After decades of a devastating civil war between North and South Sudan, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005 between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The signing of the CPA brought the hope of peace and justice to all the people of South Sudan. Southern Sudanese women, who were both victims and actors during the liberation struggle gained hope for improvements in their lives, both in the public and private spheres.
This paper discusses the experiences of South Sudanese women in this new time of peace. By exploring women’s agency and victimisation during the war, the paper argues that the current celebrated liberation and peace, while it has been successful in transforming class identity, has failed to transform gender identity, allowing violations against women to continue unchecked. This paper challenges and questions the concepts of identity and liberation in the current peace from a gendered perspective, and asks what the concepts ‘peace’, ‘identity’ and ‘liberation’ mean for women in contemporary South Sudan. The paper argues that the CPA has failed to play a role in improving the situation for women. It explores the way in which customary law, which is protected by the CPA, continues to perpetuate gender inequality.

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Institute for Justice and Reconciliation