Jonglei peace planning workshop concludes in Bor

5 Apr 2012

Jonglei peace planning workshop concludes in Bor

4 April 2012 - Conflict among communities in Jonglei State had created barriers among its residents, who must now work towards peace and reconciliation, a top South Sudanese official said today at a workshop in the capital Bor.

"These conflicts have created internal instability for a long time and we all should say that enough is enough," Vice-President Riek Machar said at the conclusion of the three-day activity, which aimed to prepare for a major peace conference in early May.

The workshop was organized by the Jonglei Peace, Reconciliation and Tolerance Committee, which was set up by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit to oversee peace, reconciliation and tolerance in the strife-torn state.

Vice-President Machar noted that abduction of women and children was a major hindrance to peace and reconciliation in the state, advising committee members to focus more on this problem. "They need to contact chiefs and find ways to return ... abducted children and women to their respective communities."

Also among the over 300 participants at the workshop were Jonglei Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk, Archbishop Daniel Deng and UNMISS Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) Raisedon Zenenga.

Noting that lack of accessible roads and underdevelopment had inflamed conflict among communities, Jonglei Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk called on the South Sudanese government and partners to contribute to state economical endeavors.

"It is very difficult to intercept and protect communities when vicious conflicts and violence erupt in the state due to lack of roads and communication," the governor said.

The committee's chairperson, Archbishop Daniel Deng, said committee members would also look at security, education, health, roads, economic growth and food security.

The conference established four sub-committees comprised of national and state parliamentarians as well as members of the Sudan Council of Churches and civil society. The sub-committees would be deployed on 6 April for two weeks to the grass-roots level with a common message focusing on peace, reconciliation, tolerance and forgiveness.

UNMISS DSRSG Zenenga emphasized that a community driven approach to address root causes of conflicts was the best mechanism for attaining peace and stability in the state.

He pledged UNMISS support for the church-lead peace process as well as the civilian disarmament exercise, which was launched on 12 March across the state.