With the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement, signed in 2018, still underway, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is engaging with stakeholders to inform them about the status of ongoing political processes, not least the drafting of a new and permanent constitution. Representatives of the Civil Society Network in Yambio were the latest beneficiaries of such a briefing.
“It is essential to be updated, and to keep monitoring what the parties to the agreement are doing. Only by being informed can we do that and remind everyone involved about their responsibility to bring sustainable peace to our country,” said Emmanuel Wanga, Chairperson of the network and one of 40 participants at the two-day workshop.
Civil society organizations can play an important role in the constitution making process, the elections meant to take place in December 2024, and as advocates for good governance, social development and economic transformation.
“These are some of the topics we have discussed at this critical stage, with just 21 months remaining to fully implement the peace deal,” explained Emmanuel Dukundane, a Civil Affairs Officer serving with UNMISS, adding that he expects the Civil Society Network to spread the word to all communities, including women and youth.
Participants were taken through the revitalized peace agreement chapter by chapter.
“It has opened our eyes on what we are supposed to do as civil society organizations. We have a big role as observers of the whole process, not least what happens before, during and after elections. Those who signed the peace accord need to speed up the implementation of what has not yet been done,” said Christine Faida, who also attended the workshop.
At the end of the gathering, participants came up with recommendations on how to best get involved in the transitional political process.
Key suggestions include raising awareness among local communities; active participation in consultations about the constitution-in-making, and to mobilize to raise money for a fund for legal services for human rights defenders.
“We are determined to work together to give a voice to the voiceless. We will do that by collecting the views of everyone in our communities,” said Emilia Yabang, Executive Director of the ANIKA Women’s Association in Yambio.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).