UNMISS partners with priests in Lakes region to raise awareness about peace agreement
Raising awareness about the revitalized peace agreement in his Rumbek congregation, an Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan identified tribalism as the greatest threat to harmonious co-existence in the country.
“It is an enemy, a big enemy if our people are looking at themselves as part of a tribe, group or community, but if we start considering ourselves as one people for one nation, then South Sudan will be called one nation,” said Archbishop Alphonso Manyang Kuctiel told those attending last Sunday’s church service.
He went on to explain that this kind of primary identification with a certain ethnic group rather than with the country is destroying the nation, and that implementing the peace deal offers the best opportunity to mend relations and create unity.
The senior church man delivered his message as part of efforts being made by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to partner with religious leaders to inform the public about what exactly the rivalling parties have agreed on to end more than five years of armed conflict in the country.
Reverend Monica Achien Bol is also taking part in the initiative.
“I am very happy about UNMISS coming to our Sunday service to enlighten us about the revitalized peace agreement. As a church, we will do our best to sensitize our people about it,” she said.
Another faithful Samuel Chol Pech urges signatories to honour their commitments.
“I call upon all stakeholders to abide by what they have signed; to respect the dignity of our people; to respect the need for peace and the need for resettlement of our people, so that everyone can come back to their communities.”
Head of the peacekeeping mission’s field office in Rumbek, Kwame Dwamena Aboagye explains that no efforts will be spared to make sure that everyone is aware of the content of the peace agreement.
“We are launching the dissemination on the agreement in Western Lakes, in this very important church. After this, we are going to all churches, schools, communities, military barracks, police stations – everywhere really - to educate people on what the parties [to the conflict] have committed to do.”
The signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan on 12 September 2018 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa has been widely commended as a significant development, signaling the potential dawn of peace.