South Sudan: peace and reconciliation leaders call for an end to the fighting

09 Jan 2014

imageA teenager displaced by recent violence washes clothes in a basin at the compound of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). UNHCR/ K.McKinsey/ January 2014

The heads of South Sudan’s ethnically diverse peace and reconciliation institutions spoke jointly for the first time today, urging the country’s political leaders to immediately stop the fighting and put forward a peace plan.

The three national bodies—representing the government, parliament, civil society, with leaders representing different communities—called on members of all political parties to “commit themselves to a process of political dialogue as the only way to resolve the conflict and realign the country towards development and prosperity for all.”

“As South Sudanese citizens we believe we have the leadership, compassion, integrity, capacities and resilience to work together across divides of region, culture and ethnicity to achieve true peace and reconciliation in our lifetime,” they added.

An estimated 201,000 people have been internally displaced since the fighting broke out in South Sudan in December, with some 60,000 people in UN bases across the country. Fighting between government of South Sudan and rebel forces has affected six out of 10 states, with widespread violence involving different ethnic groups.

The statement came as ceasefire talks continued in Addis Ababa between the main parties to the hostilities. The talks are expected to produce a peace deal which will put an end to the fighting and pave the way for peace and reconciliation efforts.

Promoting stronger and more cohesive institutions and communities in South Sudan is key to preventing the recurrence of conflicts and other crises. UNDP has been supporting South Sudan’s Peace and Reconciliation Commission, which works to promote dialogue and peace at the grassroots level.

UNDP will continue to work with its counterparts to help build a strong, peaceful and prosperous South Sudan.