15th Sept, Marked a recently concluded 15-member UN Security Council briefing on South Sudan and Sudan held in New York, Some of the dignitaries present were a Special representative of the UN Secretary-General and head of Mission of UNMISS to the security council, Nicolas Haysom as well as civil society representative Ms. Rachael Juan who serves as Advocacy and Peace coordinator at the South Sudan Council of Churches Highlights key areas from a religious/ youth perspective. in her remarks, MS. Juan outlined points that could put South Sudan’s trajectory towards possible long-sustainable peace all while Acknowledging the UN’s continuous support for peace in the Country.
‘’widening of the civic space. I am saddened that young people and civil society actors cannot yet speak openly without fear. This is not conducive to building the nation we want to see. The widening of the civic space is important especially as we look to advance key roadmap processes for implementing the revitalized peace agreement. Ideas and criticisms are both necessary for building our country. President and members of the Council, I call on you to prioritize the need for the protection of civic space and civil society actors in your engagement with South Sudan’s political leaders.”
Secondly, community-led peace initiatives. As the Advocacy and Peace Coordinator at the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC)– an ecumenical body with a mandate to seek and promote peace – I have been privy to the positive impacts of church-led community peace-building and conflict resolution efforts. I have facilitated local peace talks and witnessed defining peace agreements between communities beginning a journey toward reconciliation and trauma healing. However, these efforts must be sustained. I urge the Security Council to increase the funds allocated to peace-building initiatives, particularly funds for community peace initiatives.
Thirdly, inclusion is a principle that should be prioritized as South Sudan seeks to complete the pending tasks of the roadmap. I am impressed by the incredible contributions of South Sudanese women in uniting the nation and dismayed by the untapped potential of our youth. Women and youth continue to be excluded in spaces of decision-making and nation-building. I acknowledge the 35% affirmative action for women’s engagement, but numbers alone are not enough. What we need is active and meaningful participation of women and youth in all processes. I strongly encourage the inclusion of civil society, women, youth, and faith-based institutions in the implementation of the roadmap. I particularly would like to emphasize the need for their inclusion in the ongoing process of the Joint Task Force on the elections.