South Sudanese youth and women held a peace concert on Wednesday (September 04), an event aimed at highlighting positive activities and efforts to end the ongoing violence in South Sudan.
The concert featured dances and songs, as well as plays that touched on some of the challenges that women and youth face, the impact of violence against women as well as the need to hold offenders to account, as war rages in South Sudan.
The event was supported by the United Nations Missionin South Sudan (UNMISS). Organisers said it was important to remind the country on the important role that women play in supporting their families and in building peace.
“We will recommit ourselves to bringing lasting peace in this part of South Sudan. We are going to recommit to all what we are doing to the full implementation of core resolutions that were brought forward by different committees to see to it that peace, security and tranquility is brought back to this land.”
“Through us women, peace can come, because we are the peacemakers. In the houses we are the ones who are now taking care of our children – we are taking care of our husbands. The fighting is killing our neighbours. So we have to be careful and we have to be out of the conflict,” chairwoman of the General Women’s Association, Rachael Agum Kuc said.
“We would all agree that without peace, we cannot develop. Without peace the children cannot be educated. Without peace we cannot go to the farms to be able to provide food for ourselves and on the table. So it is my prayer that the government can continue to promote peace,” added Kwame Dwamena, head of United Nations Mission in South Sudan field office in Rumbek.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011 and had a brief period of celebration before ethnic tensions erupted amid allegations of widespread corruption.
In December 2013, fighting broke out months after President Salva Kiir, from the Dinka ethnic group, sacked vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer.
According to the United Nations, women across the country have been subjected to sexual slavery, tied to trees and gang-raped or passed from house to house by soldiers, adding that government soldiers and rebels were committing atrocities.
Three in five women in U.N. administered “protection of civilian” sites around the capital Juba experienced rape or sexual assault, according to a 2016 report by the U.N. Population Fund. The sites are meant to offer safe shelter for civilians.
“We will recommit ourselves to bringing lasting peace in this part of South Sudan. We are going to recommit to all what we are doing to the full implementation of core resolutions that were brought forward by different committees to see to it that peace, security and tranquility is brought back to this land,” said education minister, Dut Makoui Kuok.
War has contributed to hunger and forced more than a quarter of South Sudan’s population to flee their homes, creating Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.