South Sudan marks UN Day amid calls for speeding up peace process

2021-10-22 17:55:16 GMT2021-10-23 01:55:16(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

JUBA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Friday urged former warring parties to speed up implementation of the security arrangements including graduation of the 83,000 unified forces key for maintaining stability.

Guang Cong, deputy head of UNMISS, noted that despite some positive progress achieved by the parties since forming the coalition government last year, more efforts are required of them to conclude the training and graduation of unified forces.

"We must also be mindful of the challenges that continue to impede the peace process, particularly the slow implementation of the transitional security arrangements which are critical to every aspect of the agreement, especially the electoral process," Cong said at the celebrations to mark the 76th UN Day in Juba, capital of South Sudan. This year's UN Day falls on Sunday.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir and opposition parties have since reconstituted the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), and also drafted a bill on the constitution-making process, but are yet to fully reconstitute state parliaments.

Cong also expressed concern over the intermittent communal violence that has claimed hundreds of civilian lives this year, adding that the violence has political undertones.

"We also remain concerned at the increase in communal violence, some of which has distinct political undertones," he said.

Cong said that UNMISS is doing all it can within its capabilities to help deter violence, restore security, and build peace particularly in conflict hotspots such as Tonj and Tambura.

"In both of these locations, our peacekeepers responded rapidly to the outbreak of violence by establishing temporary bases and increasing patrols to deter conflicts, protect displaced people, facilitate the safe collection of food and water by local communities, and to promote peace building," he said.

He revealed that they are engaging and encouraging national and state political leaders to use their influence to end the fighting in both Tonj and Tambura.

Tonj, located in northern Warrap state, has been experiencing a deadly outbreak of communal violence since last year.

Meanwhile, fighting since June in Tambura County killed more than 200 people, leaving nearly 80,000 more people displaced amid dire humanitarian situation.

The fighting between Sudan People's Liberation Army-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO) and civilians supported by the South Sudan army continues to flare up sporadically.

Cong noted that they are supporting reconciliation and peace dialogue at grassroots level, bringing together political and security actors, traditional, community and faith-based leaders, civil society, women, and youth.

Rebecca Nyandeng, vice president for Gender and Youth Cluster, called for addressing the high unemployment among South Sudanese youth that has seen several aid workers attacked by jobless youth in recent months.

"We need to engage the youth because the youth in South Sudan are redundant, we want them to be part of the development of their country," said Nyandeng.

She warned against ignoring these youth who make up 73.6 percent of the country's 12.2 million population.

"If we do not engage the youth, South Sudan will continue to remain poor," said Nyandeng. Enditem