State officials attend DDR policy briefing in Wau
29 November 2011 – To discuss South Sudan's new national Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) policy, the Western Bahr El-Ghazal State DDR Commission hosted a briefing for state advisors and ministers in the capital Wau.
"DDR is first of the five priorities of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan development programme for 2011-2012," said Romano Opio Kuot, State Director of the South Sudan DDR Commission (SSDDRC). "This session is an important step in which the line ministries have received awareness on the new DDR policy."
The new DDR policy stipulates a government-led initiative to demobilize 80,000 Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers and 70,000 members of other organized forces, including police, prison, wildlife and fire brigade, Mr. Opio stated.
"It is government policy to downsize and transform the SPLA so as to contribute to sector reform in terms of development," he said, adding that this would further professionalize the armed forces.
On 23 September 2011, the South Sudanese Council of Ministers approved a new DDR Policy document that was developed by representatives from the SSDDRC, SPLA, UN, independent consultants and other partners
Acting Governor Effisio Kon Uguak urged all line ministries involved to commit themselves to supporting DDR, cautioning that past efforts had not produced tangible results.
Adil Athanasio, State Minister of Education, stressed that the estimated number to be demobilized was large and would require extra effort from all partners. "This new DDR policy needs commitment in terms of funding and technical support," he said, adding that his ministry would support the extended literacy and numeracy learning components of the reintegration component.
Similarly, State Minister of Physical Infrastructure Juliet Raphael committed the support of her ministry to empower ex-combatants with skills in the fields of roads and bridges, water and electricity.
"As a technical ministry, we have an essential role to play in this DDR process to deliver service to our people," she said.
Implementation of the new DDR Policy will begin country-wide in 2012 and will be supported by UNMISS, UN Development Programme, among other partners.