Leaders in Gok state urged to champion peace talks

Religious and political leaders are being urged to lead a peace and reconciliation campaign in the Lakes region of South Sudan, which has been the scene of the ongoing inter-communal conflict driven by cattle-raiding.

At a conflict transformation workshop hosted by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Mission encouraged political and religious leaders to work together as advocates for peace and reconciliation across the region.

Speaking at the workshop, the Governor of state said the government-led National Dialogue should also be used as a mechanism to help resolve the challenges facing the people in the country.

“National dialogue gives us a chance to resolve issues of cattle theft, redefine the basis of national unity, address issues of diversity, and to strengthen social contract between citizens and government,” said Madhang Majok Meen. “This is why I am urging you (religious and political leaders) to champion this important peace mission.”

Workshop participant, Bishop Deer Changurek, said religious and political leaders need to work together to build peace across the region.

“Peace needs a collective effort. We (clergies) need to collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to ensure our people live in peace,” he said.

The two-day workshop hosted by UNMISS was designed to promote local peace processes and to discuss early warning and response mechanisms in times of conflict.

By Peter Ring Ariik

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