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Hundreds walk for peace in South Sudan

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National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation (NPPR)

PRESS RELEASE

Juba, 21 September 2014 - Hundreds of people took to the streets of the South Sudan capital Jubato ‘Walk for Peace’and demand for peace during International Day of Peace commemorationsorganized by the National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation (NPPR).Marching to the sounds of a police Brass Band, civil society activists, school children, andUnited Nations personnel led by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General Mr. Toby Lanzer braved the mid-afternoon heat and marched from Buluk Olympic Ground to Nyakuron Cultural Centre.

The proceedings at Nyakuron Cultural Centrewere punctuated by powerful speeches and emotional scenes of women rolling on the ground and wailing for peace in South Sudan.Some of the most powerful messages of peace were however delivered by school children. Speaking to an audience of approximately 200 – 300 people, Gondalleezza Awutu, a pupil from Juba One Girls Primary School said, “…peace is an important tool and therefore we should handle it like a glass. Please my fellow South Sudanese, we don’t need to shade tears or blood anymore. My ears are blocked with the sound of bullets, and now I am telling you that enough is enough. Let us love ourselves and be in peace.”

Matee Elia Emilia, who is also a pupil of Juba One Girls Primary School, took it upon herself to describe what peace means to children like her. “…Peace is safety; peace is non-violence; peace is a feeling that no one will hurt your body or your feelings on purpose; peace means that your rights are respected – children need peace. Teach us children peaceful ways – this will help in building a more peaceful nation”, the young girl counselled the older generation.

The older generation responded with their own pleas for peace. Speaking on behalf of women, MsGuliba Florence Hakim from the ‘Women’s Grassroots Network’ said, “…as women of South Sudan, we don’t know whether to celebrate or mourn on International Day of Peace. The number of widows is increasing every day, some of our children are out of school, and our fellow women are suffering in IDP camps. So as mothers, we are appealing to all our leaders to stop the war – enough is enough.”

In what seemed like a direct message to the warring parties to abandon any plans they may have for military victory over their adversaries, His Grace Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul said, “…we know that both sides are preparing for the dry season. Our people are tired of war, our people want peace, our people are tired of bloodshed – please listen to their voices.”

The Chairperson of South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission, Hon. Chuol Rambang, then closed formal proceedings with a plea to all South Sudanese to actively participate in peace building initiatives like those being done under the NPPR. “…Getting peace requires a collective effort. No one can bring peace to South Sudan without involving the people of this country. Peace is your right, so I call upon every citizen to join the search for peace.” Hon. Chuol Rambang said.

The ‘Walk for Peace’ was the culmination of ‘Seven Days of Peace Activism’ which the NPPR launched 15 September 2014 in partnership with local and international civil society organizations.

Contact Information: Email:nppr.ssudan@gmail.com; Twitter:@NPPRSSudan; Facebook:NPPR SSudan; Telephone:+211 (0) 955511800 / +211 (0) 955 294 789 / +211 (0) 957 115 195

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