Building Peace To Save Lives in South Sudan

Canadian Sudanese can and must contribute to the process

Mach Simon

Sept 17, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — Currently, one of the world’s youngest nations has descended into the chaos of civil war. A bloody conflict between the government and rebel troops has turned South Sudan into a country rife with war, poverty, suffering, fear and pain. Ethnic tensions fueled by hatred have created divisions among its numerous tribal populations.

This comes as a heavy disappointment after the long struggle to gain independence from North Sudan. Our hope had been that the birth of our new nation would bring freedom, democracy, peace, security and would protect our human rights; that our leadership would serve our people, providing security, economic well-being, as well as education for the population.

Through the collaborative efforts of the international community, the United Nations, the African Union, the South Sudanese population and the warring parties, a final peace deal has been signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This agreement brings hope that the atrocities committed against innocent women and children will finally cease.

But my questions regarding this fragile peace are, “What is the next step? How is the agreement to be implemented in a meaningful way? What will be the role of Sudanese in Canada? How are we to make sure this is a sustainable peace?”

The plan for the next step includes three elements: cessation of hostilities, a security arrangement through a balanced army composed of all parties, and power sharing among various societal elements. Further, there is a need for an implementation plan to be developed through collaboration between the United Nations and the African Union. At a societal level, there is also a need for an effective reconciliation process, including provision for reparations.

In my opinion, Canadian Sudanese can contribute to the processes described above. If we develop unity among ourselves in Canada, we can contribute to the situation in South Sudan. We need to develop a framework for anti-oppression, so that our strength will be built upon unity and commonality; those who have felt marginalized and forgotten may now step forward with a voice. This voice is essential to avoiding the issues that arose from the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It will give us the opportunity to create a dialogue for reconciliation, to transform corruption into accountability, tribalism into nationalism and a dictatorship into a functioning democracy. Collectively we can build a better present and future in Canada and in South Sudan.

We all have the opportunity and responsibility to appeal to Canadian society, community, academic institutions and faith groups so that Canada can contribute highly trained and experienced civilians to a United Nations mandated peace mission in South Sudan and indeed to increase the capacity of South Sudanese citizens in the peace-building process.

Simon Mach is a community developer living in Hamilton. His passion is to help facilitate the integration of new Canadians by encouraging them to play an active role in the cultural, social, economic and political life of Canada.