Weekly States round-up
Compiled by Sarah Kiko
In Wau State:
Prisoners from other states transferred to wau to decongest prisons
Wau State prison will now be receiving prisoners from Rumbek, former Warrap and Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Awiel following a circular released by the general prison headquarters in Juba.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Wau State Director of Prisons, Major General Caesar Tombe Joseph said the State has so far received 43 inmates from different States following the directives from the headquarters in Juba.
He said the transfer of prisoners to Wau is to decongest the other prisons and to ease the prisons from their current bad conditions.
“We have a circular from our Director General that all the condemned prisoners from greater Bahr el Ghazal are to be transferred to Wau central prison and those of Central Equatoria to Juba,” he said.
He also denied claims that the prisoners are being transferred to Wau for execution.
In Lakes State:
Boma Health Initiatives is launched
The National Minister of Health last Friday launched the Boma Health Initiative at Freedom Square in Rumbek, Western Lakes State.
Speaking during the launching in Rumbek Freedom Square, the Minister of Health, Dr. Riak Gai Kok appreciated all partners working with the State Ministry of Health for improving the wellbeing of the people.
Dr. Riak Gai also witnessed the distribution of 80 bicycles and 8 motorbikes to Greater Lakes State which comprises Western, Eastern and Gok States.
He also visited the remote villages of Cuei-Gakteng, Amongpiny, and Mapper Payams to inaugurate the Health facilities which are in Western Lakes State.
The Undersecretary in the National Ministry of Health, Makur Matur Koryom said the Boma Health Initiative will assist the people have better services in their villages.
People will be trained in different Bomas on how they can treat simple diseases which are curable, according to him.
Meanwhile the Governor of Western Lakes State, Matur Chut Dhuol, thanked Dr. Gai Kok for the work he is doing.
In Yei River State:
Workshop to promote peace, reconciliation held in Yei
Journalists from different media houses in Yei during a workshop
Journalists drawn from various media houses in Yei River State have been equipped with new skills on the role of media in promoting peace, reconciliation and mitigating hate speeches across social media platforms.
The first ever workshop under the MATCH For Peace project was organized and funded by Community Development centre-Africa (CDC) aimed at instilling skills and knowledge to media practitioners on how to educate the public on responsive use of social media forms and pass accurate information so as to promote peaceful co-existence and reconciliation among the communities both within South Sudan and neighboring Uganda.
CDC’s Executive Director, Martin Sebit told the media that hate speech had and continuous to negatively and directly or indirectly incite violence in Yei River State.
He said since the onset of the crisis in the area, thousands of photos or images and distorted messages circulated on social media platforms to a greater extend continue to fuel the escalation of the conflict in the area and ignited community hatred and division.
“Today there still exists traffic of such headlines spreading rumors of war, hate in an inflammatory language and unethical discourses that may continue to tear apart communities that once lived in peace and harmony since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005,” said Sebit.
Sebit said the workshop will help journalists and presenters to accelerate actions to counter and combat online hate speeches and mitigate hate speeches and inflammatory languages.
“The urgency to educate South Sudanese about hate speech and what differentiates it from freedom of speech, is now so as to pave the way for a more shade, conscious and attentive use of language ‘in the streets’, media, and social media platforms to reverse the hate speech-trend and strengthen a culture of peace, reconciliation, harmony and social cohesion, fostering tolerance, empathy, and mutual respect” he concluded.
Participants have collectively identified the precarious wave of violence coupled with the worsening economic situation and power ambition as some of the main triggers of hate speech in Yei River State.
“In our daily interactions with the public, we discovered that the current political-Economic challenges, tribalism, illiteracy, power struggle, revenge, poor governance restricted freedom of speech and continuous human rights violations as main reasons for rising hate speech in the communities” the group members said.
The journalists pointed that hate speech has resulted into deep hatred, division, conflicts, corruption and loss of lives and destruction of people’s properties.
The participants jointly recommended that to end hate speech and promote reconciliation, South Sudanese leaders and the citizens needed massive civic education on the importance of “public peace-reconciliation-communication skills” so as to foster healing and togetherness.
The group also suggested that policy makes and parliamentarians should develop mechanisms to pass laws that controls, prohibits and punishes culprits of hate speech in the State.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, King Martin Omalla of Liberty Fm thanked the organizers of the workshop and appealed for more training for journalists on the area of peace building and accurate information reporting.
“This is the first media peace workshop we have ever attended in Yei since the outbreak of the violence in 2016. Our call to the organizations is that it’s time to work together with media practitioners in promoting peace and reconciliation in Yei River State. We need more capacity building workshops or trainings like this ones so that we are equipped with new communications skills in our various media houses” he said.
King Martin urges the government to grant free space for media practitioners to exercise their roles and responsibilities effectively without fear from intimidation, arrest and detention adding that media plays an in important role in shaping societies.
Daniel Woli Comboni, the acting Director General in the State Ministry of Information and Communications called on the media practitioners in the State to stick to their profession by reporting accurate and balanced information to the public.
Comboni thanked the organization for helping orienting media personnel on its efforts to combat online hate speech, said Comboni.
“I am very happy with such workshops, our media need such positive skills so that they help to inform the public with correct messages that promotes peaceful co-existence instead of hatred and violence that divides communities”.
Still in Lakes State:
Civil Society Network urges US not to cut Aid
The civil society network in Lakes State is urging the US government not to stop giving aid for the needy and poor people in South Sudan.
“We the civil society organization in Lakes State are aware about the suffering of people in the republic of South Sudan, and we do appreciate the regional and international community for its continued support to the humanitarian needs in the conflict ridden country,” said the Chairperson of the civil society network, Majier Majok.
He said, the Civil society organizations in South Sudan recognizes the particular efforts of the US government to restore peace in South Sudan by supporting peace negotiation , JMEC , CTSAMM and relevant initiatives for peace in the country; concerned by the recent US declaration of South Sudan government as not credible and its subsequent plan to cut aid to the country.