In July 2016, almost a year since the signing of the ARCSS in August 2015 between President Salva Kiir, and Vice-President Riek Machar, within the Government of National Unity, the agreement had failed to stem the perpetual violence in Juba, while felt this raised questions relating to the leadership and credibility of the Transitional Government of National Unity, the ongoing tensions caused yet more trauma for women and children. The exclusion of women from reconciliation and decision-making processes had left them vulnerable to horrendous human rights abuses. With a 60% majority, South Sudan’s population has more females than males, which is a consequence of decades of civil war. The African Union’s Commission of Inquiry Report (2015) highlighted the systemic sexual and gender-based violence and discriminatory gender biases in society, which continued to prevent women from accessing their economic and political rights. Various stakeholders had in the past attempted to address gender issues in South Sudan, enunciated again in the ARCSS. However, the inability of the world’s newest nation to embrace an inclusive and gender-sensitive style of governance in practice was not a unique situation. The domestication of international instruments such as the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (1979) and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace-building (2000), remains problematic across the globe. In the precarious phase of postconflict reconstruction and development, South Sudan was confronted with the dilemma of whether the women’s agenda should be considered as secondary to the execution of the ARCSS in relation to other issues and if so, how the exclusion of women affected the prospects for peace. In exploring the South Sudanese experience with peace-building, specifically relating to the women’s agenda, state actors and civil society could draw significant lessons for application in interventions elsewhere.
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