliation efforts.

“Ignoring the suffering of the 2013 victims and their families will only deepen existing wounds and hinder the path towards unity and healing,” the CPA warned.

The press release concluded with a call to action, urging the government to engage with the CPA and other stakeholders to establish a fitting memorial for the victims and work towards a future free from violence and discrimination.

Thousands of people were killed in Juba in mid-December 2013, sparking a five-year conflict ending in 2018 with the revitalized peace agreement.

While the Nuer Community puts the number of the victims between 20,000 and 30,000, the government puts it below 1000. The UN and the African Union have both acknowledged that ethnic Nuer civilians were killed by allied government militias that year.

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