Officials, community embrace UNMISS report in Jonglei

30 Jun 2012

Officials, community embrace UNMISS report in Jonglei

28 June 2012 - State politicians and community members in Jonglei had fully accepted an UNMISS report on inter-communal violence in their state, an UNMISS official said today in Pibor.

"Everybody that came from Juba, Bor and Pibor representing the different communities agreed on one thing," said UNMISS Human Rights Director Richard Bennett, as he concluded a three-day visit to the state.

"They said that the human rights report was helpful for the peace process and they made very strong commitments to continue (it)," he said.

UNMISS Human Rights Divisions issued a report on 25 June detailing an in-depth investigation of inter-communal violence and recording 888 deaths that engulfed Jonglei State in the closing days of 2011 and the initial weeks of this year.

Entitled Incidents of Inter-communal Violence in Jonglei State, the 45-page document cites crimes and human rights violations that took place during the attacks, and provides nine recommendations to avert future major outbreaks of violence.

Accompanied by national and Jonglei State parliamentarians as well as UNMISS staff, Mr. Bennett visited Bor, Akobo and Pibor to hand-over to and to discuss the report with local officials, community members and the media.

Holding briefings in Pibor, het met with County Commissioner Chol Biel Gok, Pibor Payam (District) Administrator Peter Lebelek Kollen, chiefs and members of civil society.

Mr. Bennett stressed that a plan including confidence-building measures should be in place to reduce inter-communal tensions, and also create a climate conducive to security as well as long-term socio-economic development.

The previous day, Mr. Bennett traveled to Akobo County, where local officials, including Commissioner Goi Jooyul Yol, said they accepted the report and vowed to implement its recommendations.

He also met in Akobo with over 50 youth who were attending a peace workshop organized by the Catholic Relief Service. Mr. Bennett encouraged them to uphold human rights and work for peace and reconciliation in the area.

On 26 June, Mr. Bennett met in the state capital Bor with Governor Koul Manyang Juuk, who said he and his cabinet accepted and appreciated the report.

"All the recommendations are very positive and we will base our programmes on these recommendations, so that we will bring peace to our people,' the governor said.

Emphasizing that lack of peace undermined human rights and security, Governor Manyang said his government would collaborate with UNMISS and other partners to bring peace and stability back to the state.

Mr. Bennett told the governor that the report's findings were based on different facts and investigations carried out across Jonglei State.

"We made every effort to cross-check and verify different allegations, but we do not claim that this is completely comprehensive," he said. "We do think, however, it is the most complete report so far produced."

At Dr. John Garang Memorial University in Bor the same day, Mr. Bennett met with over 75 members of Jonglei civil society, students and academics, including Vice-Chancellor Professor Aggrey Majok.