September 23, 2018 (GULU) – A group of South Sudanese refugees living in Uganda have appealed to the warring parties to ensure that the recently signed peace agreement is fully implemented.
The group, which comprised of 20 youth, was deliberating at a one-day workshop organized by Remembering Ones We Lost (ROWL) on the theme: ‘Youth dialogue on sustainable peace in South Sudan’.
A public memorial aimed at remembering all the victims of the conflict and armed violence in South Sudan, ROWL currently compiles names of all the people who either died in armed struggles or generalized forms of violence in the East African nation since 1955.
Speaking at a workshop held in Uganda’s town of Gulu, ROWL’s Executive Director, Gideon Daud, said the youth, who constitute the majority of the South Sudanese population, can play fundamental roles in ensuring peace and stability in the country.
“The youth, being the majority of the population, have a role to ensure stability and peace or they can also be used to spoil the peace gained since they are the ones fighting on the front lines, both on the government and the armed opposition sides,” he said.
The one-day dialogue, Daud stressed, aimed at ascertaining the roles youth can play in the implementation of the recently signed peace and what is they need for sustainable peace in the country.
More than a million South Sudanese currently live in Uganda as refugees in camps, while other live as urban refugees in major towns.
Patrick Otorit, a participant at the dialogue, said youth of South Sudan should avoid being used as the perpetrators of violence.
He, however, appealed to the warring factions who signed the September 12, 2018 peace deal to ensure those who did not take part in the process are incorporated in the coalition government.
“How shall we handle issues of aggrieved parties like Thomas Cirillo and his National Salvation Front [NAS]? What will the new government do to bring such warring factions together?” he asked.
Mary Keji, on the other hand, appealed to the citizens in the country to forgive each other and that all aggrieved people be reconciled.
Meanwhile, Joseph Amanya, a co-founder of ROWL said the peace agreement is the best opportunity for restoring peace and stability.
In an overview of the recently signed peace deal, Amanya said the government structure of power sharing within the peace agreement offers women and youth fair representation in the new government.
“When you look at the new peace agreement, women have been allocated 35 per cent representation in the new government, with six allocated to the Juba government, three will come from the armed opposition and one will be nominated by the opposition coalition,” he told the gender-balanced participants attending the dialogue.
The accord, according to Amanya, also addressed some key issues such as the need to establish a truth, healing and reconciliation commission, a hybrid court and a repatriation authority.
South Sudan became an independent country on 9 July 2011 after decades of war, lengthy negotiations and a referendum to secede from neighboring Sudan. Two and a half years later, in December 2013 armed conflict broke out between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those allied to his then deputy Riek Machar.
However, in August 2015, the two main parties in the conflict agreed a peace deal and later formed a transitional unity government with President Kiir at the helm and Machar as one of his two deputies.
Renewed again fighting broke out in July 2016 with heavy clashes in the capital Juba and other parts of the nation forcing Machar to flee.
On September 12, the South Sudan rebel leader signed a peace agreement with the government aimed at ending a civil war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.