By Denis Elamu JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
Despite bearing the brunt of more than
three years of violent conflict, South Sudanese women have vowed to
be on the frontline and champion peace and reconciliation in the
world’s youngest nation.
Sarah James Ajith, who heads the support for women in governance
organization, is one of the female activists in the country’s peace
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Ajith said they were
participating in stakeholders meetings in the Ethiopian capital
Addis Ababa with peace mediators, government and SPLA-In Opposition
(SPLA-IO) to help end the ongoing skirmishes.
“We have been doing a lot of advocacy in Addis Ababa, meeting with
government, opposition and peace mediators,” Ajith said.
Ajith is also part of a peace advocacy task force comprising ten
women from various groups promoting awareness and disseminating
peace messages in remote parts of the country.
“Last month we had a peace building conference in Bor, capital of
Jonglei state, supported by international partners. We have been
doing awareness and some women are involved in expanding the task
force,” she told Xinhua.
South Sudan has been beset by civil strife since December 2013 that
has caused tens of thousands of deaths and massive displacement of
Despite a peace agreement signed in 2015, conflict erupted again in
July 2016 and spread to once peaceful Equatorial region.
The United Nations in late February declared famine in some parts of
the country, including in Unity state’s Mayendit and Leer counties
where 100,000 people are starving, with over 1 million on the brink
It remains to be seen whether the national dialogue, initiated in
late December 2016, will end the conflict. Meanwhile, the UN has
expressed fear of ethnic cleansing that would lead to genocide as
fighting intensifies in some parts of the country.
The warring factions have been accused of rapes, looting and
killings in Yei town South West of the capital and Kajo Keji border
town, where majority of those fleeing to Uganda are coming from.
Elizabeth Amer Manyok, head of the South Sudan Women Block, a loose
coalition of local women groups, told Xinhua that they are
advocating for political, economic and social empowerment of women
through lobbying the UN and aid groups to reach out to internally
displaced persons (IDPs).
“Our focus is humanitarian support to those in need because the
country has been hit by economic crisis due to conflict. Without
food our country is in crisis. You cannot make peace when somebody
is hungry, and IDPs want to go back home,” Manyok said.
Meanwhile, Festus Mogae, head of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation
Commission (JMEC), a peace monitoring body, said women have suffered
injustices and borne the brunt of the conflict but they continue to
protect and provide for South Sudan’s families and communities “with
unfailing courage and commitment.”
“The women of South Sudan are strong and capable and we would wish
to see their contribution increase across all aspects of national
life,” Mogae said.
“Peace processes are inevitably more successful with strong female
involvement and I firmly believe that there can be no sustainable
peace in South Sudan without the full participation and leadership
of women,” Mogae added.
South Sudanese women have been calling for adequate political
representation from 25 to 35 percent to enhance their clout in
political, social and economic spheres.
Aid group condemns
convoy attack in South Sudan
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on
Thursday condemned Tuesday’s attack on its convoy by gunmen in South
Sudan’s Yirol East County.
IOM Director General William Lacy Swing in a statement condemned the
attack on a humanitarian convoy that resulted in two deaths.
The convoy was reportedly returning to Yirol from a field mission
when one of the vehicles was ambushed by unknown gunmen.
An IOM health officer sustained gunshot wounds but his condition was
said to have stabilized.
“This tragic attack on aid workers and civilians is appalling. The
assault took place in an area of South Sudan in dire need of
assistance due to a deadly outbreak of cholera,” he said.
He said the attacks compromised the ability of humanitarian partners
to provide assistance to millions in need of lifesaving aid.
The identity and motivation of the attackers remain unknown, the
The attack on IOM convoy came after eight aid workers of the U.S-based
evangelic group Samaritan’s Purse were abducted on Sunday at Guelguk
by SPLA-in opposition (SPLA-IO).
They were later set free on Wednesday.
joint IOM health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) team of 12
people had been deployed to Yirol East County on February 17 to
provide assistance to communities affected by a cholera outbreak
that began in early February, with more than 300 cases and 10 deaths
reported to date.
IOM says it is responding to the emergency needs of millions in
South Sudan affected by the crisis that erupted in December 2013.
Over 7.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance this
year, including nearly 5 million facing severe food insecurity and
1.8 million displaced internally.
South Sudan hails Sudan for opening
borders to facilitate aid delivery
JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
The Government of South Sudan on Thursday lauded its
northern neighbor Sudan for allowing relief agencies to use its
territory and airspace to deliver food aid to drought victims.
Minister of Health Riek Gai Kok told journalists the positive
development will help reduce the cost of transporting humanitarian
assistance to internally displaced persons affected by famine.
“The government of Sudan has given permission to international
organizations to buy food from Sudan and ferry in to South Sudan by
road or air. International aid agencies outside South Sudan have
also been given permission to intervene through those corridors,”
delegation from Sudan led by State Minister of Health, Dr. Somaya
Idriss Akad arrived in the South Sudan capital, Juba Thursday
morning accompanied by 15 tonnes of assorted food items and medicine
donated by the Afro-Arab Youth Council to help civilians displaced
by war and famine.
Akad said that her government would deliver additional humanitarian
aid by road to the regions of Unity and Barh-el gazel where food
insecurity is more severe.
The move came shortly after South Sudan government and three United
Nations agencies declared a localized famine in the country which
they blamed on the three years of conflicts in the world’s youngest
According to UN estimates, 100,000 people face famine in South Sudan
while one million people are on the brink of starvation.
The two countries in September 2012 signed a number of cooperation
agreements to shore up relations between them after they parted ways
following a referendum in 2011.
However, the cooperation agreements remained stalled for years as
the two countries continued to accuse each other of supporting
rebels hostile to either side.
Sudan has on several occasions closed its borders with South Sudan
and denied passage of relief aid into the war-torn country through
The two neighbors in June 2016 renewed bilateral ties and declared
zero tolerance to rebel groups threatening their stability.