Cross Border Communities from Sudan and South Sudan Host Meeting to Re-commit to Peaceful Coexistence

Oct 16, 2017

Representatives of the Misseriya community from Sudan and Dinka Malual community from South Sudan attend the peace committee training at Wanjok Center in Aweil East State. Photo: UNDP

During a three-day peace committee training held in October at Wanjok Center in Aweil East State, the communities of Misseriya from Sudan and Dinka Malual from South Sudan re-committed to uphold peace in their cross border relationship, including negotiating the migration of cattle for pastures in South Sudan during the dry season, as well as trade.

The workshop was organised by UNDP and the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission (SSPRC) to train the newly appointed peace committee members from both regions. The peace committee members will be responsible for managing the cattle migration from Sudan to South Sudan during the upcoming dry season in January.

“The Misseriya and Malual Dinka have one destiny, we are connected by marriage, cattle and trade. We want peaceful co-existence, and that is why this workshop is aimed at strengthening these connections,” said Hon. Alou Ngong, the Aweil East State Political Advisor, speaking on behalf of the Aweil East Peace Advisor during the opening of the workshop.

The Aweil East SSPRC Coordinator Mr. William Kolong welcomed the newly appointed peace committee members and emphasised their role to “ensure peace continues to prevail between the Dinka Malual and Misseriya communities throughout.”

Mr. Kolong thanked UNDP for the fruitful partnership in inducting the new members into their roles of peace committee members and highlighted the importance of their role to foster peaceful co-existence.

The workshop was attended by sixty participants, 25 from Misseriya and 35 from Dinka Malual.

“UNDP supports peaceful co-existence initiatives because we cannot realise development without peace, nor can we realise peace without development,” said UNDP Peace and Community Cohesion Project Manager Judy Wakahiu.

Ms. Wakahiu emphasized the need for inclusive peace committees and thus the need to increase the number of women and youth in the committees.

“The role of the peace committee to facilitate dialogue and community engagement for peace is therefore important,” she said. “That is why UNDP supports such community level efforts towards building and maintaining peaceful co-existence.”

The representative for the Misseriya community, Ibrahim Malik, thanked the Government of South Sudan and UNDP for supporting the joint border peace initiative. As a result of these peace initiatives, a peace agreement was signed during migration conferences, he reported. Mr. Malik committed to ensure the participation of women and youth in the peace conference in the future and also to increase the number of youth and women peace committee members.

In emphasising the important role of the peace committee, the representative of the Misseriya noted that in some instances previous peace agreements have been violated but that the communities now expected the peace committee members and their outreach would see that the violations were dealt with peacefully. 

“If you know one another, you are likely to have peace. Misseriya, you are our old neighbours. We are [making] peace today because we know each other. If anything is done by either Dinka Malual or Misseriya, we sit down and talk. UNDP [has helped] us, but the peace is ours. And we are the ones who will make or break the peace,” said Sultan Deng Luol from the Dinka Malual in Aweil East.

“We both benefit from peace that exists between us. If the Misseriya don’t have water, they can come to us. If we Dinka Malual do not have good hospitals, we can go to their land to get treatment (…) thus freedom of movement is important. We started peace work before you were born. We did not know the difference between the two communities. It is the politics that has brought difference. The two Governments have broken relation but we communities are together,” Mr. Luol continued.

The workshop was conducted by UNDP’s Peace and Community Cohesion Project, as the entry-level training for the initial formation of peace committees. It will be followed-up by intensive training to equip the newly-elected peace committee members with additional mediation tools and tactics to prevent conflict among their communities.