….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
Update 23rd September 2017 Grace and her Colleagues went black for nearly 10 days after The Sentry released the evidence of Criminal activities by South Sudan’s top officials in the media. After about a month, she reappeared again to let us know that the South Sudan Government cut all the powers so that no one inside her country could find out anything in the news. It was a short message. We have not heard from her again since. It is one year later.
In the last 3 years unbeknown to me, Founder of Voices of Women Worldwide, had been in touch with our South Sudanese member Grace Kenyi.
Grace works for CEPO which is an NGO founded by the Ministry of Justice in South Sudan. It describes itself in its Background as:
” Community Empowerment for Progress Organization-CEPO is a non-profit, civil society, South Sudanese organization, registered by the Ministry of Justice on 17th Nov, 2010. It was formed to engage University students and fresh South Sudanese University graduates in building their respective communities/ societies on a voluntary basis.
The organization was initially formed in Khartoum in 1999 and consisted of mostly University students, but its scope broadened after it was established in Juba, Southern Sudan as separate entity. At its inception, the organization was mainly looking at establishment of Justice and Confidence Centre for provision of legal aid services and peace building and conflict transformation through peace dialogues.
CEPO works in the areas of Peace and conflict mitigation, human rights, rule of law, livelihood, governance and democratic transformation. “
**** But most importantly CEPO staff were involved with this particular aspects of Humans Rights & Rule of Law that meant they were taking records of Human rights violations and Rape as a weapon of Conflict War crimes against the government and the rebel armies:
CEPO mapped Conflict Violence using the modern technology, recorded it and shared it transparently!
In September 2016, this month there were 84 Incidents. In the last 3 months they recorded 106 Incidents and the Total Incidents reported since CEPO began mapping violence in conflict were: 419 incidents! Each incidents had more than 1 victims! Click here for CEPO map of Conflict Violence in South Sudan !
For the above reasons, both Grace as a young worker and CEPO as an organisation were blacklisted in recent months within her country!
In the last 7 days, I was very surprised that Vinanti Sarkar, asked me to come on board to have a look at “emergency strategies” pertaining to Grace’s situation in Juba, South Sudan. In the process of doing our “conflict area risk assessments”, following the guidelines of most UN registered International Peace Keeping and Relief Agencies such as detailed in this Planning toolkit pdf, we had the following transparent discussion with Grace before our 1900 + empowered women’s network.
I reproduce in this blog, the conversation in full because at this juncture in South Sudan’s history, we do not know what will happen and we cannot predict what will happen to any individuals or groups when more chaos erupt! We were involved because Grace asked for advise in a letter she detailed to the Founder of Voices Women Worldwide. I was invited to look at the strategic possibilities of helping with the media tracking of Grace because of my past grass root experience consulting strategically “Endangered human rights organisations and/or individuals” in volatile situations in countries like Nepal, Pakistan, India, Uganda, Congo, China, Tibet and Kenya. I hold an MBA in Sustainable Strategies and Sustainable Strategic Scenario forecasting for businesses, had in the course of the last decade transferred into skills related to Sustainable grass root non-profits strategies in underdeveloped and conflict areas. That was how I came into contact with Grace initially.
This is the records of our conversations. We are recording this in a transparent and public way because should Grace and her organisation continue to be blacklisted or should any individual end up harmed in the chaos that will ensue in the coming months, as UN sanction looms, we want to give Grace and her organisation an opportunity to ask for support in the course of them risking their welfare to help document Human Rights atrocities in South Sudan. We want Grace, as an individual and a member of Voices of Women Worldwide ( VOWW.tv ) to be well, and we would throw all our members extensive networks behind the matter, should we find out that some harm has befallen on Grace and her colleagues.
For this reason, we are reproducing our conversation and online discussions and videos we shared about the issue with the Public, in full!
*Pls excuse the sound in my recording. It was very late at night and very last minute that I ended up setting up the skype with Grace in South Sudan. X Just turn up the volume.
The women from civil society and the faith based group in south Sudan have decided to engage the Sudan People Liberation Army(SPLA) through prayers, dancing and singing for peace and respect for human dignity in the country after July 8th 2016 conflict that erupted in Juba the capital city.
Comment by Vinanti Sarkar Castellarin on September 7, 2016 at 2:39pm PHOTOS SHARED BY VOWW REPRESENTATIVE IN SOUTH SUDAN & MEMBER GRACE JOHN KENYI AS PART OF THE WOMEN FROM CIVIL SOCIETY AND FAITH-BASED GROUPS ..WHO HAVE DECIDED TO ENGAGE WITH THE SUDAN PEOPLE LIBERATION ARMY (SPLA) THROUGH PRAYERS, DANCING & SINGING FOR PEACE & RESPECT FOR HUMAN DIGNITY IN TH COUNTRY AFTER JULY 8TH 2016 CONFLICT THAT ERUPTED IN JUBA – THE CAPITAL CITY OF SOUTH SUDAN !!!
Comment by Cecilia Yu on September 7, 2016 at 6:37pm
Is there some way Grace can verify her identity before we discuss this issue any further. I want to explain why:
1) Sudan is an extremely volatile political country with lots of human rights violation issues.
2) the profile photo posted here is clearly a reverse image….distorted low quality amateur photoshop of the original image found in this link:
3) There are big political issues related to the sudanese army that are coming to light in the International Court of Justice Human rights cases…..
