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Peace Day roundtable ends with call to end conflict, defend human rights and foster reconciliation efforts

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Peace Day roundtable ends with call to end conflict, defend human rights and foster reconciliation efforts

This year’s Peace Day has been especially significant for the world’s youngest nation as it slowly begins to recover from protracted internal conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic

JUBA, South Sudan, September 23, 2021 / APO Group / –

A wide range of stakeholders commemorating the International Day of Peace in South Sudan’s capital Juba dedicated the day to working together to inject new momentum into the peace process with a resolute call for the peace partners to stop conflicts and promote human rights so that the trauma and scars of past civil wars can be healed.

Commemorated on September 21 each year, this year’s Peace Day was especially significant for the world’s youngest nation as it slowly begins to recover from protracted internal conflicts and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the spirit of recovery and reconciliation, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) helped sponsor a roundtable to mark the Day, attracting panelists from various universities in Juba, the Sudan Peace Commission of the South and the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports. .

Speaking at the event, Sharon Lowery, Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission, said this year’s country-specific theme “Building a Fair and Lasting Peace “, is only achievable if all partners work transparently as a team to end human rights violations, recurring ambushes on major trade routes and economic hardship, among other challenges.

“Murder and injury, gender-based violence and the stigma or discrimination that results from it, underage or forced marriages, the recruitment of child soldiers and attacks on schools and places of worship, are some of the of the main human rights concerns that must end, ”said Ms. Lowery.

Choul Ranbhang, chairman of the South Sudan Peace Commission, agreed. He also urged young people to avoid being grouped into factions along ethnic or regional lines, as this often leads to conflicts that could otherwise be avoided.

“I encourage young people to flee interethnic divisions; Engage in peace initiatives so that whatever you talk, sing or debate brings messages of reconciliation, peace and healing to everyone, ”he said.

Ajonye Pepetua, president of the South Sudan Law Society, stressed that frustration abounds if abuses and violations are committed with impunity.

“If people don’t get the justice they deserve, the end result is anger, frustration, counter-aggression and trauma, which can eventually lead to many social problems,” said Ms. Pepetua.

In addition, she warned young people against drug addiction. “When young people are stressed and traumatized by the events happening around them, they could potentially be drawn to the consumption of alcohol or other illicit substances. These also fuel aggression, so I advise all young people to refrain from such negative behaviors. “

Ms. Pepetua added that everyone in South Sudan has been affected by violence and war. “While you may not have experienced the abuses or violations yourself, the fact remains that you are part of the social fabric in which they occur. It also affects you and ensures that you are also suffering from trauma.

For Charles Abuni, president of Kpwo ni Kpwo, a local youth group that helps communities cope with trauma, collective efforts are needed to usher in a future of sustainable peace. “We need to join our energies to proactively respond to reports of stigma, trauma and discrimination. If you see your friend or family member behaving strangely, don’t turn your back on them. Rather, be the listening ear and the guide they need, ”he said eloquently.

According to Guy Bennett, head of the political affairs division of UNMISS, 70% of South Sudanese are under 30 years old. This massive youth population is a key agent of positive social transformation and must be fully engaged and included in the ongoing peace process here.

“Intensifying grassroots peace initiatives, especially among young people, will help reduce inter-communal tensions and violence and promote social cohesion from the bottom up to the highest stratum of leadership. If young people are engaged in building peace, they have the potential to become powerful engines of much needed change.

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