Faith-led peace committee brings together Dinka and Nuer women

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Women representatives from the Dinka and Nuer ethnic communities came together in a peace forum initiated by the National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation at UNMISS Bor compound on 31st July.  The meeting was spearheaded by Dinka and Nuer pastors.

Women representatives from the Dinka and Nuer ethnic communities came together in a peace forum initiated by the National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation at UNMISS Bor compound on 31st July.  The meeting was spearheaded by Dinka and Nuer pastors.

The meeting, which was aimed at fostering peace, reconciliation and forgiveness between the communities, was supported by United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the UN Development Programme.

 

According to James Apai Ochalla, chairman of the peace commission in Jonglei State, the meeting was aimed at changing prevailing stereotypes held by Nuer and Dinka communities, reducing tensions and making plans for engaging the two communities in joint activities.

 

This was the first time since South Sudan’s civil war erupted in December 2013 that women from the two ethnic groups came together. The women from the greater Bor area of western Jonglei met with women of the Nuer community who are currently living under UN protection in Bor.

 

Meanwhile, radio Tamazuj has reported that many of the Dinka residents of the Bor area who fled across the Nile into Lakes State owing to the ethnic violence still remain there.

 

The UNMISS Jonglei State Coordinator Hazel De Wet said the meeting was the first of its kind since the conflict broke out seven months ago.

 

“I’m really happy with what happened here today in the UNMISS compound in Bor town: having representatives from the Dinka women’s community and representatives from the Nuer community, coming together and talking to each other about the need to find a path towards reconciliation, forgiveness, and in order to rebuild their lives,” she said.

 

She said it was important to have discussions at community level, to supplement the peace efforts at the political level.

 

“…it is equally important that at a community level people are coming together, finding methods and means on how to heal what has happened to them, but also find an opportunity to dialogue and discuss and find common ground,” she said.

 

She added that women, being 51% of the population, need to be represented at all levels of the peace process currently taking place in different forums in the country.

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