UNMISS briefs newly appointed state officials in Eastern Equatorian on its work to protect civilians and build peace
“There may be challenges ahead, but I urge you to remain resolute and resilient because building durable peace is a process which requires time and sacrifices.”
That was the message to newly appointed state officials from the Head of the UNMISS Field Office in Eastern Equatoria, Caroline Waudo, at a workshop to discuss the peacekeeping mission’s mandate.
Participants were briefed on the mission’s ongoing efforts to protect civilians, enable the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance, and support the peace process. They also learnt about UNMISS’ work to monitor, investigate and report on violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses.
The forum was an opportunity for frank discussion with state officials freely sharing their views.
The Governor of Eastern Equatoria, Louis Lobong Lojore, expressed his belief that, as an international body advocating for democracy, freedom and equality, the United Nations should help ensure all Member States are treated equally, regardless of their size and economic power.
“It is also our firm belief that there should be wider consultation with the people and government of South Sudan in renewing the UNMISS mandate,” added Governor Lojore.
UNMISS personnel also explained the Status of Forces Agreement which is the framework for cooperation between the UN and the Government of South Sudan.
The agreement sets out the need for UNMISS peacekeepers to have unhindered access to communities in need. However, there are occasions when access is denied by government officials or local security forces. These incidents are reported to the UN Security Council.
Participants at the workshop felt these kinds of situations were often the decision of a particular individual rather than the broader government.
“We need to cooperate and work together to correct errors where necessary,” said Jennifer Nabononorika Edward, the Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare.
This thought was echoed by her colleague, Ruth Mario Vuga, the State Minister of Trade and Industry: “We are all here to serve our people. So, it is imperative that we reinforce our collaboration and deliver much-needed services to the people of South Sudan.”
The two-day, interactive programme sought to strengthen the relationship between UNMISS and the state government as they work together to support the peace process.
“We are here as one UN family to support you as you work to achieve a peaceful, prosperous future for all communities across this young nation,” said Caroline Waudo.