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UNMISS convenes a conference on Jonglei and GPAA tribal conflicts

September 10, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — In an effort to resolve the conflict in South Sudan’s Jonglei State and Pibor, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) brought to table national leaders, state representatives, community leaders and civil society groups in the capital, Juba, on Wednesday, September 9th.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of UNMISS, David Shearer addressing the conference on Jonglei-Pibor peace initiative(Photo credit: file)
The Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of UNMISS, David Shearer addressing the conference on Jonglei-Pibor peace initiative(Photo credit: file)

“As part of efforts to end the recent upsurge in violence in the Jonglei region, UNMISS brings together national and state-level political leaders, community elders, civil society representatives and other key stakeholders for mediation and peace talks in Juba, South Sudan” UNMISS announced on its social media handles.

Opening the event with an emotional statement, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, David Shearer said that every community in the region had suffered from the violence, saying:

“Whether Dinka, Nuer, or Murle, you have all been attacked. All of you have been aggrieved. All of you have had people taken. Everybody has had their cattle stolen and people killed. All three communities,” The UN Special Representative, David Shearer said.

“But that means all three communities are also in some ways guilty of doing that to the others as well. This is literally a race to the bottom, and we don’t want to see the people of Jonglei getting poorer and poorer and needing more and more outside humanitarian help.” Shearer continued.

To bring a lasting peace to these communities, Shearer believes that all the actors who are providing arms need to be discouraged from such conducts.

“It’s important that people come together and have this agreement because we know that, in the fighting over the past few months, it wasn’t just happening on the ground in isolation to what was happening here in Juba,” said David Shearer.

“There were others who were supplying weapons and things that were fueling the conflict so we need now to have an agreement here that can be taken out around Jonglei and we can talk about peace and how we move forward.” He added.

The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Alain Noudehou further stressed that the people of Jonglei and Pibor do not only suffer from insecurity but also from hunger, diseases like COVID-19 and the ongoing floods.

“How are we able to work in an environment like that where this quadruple threat is increasing the level of vulnerability, making people so much poorer, and almost impossible for them to have the chance to get out of poverty and move towards a life where they can actually enjoy the fruits of the peace that is happening in the country,” says Alain Noudehou, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General.

“That is not possible if we don’t deal with the underlying factors that we are facing.” Alain continued.

The Deputy Special Representative reiterates that it is getting harder and harder to work in Jonglei and Pibor due to violence, saying that at least six aid workers have been killed and 144 others had to be relocated to other parts of South Sudan for their safety.

“Many humanitarian warehouses where we stock supplies have been looted. At least six humanitarian actors, many of whom are South Sudanese, also lost their lives. We have more than 144 humanitarian actors who have been relocated away from Jonglei to other places because of instability,” said Alain Noudehou.

“Political stability, peace and security are essential to our ability to deliver humanitarian assistance and necessary to implement development programmes,” said Alain Noudehou.

“More importantly, it is essential for families and communities to build a new life, a new life project on their own, and to move towards development aspirations for their own family.” Alain added.

In the attendance were the politicians that include Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk, Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth and the two governors of Jonglei State and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.

Addressing the gathering, the youth governor of Jonglei State, Mr. Denay Chagor, said as long as the United Nations or any other third party provides financial and political support, and logistics, the leaders can mediate peace between the affected communities.

“We feel that, if we get the logistical support, the financial support, political support, if we get all this support, we should be able to solve this problem,” said Governor Denay Chagor adding that “But if we don’t, the catastrophe of it will be so great that it would mean the entire country of South Sudan would go back into a war. We don’t want that to happen.”

After a full day of deliberation on what should be done and how, the Special Representative of the Secretary General loosely hints that UNMISS will provide political and logistical support for Governors to conduct the peace talks across Jonglei and Pibor, and provide peacekeepers to monitor buffer zones between the groups.

The UNMISS head challenged the South Sudanese leaders to increase the capacity of local police and develop infrastructure to address the underlying root causes of the violence such as building schools, new roads and water points.

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