UNMISS praised for grassroots peace initiatives

By Kitab A Unango

Communities from the grassroots taking part in the ongoing peace forum in Juba have commended the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for initiating the program to bring peace in the country.

The three day “Peace Forum”  organized by the Civil Affairs Division of UNMISS which will conclude today, drew together more than 60 participants including church leaders, youth representatives, women, IDPs and political parties to understand and disseminate contents of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

Speaking to Juba Monitor yesterday, the participants commended efforts exerted by UNMISS to bring lasting peace in the country by ensuring that everyone understands the contents of the peace agreement signed in September last year.

They said lack of understanding of the contents of the agreement by the grassroots was a major impediment to implementation processes.

Bishop John Fabiano, Chairperson of Interchurch Committee for greater Bahr El Ghazal said he was grateful because the forum will complement the church’s efforts in uniting people in South Sudan.

“I am very glad and thankful to UNMISS for organizing this peace forum to enable us take the contents of the agreement to our people.  We have direct contacts with people at the grassroots level and this will enhance our previous efforts in reconciliation and peace building efforts,” Bishop Fabiano said.

Manga Francis, a community leader from Tombura State, said people at grassroots level lack understanding of the agreement, adding that dissemination of the peace agreement to local people will end hostilities and bring stability in the country.

“One of the main challenges to peace implementation is lack of ownership by communities and what UNMISS is doing now will ensure that the challenge is resolved. Because you cannot implement what you do not understand,” Manga said.

He called on the youth to the join peace process to bring stability and development in the country.

Meanwhile Nyayo Rejoice Gasim, IDPs representative from Wau State, said most displaced persons have remained inside Protection of Civilians Sites due to knowledge of what was going on in the country concerning peace.

“People want to come out and go home to rebuild their lives, but our major challenge is most of us do not understand the peace agreement. It should be translated into various local languages and distributed to community leaders so that they can interpret to local people to build trust in the processes,” Rejoice said.

For his part, Mary Nyiyom, the Deputy Chairperson of members’ Affairs at the Transitional National Legislative Assemble said parties to the agreement should ensure people in the cattle camps are also reached with contents of the agreement.

“I thank UNMISS, it was very hard for other people even to hear that there is peace in the country. Those who signed the agreement should let them understand, especially people in the cattle camps,” she stated.

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