Does the Pieri Peace Agreement still exist?

December 2022 violence disrupted the fragile inter-communal peace process in Jonglei and Greater Pibor. Over the last month, conversations have taken place across the communities to determine the appetite for the Pieri Peace Process to continue.
(l-r) Hon Machot Gatluak Kenyjak, Uror Commissioner and Hon James Chuol Riek Bol, Ayod Commissioner

Following the December-January violence in Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA), peace partners engaged local communities in March to explore how to revive and rebuild peaceful engagement. This ‘community re-engagement initiative’ has been underway for the last month across Jonglei and Greater Pibor, through a coordinated engagement of 14 different partners. 

As part of this process, Peace Canal coordinated discussions in the Nuer counties of Ayod (1-4 March) and Uror (7-9 March) to assess community sentiment on the way forward. Chaired by the County Commissioners, the meetings confirmed a desire to rebuild the peace process in the state, identifying key activities to be undertaken. The Uror meeting was particularly important as it was from here that the attack on GPAA was launched.

‘Does the Pieri Peace Agreement still exist’ was a key question in these meetings. The March 2021 agreement had been the basis for peace work between the communities until violence broke out. Communities were clear that they wanted to build peace with their neighbours, that renewing the agreement needed to ensure greater
accountability mechanisms between the communities through the establishment of joint-communal courts, and needed to deliver wider representation of women and church leaders. The communities also want to see initiatives that further social cohesion; new ventures across borders that bring the communities together.

The Nuer communities appealed to international agencies to prioritise investment in the Murle community, where levels of investment in education and social services fall far short of what is needed. Specifically, development interventions should target the Nanaam area, identified as the main area from where violent incursions emanate, persistently destabilising peaceful communal engagement.

While these Nuer meetings confirmed a desire to see the peace process re-established between the communities, the response of the Murle community will inform the way forward and determine the level of reengagement possible. 

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