In light of the expected full implementation of the revitalised peace agreement, South Sudanese across the country are pushing for more dialogue initiatives to promote deeper understanding of what the new deal entails.
One such information session was held earlier this week by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Wau. The objective was to engage residents of the protection of civilians site, community leaders, and local authorities to promote confidence building and social cohesion.
“I can’t express how happy I was today to see parties from both political camps joining together, smiling and hugging each other,” said Jenty John, an internally displaced person in Wau. “Today’s event really encouraged me to start thinking about returning to my former home.”
During the forum, residents of the protection site highlighted the success of negotiations held this July amongst the neighbouring areas of Tonj, Wau, and Gogorial to end acts of inter-communal cattle raiding, saying that this kind of progress sparks hope that durable peace can be restored on a national level.
“I am very excited about the thought of going back home to be with my family and continue farming, and I know that many of the displaced feel the same,” said community leader Arkangelo Majak Makor.
Despite their eagerness return to their homes, residents of the protection site say it is a big step for them, as many find themselves grappling with how to get back on their feet in the face of uncertainty and insecurity. Local authorities at the forum responded to these concerns by assuring the potential returnees that they would work hard to provide a safe environment.
“Peace is our collective responsibility,” said military representative Rodolfo Andrea. “Each of us are citizens of this country and have a duty to implement the peace agreement.”Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).