National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation launched
The National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation (NPPR) formally launched on 5 April appealed to civil society, youth, women’s organizations, government, opposition and the international community for cooperation to build a collective, unified and comprehensive national agenda for lasting peace in South Sudan; and to embrace the process of healing, peace and reconciliation as a cross cutting theme in all their programmes.
The platform is comprised of three national bodies; the Independent Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation headed by His Grace Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul; the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission headed by Honorable Chuol Rambang; and the Specialized Parliamentary Committee for Peace and Reconciliation headed by Honorable Lt. Gen. David Okwier.
His Grace Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul delivered the joint opening statement in the name of the three principals of the Peace and Reconciliation Institutions. He said, “Political leaders can make deals and reach decisions, but these will not last unless peoples’ voices are heard in those decisions. Our role will be to provide space, include everyone and listen to the multiple voices that make up the nation of South Sudan.” He further said, “We believe in a ‘home-grown’ and South Sudanese led process of healing, peace and reconciliation.”
The three national bodies comprising the National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation first issued a joint statement on 9 January, urging the country’s political leaders to immediately stop the fighting and put forward a peace plan, following the outbreak of violence on 15 December 2013. By March 2014, the crisis has left a million South Sudanese people displaced.
Over the next six months, the platform will organize workshops at national, state and local levels, and with those on different sides of the political spectrum in order to adopt a bottom up approach to initiate dialogue and build the agenda for peace and reconciliation. The platform hopes to contribute to the peace negotiations in Addis Ababa mediated by the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) as the voice of the grassroots and act as observers to inform the people on how the political process is progressing.
The message of H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit delivered on the occasion appealed to the international community, the UN, civil society and all stakeholders to work in unity. The message stated, “The platform will work independently, offering a space for dialogue amongst all South Sudanese to voice their concerns, raise issues and contribute to political dialogue.”
H.E. Vice President James Wani Igga provided his analysis of the crisis, and thanked UNDP for providing support to South Sudan’s Peace and Reconciliation Commission. He lauded the three Principals heading the institutions comprising the platform for organizing the launch and expressed his hope that this launch would pave way to promoting dialogue and reconciliation at the grass roots level.
Right Honorable Joseph Bol Chan, Speaker of the Council of States emphasized that the time has come for peace and reconciliation; and the Council of States will support the reconciliation process to engage in meaningful consultations in all States. He stated, “We need to pause and take stock of what we have done to one another, and to our country, let the platform now be the voice of those who are now voiceless.”
On behalf of the UN, Raisedon Zenenga, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Political Affairs, stated, “The initiative brings clarity on the role and mandate of the three institutions working together and opens a new avenue for dialogue because opportunities for peace and reconciliation have been missed since independence.” He further stated, “The reconciliation has to be a national endeavour and not involve the political elite alone but include all affected communities who have deep-seated grievances.” He assured that the UN firmly stands behind this endeavour and supports the national reconciliation process.
Professor Moses Macar, former Vice President of Sudan stated, “The constitution of the three bodies that comprise the NPPR is a sure sign of seriousness to achieve peace. Accordingly, I appeal to the members of the NPPR to agree on a united strategy.”
Sarah James Ajith, the chairperson of South Sudan General Women’s Association expressed, “Women are devastated, we are the losers in war.”
The event was very well attended with about 1500 participants, including high level officials, a broad spectrum of South Sudanese representatives of women, youth, and academia, and leading representatives of the diplomatic community. The event began with Christian and Muslim prayers followed by cultural music, dance and calls for solidarity.
Please contact: Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP South Sudan firstname.lastname@example.org