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RPG 9 kill child in Unmiss Poc 1 10 of July 2016, captured

BY JACKDIENG GATKEK, Across the South Sudan, our news channels are plagued with stories of gun violence, and recent killings have opened up another tense debate around racial tensions, Militarily officers and the use of force. Communities in the South Sudan need support to tackle these challenges now more than ever, and we should take a moment to evaluate what is going on in our own backyards and work together to find solutions.

Urging support for peace building in communities at home as well as abroad is one way to prevent future violence. Local organizations play a vital role in addressing these issues, and offer practical ways forward for us all.

Just recently, the First Vice President guards  were killed in J1 (president palace), after responding to a call regarding a gunman carrying an assault rifle in what was thought to be an assassinated attempts to  FVP. Stories like these happen every day, whether they are in the public eye or not. While these are only the most recent, racial tensions have been escalating across the South Sudan over the past Months.

Without peaceful intervention, the long term effects could be rifts within society, the loss of security from both sides, distrust, and more innocent lives lost. Rather than retaliate with more bloodshed, national and local organizations around the country are working hard to come up with peaceful solutions through open dialogue, Child protection training, community support, legislative efforts, and more.

One such organization that is working to combat this problem is the Nile Star Global which receives its funds from International Partners; this organization takes a look at retaliatory violence – techniques to deal with this, other than more violence, through hands-on, skills, and theory-based training. Currently, they’re partnered with Child Protection agencies.

Many local organizations and community groups across the country working to respond to the current conflicts and prevent further suffering, the recent waves of violence in the Juba, South Sudan are not just random events; they are tragedies with deep roots in ongoing racial injustice in Juba and a growing militarization of our police system. Hundreds of people have lost their loved ones to this senseless violence that takes away human lives, regardless of their tribes. It will take effort by everyone to achieve a level of trust and peace in our communities, but local organizations like these are paving the way there. A crisis lasting more than one year in Juba, South Sudan has seen violence and alarming human right violations across the country. Some estimate that over thousand people have been killed, and more than a quarter of a million have fled the country.

GOVERNMENT, LOCAL NGO ARE BUILDING COMMUNITIES THOUGHT OF LIFE

Communities divided by conflict cannot sustain a lasting peace. 90 per cent of conflicts restart within this years of a formal peace treaty, because the underlying causes of the conflict have not been resolved. Conflicts can arise from community divides, will certainly intensify them and feed off them, and cannot be finally ended without healing those divisions.

Uniquely, local peace builders can break this cycle of violence. They are rooted in their communities, and they understand the dynamics and groups better than any outsider. They can bring together people from all sides, act as neutral facilitators, and build understanding instead of mistrust. This is why local peace builders are the key to building peaceful communities.

They provide access to justice to settle disruptions peacefully, negotiate for the safe return of refugees, find a new place for ex-combatants in their old communities, and bring people from different backgrounds together to learn more about each other and find mutual goals for peace.

Local peace builders are getting communities involved in peace building by organizing interfaith meetings and creating innovative economic and cultural projects that unite people from different backgrounds.

To re-establish trust and counter the tensions that can lead to violence, they unite people through traditional structures, and promote discussion and interaction amongst community members. They help people to help themselves become peaceful communities once more.

WOMEN AND CONFLICT

Women are the worst affected by conflict. They bear the brunt of it because when war comes, they often become targets of sexual violence, their husbands and children may be killed – leaving them without support, and they are themselves the majority of casualties of war. Women make up 80% of those who have to flee their homes. In South Sudan, more than 200,000 women have been raped in a decade of conflict.

But women are not only victims, they can be central in the fight for peace.  When the men of fighting age have disappeared to war, women become the heads of household, conservers of the community and rebuilders of the economy.

Women’s perspectives are invaluable – they can make a unique contribution by offering their perspectives and taking advantage of the roles expected of them. While international bodies have urged greater participation of women in peace building work, our local peace builders show that women are already often at the forefront of the mission for a lasting peace.

PEACEBUILDING POLICY

Our vision is of a world where local people are able to find their own solutions to their conflicts (Young and old Ages are my Brother and Sisters). To achieve this, they need funding and recognition from everyone involved in conflict resolution.

Whether it is international aid agencies or conflict-zone governments, UN peacekeepers or local fighters, we want all players to understand and mobilize the huge potential of local peace builders.

We want to change the balance of global peace building altogether, so that local peace builders – ‘insiders’ – are the first resort in any conflict resolution activity. We know they can’t do everything themselves, but we also know that they have the knowledge, the commitment and the local status to prevent future wars and make peace work.

The world’s current approach to preventing and resolving conflicts is not working. 90 per cent of wars restart within this years of a peace treaty being signed. We are convinced that this is because conflict resolution activities are mainly led by ‘outsiders’ – international ‘experts’ who are flown in for a crisis. What is needed is peace built from the grassroots up, turned into reality on the ground, and local peace builders are the future for this.

So we want to see local people given the power to build their own better futures. We want to see them become leaders of their own peace and development programmes, not contractors for outside agencies. And we want to see their activities multiplied far beyond what we can fund ourselves.

So we work internationally to persuade those with power, funds or influence to adopt our vision. We seek partnerships with like-minded organizations; we liaise actively with Child Protection Agency, and our new affiliates in International partners.

We welcome any assistance with our influencing work. To find out more or to get involved, please email: Nilestarss15@gmail.com

BY JACKDIENG GATKEK

PROJECT DIRECTOR

NILE STAR GLOBAL

BE THE CHANGE, CHANGE THE WORLD

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN

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