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Tearfund joins British NGOs in calling for urgent peace-building in South Sudan

21 Sep 2018

Tearfund joins British NGOs in calling for urgent peacebuilding amongst local communities in South Sudan.

Tearfund has issued a joint statement calling for urgent community-level peacebuilding to help uphold the peace deal, signed on 12th September and ensure a better future for South Sudan.

The Christian international relief and development agency was joined by Christian Aid, Oxfam, CAFOD, Mercy Corps, Saferworld and Conciliation Resources in the statement, which read:

"On International Day of Peace 21st September, we, the undersigned international NGOs, would like to draw attention to the urgent need for peace in South Sudan.

Peace is the first and foremost priority to our partners and the communities we work with in South Sudan. We want to reiterate our solidarity with South Sudanese women, men, boys and girls who bear the brunt of the devastating conflict which broke out in December 2013. We are gravely concerned about the continuation of violence which has forced more than 4.3 million people to flee their homes. The conflict has led to 7 million people in South Sudan requiring humanitarian assistance. Up to 2.4 million children are out of school in the country - the highest proportion of out of school children in the world.

In the wake of the signing of the peace agreement last week, all sides need to immediately stop all hostile and violent action. The implementation of the peace agreement should be a key priority for all parties and any other interests should be put aside."

It continued:

"Securing long-term peace in South Sudan requires more than a formal agreement. Following the outbreak of armed conflict in Wau in April 2017, an NGO helped bring together women from different sides of the conflict.”

The statement described a particular group of women in Wau “These women in Wau – living both in UN protection of civilian sites and in the town – went on to exchange gifts – of soap, salt and sugar – to build better relationships across conflict divides and promote peace.

“Civil society, youth groups, diaspora communities, women’s groups and faith-based organisations can play a key role in the prevention and resolution of conflict in South Sudan. Exclusion of these groups from peacebuilding efforts- at national, regional or local-level - marginalises the voices of ordinary South Sudanese. Building sustainable peace is a long-term process and empowering people to reconcile their differences locally and end violence is an achievable and crucial step forward. “

Tearfund has worked in South Sudan through partners since 1970s, and became directly operational in 1998. The agency is currently focusing on providing access to food to vulnerable households, targeted nutrition for malnourished children and their mothers, and improving water and sanitation in conflict-affected communities. We are also working with local peacebuilders and churches to foster better relations and help people develop their communities.

To find out more about our work in South Sudan please go to: https://www.tearfund.org/about_us/what_we_do_and_where/countries/east_and_central_africa/south_sudan/

Notes to Editors:

For any enquiries please contact Sarah Baldwin in the Tearfund Media Team. Email: sarah.baldwin@tearfund.org. Phone: 07776 211518

The full statement is available here.

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