Young people at Bentiu POCs committed to prevent conflict
Relief web and Juba Monitor
Young people who have fled violence and sought sanctuary at the United Nations Protection of Civilians sites (POCs) in Bentiu have expressed their commitment to ending the conflict and building durable peace in South Sudan.
The civil affairs team from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) held a three-day training session in how to manage conflict and achieve reconciliation for twenty-three young people from the POCs in Bentiu, in the former Unity State.
The session followed a series of clashes between different communities living at the site, which is the largest in South Sudan with more than “115,000” internally displaced residents. Participant Peter Par said he was eager to share his newly learned skills on mitigating conflict with his community.
“I will be a messenger for peace. I will give them (my community) a clear message of peace and clear message of conflict management and conflict resolution. I will go and change the attitude of my community,” he said. “I am going to use it as a tool to bring up this community together.
Another female participant, Nyayiena Regan Tut, said she would meet with her community and explain how it is possible to solve disagreements through dialogue rather than conflict.
UNMISS civil affairs officer, William Sunday Jail, said the session would help give young people the skills to become trainers in conflict management themselves. This will enable them to share their knowledge with other members of the community to prevent, manage and resolve intercommunal disputes.
“Participants are also expected to serve as peace ambassadors to promote social cohesion and reconciliation in the community,” he said.
Thousands of people in Unity fled the increasing fighting in Leer, Many civilians have sought refuge at the UN base known as Protection of Civilians Sites (POCs) following the eruption of the conflict in South Sudan’s capital Juba in December 2013,
In November last year, media reports suggested that thousands of people in Unity region fled the increasing violence in Leer and sought shelter at the UN protection of civilians camp in Bentiu, in the northern part of the country.
According to the United Nations, there are more than 2.4 million people across the country who have been displaced by the recent conflict. UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) also reported that more than two million South Sudanese fled the violence and famine in South Sudan and sought refuge in Uganda.
There are also South Sudanese refugees in other neighbouring countries such as; Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). According to UNHCR in Uganda for example, the majority of the refugees who arrive on daily basis are women and children.