So I am just naturally cautious from my international law legal training and past advocacy work with Nobel Peace laureates human right lobbies.
I am even more concern after reading this that we must be sure it is GRACE we are talking to:
State Department officials give FP’s Colum Lynch conflicting accounts of what happened next, and whether or not the U.S. government has carried out an investigation into the incident. But what concerns many in Washington is that South Sudan’s government and rebel leaders may be losing control over their own forces, as the shooting came just days before South Sudanese soldiers broke into a compound in the capital and tortured, raped, and murdered a group of aid workers and journalists.
Western Media just picked up on the information in chinese news website the last few days….Wall Street Journal:
China is fuming about this:
The three deaths, coming so close together, illustrate the increased risks faced by Chinese peacekeeping troops—particularly in volatile regions like Sudan and South Sudan—where Beijing has economic interests to defend
Grace Kenyi on Thursday 8th, September, 2016:
Dear Cecilia, you are right to ask me to verify my identity the link you share:
http://www.cepo-southsudan.org/sites/default/files/styles/medium/pu… that shows my photo is true. This is from the organizational website where I work. And if you need some documents that gives more proofs about me, please feel free to ask.
Cecilia Yu on Friday, 9th, September, 2016:
Grace. I left you a video visual confirmation that I am really Cecilia fr http://www.CeciliaYu.com just now in skype video.
Vinanti Grace just got in touch with us on skype and left a video confirmation that she is the real Grace. Pls respond.
Vinanti and I made an appointment on Sunday to discuss issues with Grace. I want to make it very clear that in all my work I never deal with official government and/or military. It is simply not what the Sustain-Able Mission nuetral grassroot empowerment is about …we deal only with independent grassroot that are unaffiliated with any official government or military in any control.
Issues with military will continue to escalate for the simple reason that a UN embargo against Sudan is imminent.
“Fighting that killed more than 300 people and forced opposition head to flee directed at top military level, UN says.” Al Jazeera South Sudan news
Grace …I am concerned about these photos with the military in light of the many events in 2014 in your hometown that can only be described as crimes against civilians by military on a level sanctioned by the Geneva convention..re: war crimes….
South Sudan’s military said 35 people were killed in fighting at its main barracks this week over delayed salaries, raising the toll from five, and sporadic shooting was heard in the capital Juba on Thursday night. – See more at: http://www.gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ctl/ArticleView/mid/519/articleId/15025/Toll-from-barracks-gunfight-in-South-Sudans-capital-rises-to-35.aspx#sthash.NsPmxmJP.dpuf
Vinanti Sarkar Castellarin on Monday 12th September 2016:
South Sudan Human rights crisis and Rape as a Weapon of Conflict 9/11/2016
Cecilia W Yu 余詠詩 Published on Sep 11, 2016
This is a visual summary of our 2 hrs conversation between our South Sudanese human rights advocate VOWW Representative in South Sudan Grace John Kenyi, along with founder of Voices of Women Worldwide Vinanti Sarkar and Cecilia.W.Yu (www.ceciliayu.com).
“I just got off the phone when I recorded this about imminent UN sanction against South Sudan and exposure of women to extreme violence and crime against values set out in the United Nations Charter of Human Rights. Our meeting occurred on 11.9.2016 heralding new humanitarian crisis in Sudan not documented in news sources yet.”
Extra background Materials on South Sudan:
Inside Story – Have war crimes been committed in South Sudan?
Published on Mar 11, 2016
The UN human rights office has documented extreme The UN has documented extreme cases of brutality in South Sudan, including pro-government militia being allowed to rape women instead of being paid while fighting rebels.
The damning report described what is happening in the country as “one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world”.
Presenter: Mike Hanna
Ateny Wek Ateny – South Sudan Presidency Spokesman.
Mike Lewis – Lead Investigator for Conflict Armament Research.
Rupert Colville – Spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
See also: Because I’m a South Sudanese Woman part I
“Because I’m a South Sudanese Woman” was an art exhibition aimed at raising funds for a shelter for street girls of the “Confident Children out of Conflict”. Part I includes songs by the “Confident Children” and excerpts of a speech by the founder, Cathy Groenendijk.
Comment by Cecilia Yu, 23 hours ago on 13th September 2016:
We tried to continue the interview with Grace online today but she was gone. She did not appear at the appointed time. We hope she is okay as situations escalate in South Sudan. This is Grace’s initial message to me:
Well I am very glad George Clooney stepped up to say what we have been dealing with the last 2 weeks at Voices of Women Worldwide, what began about 3 yrs ago when Grace joined our network! But I think it may be better if his wife the Human rights lawyer actually did the talking! Honestly! George is an actor. Please! 🙂
But for now, we have not heard from Grace at all, and we, at Voices of Women Worldwide.tv, are very worried, given the information released by The Sentry (Organisations working to prosecute the corruption in South Sudanese Government that led to extreme human rights violations and rape as a weapon of conflict, working with George and Amal Clooney as Representatives in the Media)! The evidence were gathered and facilitated by individuals like Grace and we need to know that their safety are assured when Government and Rebel forces start more in-fighting as United Nations Peacekeeping effort may lead to Arms and other Trade Embargos of South Sudan!