Peace centre and joint court opens in Northern Bahr El-Ghazal
18 September 2012 - The first of its kind in South Sudan, a "peace centre" opened today in Gok Machar, Northern Bahr El-Ghazal State, to serve as a joint court for chiefs of host and Arab nomadic communities in the state.
"This peace centre is enduring testimony to what cooperation among neighbours can achieve," Northern Bahr El-Ghazal Acting Governor Brig. Gen. Madut Dut Yel told representatives of the Dinka Malual of Northern Bahr El-Ghazal and Rizeigat of Southern Darfur at the opening.
"You can fight with your mother, father, brother and even your neighbor, but after all this, people sit down and talk,' Brig. Gen. Yel said. "The Rizeigat were able to do this even when the roads (between South Sudan and Sudan) were closed. These are good people."
The centre was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by AECOM International. Several officials from UNMISS, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and the state government attended the opening ceremony.
UNMISS State Coordinator Seth Kumi said the peace centre, located in the northern part of the state near the Sudan-South Sudan border, would be vital in developing positive cross-border relations among communities of the two countries.
"This is an example how of communities living on either side of the north-south border can work together to achieve a common goal of conflict prevention and mitigation," he said.
UNMISS has been tasked with supporting the South Sudanese government in preventing, mitigating and resolving conflict as well as protecting civilians.