South Sudanese urged to embrace durable peace and a common purpose at Peace Day event

South Sudanese urged to embrace durable peace and a common purpose at Peace Day event

South Sudanese urged to embrace durable peace and a common purpose at Peace Day event

South Sudanese urged to embrace durable peace and a common purpose at Peace Day event

In the bustling capital of South Sudan, a symphony of voices converged, setting the stage for this year’s commemoration of the International Day of Peace. An array of individuals, each playing a pivotal role in the pursuit of peace, gathered to deliberate on forging a collective path towards a more harmonious future.

Organized by the Central Equatoria State’s Ministry of Peace Building in collaboration with the Community Outreach and Advocacy Unit of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, the forum was attended by state Minister of Peacebuilding, Francis Gerald, religious leaders, academia, civil society, state government officials, businessmen, students, the media, and senior representatives from the UN Peacekeeping mission.

Speaking at the event, Professor Julia Duany, an educator from the University of Juba’s College of Education, called on South Sudanese citizens to embrace a shared national identity.

“To build our nation, we must first establish stability, manage our natural resources efficiently for the collective good, ensure access to social services, and invest in our women, youth, and the most vulnerable among us,” she emphasized.

Reverend Martin Ocaya, the Coordinator of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese in Juba, added his voice to this chorus of hope, underscoring the pivotal role played by faith-based groups in South Sudan’s journey towards peace, advocating for a method rooted in inclusivity, consultation, and grassroots engagement.

“The church will continue its mission to promote, and nurture peace, not only in South Sudan but also around the world. We have initiated a comprehensive peace program known as ‘Action for Peace,’ centered on three pillars: advocacy, neutral forums, and reconciliation,” he affirmed.

For his part, John Oziegbe, Human Rights Team Leader, UNMISS Central Equatoria, highlighted the importance of human rights as an integral component of the peace puzzle. “If we aim to sustain peace, we must wholeheartedly uphold the rule of law, human rights, and fundamental laws,” he stated.

He went on to reiterate UNMISS’s commitment to working alongside the government to uphold the rights and dignity of every citizen and to enhance capacities among civil society and youth, particularly as South Sudan gears up for its first-ever elections next year.

Emmanuel Sebit, Head Boy of the Sacred Heart Secondary School, stood as the voice of South Sudan’s youth, eloquently articulating their aspirations and needs and calling upon the government to provide security, law, and order, deliver essential services, as well as create income-generating opportunities.

De El Faki Chol Lual, Director at the Institute for Peace, Development, and Security Studies at the University of Juba, also had acute observations to add, noting that South Sudan stood at a crossroads, facing the choice between conducting elections amidst challenges or extending the transitional government’s tenure indefinitely.

“The public will have to choose for themselves. But what we must remember is that peace is not merely the absence of war; it is the presence of human rights, the rule of law, and fundamental freedoms,” he averred.

The overarching message delivered by participants: Ending a culture of impunity and shaping a future of peace and prosperity.

The interactive and informative event ended with catchy peace songs performed by the in-house UNMISS band – the Flamingos.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).