Refugees urged to work for unity in South Sudan
By Gaaniko Samson
A Catholic priest from Diocese of Yei living in Uganda has called on South Sudanese refugees to forget about what disunite them and work for unity of their country.
Fr. Arike Joseph Duku made the statement while celebrating his 19 years in priesthood.
He said as religious people they were mandated by Christ to go out to the whole world to proclaim his good news of peace and evangelise people to know God.
“We preach the Christ given peace to the people especially the youth to enable them lead and cascade sustainable change in their communities that are experiencing conflicts through sports, arts, dialogue and empowerment for peace building,” Fr. Arike said.
He said they as priests have dedicated their preaching to sustainable peace through empowering volunteer youth leaders to promote active tolerance and responsible citizenship in the communities experiencing different forms of conflicts.
“The youth, women and children are the most affected people by forced conscription, rape and other forms of violence,” Fr. Arike stressed.
He said South Sudanese have suffered for many years and that majority of them have been scattered around the world living as refugees or Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs] in their own country.
“The government should find a better way to promote unity among its citizens to bring a total peace in the country rather than tribalism which is fuelling the long conflicts in the country,” Fr. Arike said.
“Youth leadership needs to be valued because they believe that youth have a vital role to play in bringing about social change and transformation of conflicts in their communities,” he added.
Fr. Arike stated that those living in camps were tired of being called as refugees all the time, adding majority of them want to go back home to rebuild their livelihoods.