Nanaam peace campaign to address violations

The inter-communal peace process in Greater Jonglei and Pibor is endlessly fraught, and yet holding. The second meeting of the inter-communal governance structures, launched in Bor in October, took place in Pibor from 18-20 December.

The second meeting of the governance structures took place in Pibor from 18-20 December; the meeting moved at the last minute from Lekuangole for logistical reasons. The ongoing attacks in the border areas between the GPAA and Northern Jonglei, as well as the recent violence in Anyidi and Bor, formed the backdrop to a gathering that was characterised by some community leaders as a last chance for the current phase of the peace process.

Earlier the same week, Paramount Chiefs of Bor South, Gumuruk, and witnessed by those of Ayod and Uror met in Juba to discuss the current tensions. That meeting yielded few practical steps, but an agreement that the unresolved issues between Anyidi and Manyabol/Gumuruk needed a separate dialogue, which should not stand in the way of the wider process moving forward.

Despite the progress in the Juba meeting, and the existing commitment from Bor that the meeting of the next meeting of the inter-communal governance structures should take place in the GPAA before the end of December, three counties declined to allow their community leadership representatives from attending the Pibor meeting.

Nonetheless, with representation from the remaining seven counties and including some representation from all four of the main communities (Dinka Bor, Lou and Gawaar Nuer, Murle), it was possible to have a concrete discussion. Much of the conversation centred around the youth leadership proposal, first discussed several weeks earlier at an inter-communal meeting in Kongor, for groups of youth from all sides to converge peacefully in the Nanaam area and jointly identify any remaining youth whom the message of peace had not yet reached.

Meanwhile, the traditional leaders also began discussing in more practical terms how an inter-communal court structure could take shape, and they were supported in thinking this through technically by UNMISS Rule of Law. The women’s structure was focussed on ways in which they could coordinate more effectively in dissemination of the peace, as well supporting business cooperation between women across the inter-communal boundaries. Both these conversations will need further strategizing at the next meeting.

The final day of the gathering brought the discussion back to more basic emergency needs. The criminal attack on a humanitarian convoy near Duk, with one humanitarian worker killed and another injured, underlined yet again that security is not only the basis of development by basic survival of communities. The Duk Commissioner made an emphatic statement to the group: “What is our problem? The man who died was from Central Equatoria, and he was trying to help our people. Let us open our eyes as the Government of Jonglei and GPAA.”

This issue was underlined as another of the key objectives for the joint youth mission to the border areas. The groups will report back to the next governance structures meeting, to be hosted in Ayod in mid-February.

Read the full communique from the Pibor meeting here.

This community governance structures project and associated threads of peacebuilding activities in Jonglei and GPAA are supported by Caritas Germany, Swiss Cooperation Office, the Peacebuilding Opportunities Fund (POF), the Reconciliation, Stabilisation and Resilience Trust Fund (RSRTF), Shejah Selam.

Peace Canal, as a partner in the peace process, has an interest in promoting positive narratives of peace, but aims to present balanced perspectives on progress.

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