SOUTH SUDAN: Calls for Women to Engage in S. Sudan Peace Building Efforts

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
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Eastern Africa
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The minister of social development in South Sudan's Eastern Equatoria state, Paska Hifita, has called on women across the region's eight counties to engage in peace building efforts as a way of unifying the nation.

Hifita made the comments on Tuesday while addressing executive members of a women's group on crisis management, echoing state government calls for women to be more involved in promoting peace and coexistences among all tribes and communities.

She said women are recognised as peace makers around the world and South Sudanese women also had an important role to play.

Hifita said now was the time for South Sudan to step out from the stigma attached to the more than two-decade-long civil war with the north and advocate for a future of peace and stability that will allow the new nation to progress.

She said peace efforts must involve a coordinated and well-organised civil society movement.

"For us to restore peace we need to embark in uniting our people", she said.

Meanwhile, deputy secretary-general of the Women's Association of Eastern Equatoria Jane Gama Surur hailed the state's women for their leadership and moral support.

Surur said despite current turmoil in the country, it was important for women to unite on a common shared goal.

As peace talks resume in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Abba, between the South Sudanese government and rebel forces, Surur urged citizens to prepare for the challenges ahead and not resort to further violence.

Violence erupted in the South Sudan capital, Juba, on 15 December before spreading throughout the country as government troops loyal to president Salva Kiir and rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar battled for control of key areas.

The conflict has displaced close to one million people, with women and children among those most affected by the deteriorating security situation.

The warring parties signed a peace deal on 23 January, with talks resuming in Addis Ababa earlier this week.