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South Sudan's Declaration of Independence

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The Comprehensive Peace Agreement that brokered an end to the Second Sudanese Civil War in 2005 set a timetable by which southerners would be able to vote on their independence from Sudan. In January 2011 that time came, and 98.83 percent voted for independence. Though territorial disputes remain in Abyei and South Kordofan, questions remain about shared oil revenue from the mineral-rich south, and various tribal factions are in a tug-of-war over representation, South Sudan formally declared independence on July 9, 2011. Here is that declaration of independence: SOUTH SUDAN INDEPENDENCE DECLARATION

SOUTHERN SUDAN LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

RECALLING the long and heroic struggle of our people for justice, freedom, equality, human dignity and political and economic emancipation;

CONSIDERING the years of conflict and the immeasurable sufferings of our people resulting from the conflict between North and Southern Sudan;

HAVING RESOLVED to overcome the past and face the future with a renewed sense of hope and in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation;

APPROVING that the authority of this Assembly and the Government of Southern Sudan emanates from the will of the people of Southern Sudan;

RESPONDING to the popular will of the people of Southern Sudan expressed in the historic January 2011 referendum in which they overwhelmingly voted 98.83% for the secession and the establishment of a separate independent and sovereign state in Southern Sudan in exercise of their right to self-determination guaranteed under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) 2005, the Interim National Constitution of the Republic of Sudan 2005 and the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan 2005;

CONFIRMING that the January 2011 referendum was conducted in a transparent manner by the national Government of Sudan in cooperation with the Government of Southern Sudan and the international community and that its outcome was confirmed by all these bodies;

RESOLVED to establish a system of governance that upholds the rule of law, justice, democracy, human rights and respect for diversity;

COMMITTED to contributing to international peace and security, regional stability and the resolution of conflicts through peaceful means in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the Constitutive Act of the African Union and international law; and

REMEMBERING AND HONOURING the selfless sacrifices of our martyrs, heroes and heroines who relentlessly struggled and sacrificed for the cause of justice, freedom and prosperity for our people,

HEREBY MAKES the following Declaration:

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF SOUTH SUDAN, NO. 1

We, the democratically elected representatives of the people, based on the will of the people of Southern Sudan and as confirmed by the outcome of the referendum on self determination, hereby declare Southern Sudan to be an independent and sovereign state.

A NEW COUNTRY

President Salva Kiir Mayardit, first leader of the Republic of South Sudan, addressed the first sitting of the new country's legislature in August 2011. Here is an excerpt from that speech:

"On July 9th, 2011, we ended a long period of misfortunes by the formal declaration of our independence. We have been occupied, colonized, marginalized and denied our dignity and humanity. This sitting clearly demonstrates the result of our long struggle and the beginning of a new journey for peace, democracy and prosperity. The independence we celebrated a few weeks ago is a great achievement for our people. I am grateful to have witnessed the birth of our nation and to you all comrades, congratulations for being pioneer citizens of this new nation! We are indeed a lucky lot because history has favoured us to be alive to witness this great moment of emancipation. Let us recreate ourselves, let us find new ways, new thinking and be ready to learn in order to adequately meet new challenges. We should not take anything for granted. Instead every challenge should be considered an opening for greater opportunities and triumphs. I urge all of you to seize the opportunities and accept the challenges of the future.

The freedom we have just achieved endows us with power and mandate. In return we must manage what is given to us with utmost care and responsibility. Moreover, as a sovereign body representing the sovereign will of the people of the Republic of South Sudan (RSS), it is incumbent upon this august House to manage the affairs of this land in order to deliver on what we promised to our people. While debating matters of national interest, it is important that we put the well being of our people and nation first. Our people have waited patiently for so long. It is time we act and we do so without delay. Therefore, the two houses must complement each other rather than compete against one another. This is expected of you in the conduct of business and this is critical for nation-building. As a people who have navigated from far it may not be easy to forget the pains of the past. Our hearts are still heavy with the anguish of history. That notwithstanding we must be brave and wise enough to resist revisiting the past and we must embrace the future. We will not forget the past but the sacrifices of our martyrs will keep us consoled to be worthy of freedom and concentrate all our energies on nation-building. If we deviated away from the core objectives of our liberation struggle, the sacrifices made by many will be for nothing. We were able to achieve our objectives because of the sacrifices of our martyrs and the long suffering of our people. The rewards of our heroes and heroines lie in our future and in the realization of our vision. And it is also in this future and in the realization of this vision that we can fulfill the pledges we have made to our people."

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