21 September 2011 – A call for civilians to be disarmed was repeated across South Sudanese states during this year's International Day of Peace celebrations.
Speaking at the event in the national capital Juba, Vice-President of South Sudan Dr. Riek Machar Teny said that violence among armed civilians in Jonglei, Warrap, Rumbek, Eastern Equatoria and Western Equatoria states was undermining peace in the new nation.
At the same celebration, Ambassador of the African Union to South Sudan Nakaha Stanislas urged the people of South Sudan to embrace peace as a way of life.
"This occasion should be an opportunity to reflect on everyone's responsibility to advocate for sustainable peace, which should strive for ensuring not only the end of violence, but also the enjoyment of full human rights," Ambassador Stanislas said.
He urged various rebel militia groups operating in the country to put down their arms and accept the amnesty that was offered to them by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir earlier this year.
In Rumbek, Lakes State, Advisor for Human Rights and Gender Affairs Adak Costa Mapuor urged civilians in the state to continue giving up their arms. In early September, the Sudan People's Liberation Army began an intensive civilian disarmament exercise in the state, which has recovered over 1,500 arms so far.
Ms. Mapuor, who was representing the state governor, thanked the UN and other developmental partners for supporting the establishment of rule of law in the state. "The rule of law is also an important element in sustaining peace," she said. "When there is peace our development activities will progress."
Upper Nile State Deputy Governor Reverend Andrea Maya said in the state capital Malakal that he was chairing a committee that would carry out civilian disarmament in the state.
"We will start the peaceful collection of arms in the hands of those who are not authorized to keep them," Mr. Maya said."With this we hope the state will be secure and companies can operate without fear of attacks."
Authorities in the state, which has been grappling with violent conflicts between communities and rebel militia groups, plan to organize a peace conference to settle disputes, Mr. Maya said. The deputy governor also urged the international community to intervene in ongoing conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states in neighbouring Sudan.
A major clean-up exercise was carried out on the Day in the Western Bahr El-Ghazal capital Wau by residents, students and government uniformed forces (army, police, prisons and wildlife services). Also on the Day, UNMISS Indian and Chinese contingents cleaned Wau Teaching Hospital and provided free medical check ups.
"I am very happy on behalf of the hospital administration to receive these services UNMISS is rendering to our people" said Peter Hussein, Director of Administration in Wau Teaching Hospital,
Stressing that this was not the first time UNMISS had provided free medical services and donated supplies, Mr. Hussein praised UNMISS for its humanitarian support to the people of South Sudan.
Basketball volleyball and football matches were held as part of the Peace Day celebrations across the different states. Speaking at a Sports Fiesta organised by UNMISS Bentiu State Minister for Information and Communication Gideon Gatpan Thoar.
"These sporting activities are welcome as sport is the world's most common denominator to unifying people," the minister indicated. Minister Thoar urged his countrymen to see the UN as true partners of peace.
"UNMISS, leading the international community... can help us develop our country. We cannot do it alone as a people and government," he added.