VOICES FROM CIVIL SOCIETY

The following collection of voices comes from civil society members who met in Western Bahr el Ghazal during October 2015. The civil society members reflected on the Peace Agreement itself as well as what real peace at the community level would look like.

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ON THE PEACE AGREEMENT SIGNED BY LEADERS IN AUGUST 2015

“[The peace agreement is] focusing on the opposition, but the security in South Sudan in general is not addressed. We have a lot of opposition in South Sudan, but the agreement only addresses SPLA-IO. We have many small defection groups [militias] plus Western Equatorian groups – they are not captured. I am quite sure that these groups will continue, including cattle keepers [who conduct raids]. If all groups were considered [in the peace agreement] then the security would be stable.”  – WBG government representative

“Politicians are not pro peaceful co-existence. The peace agreement should set indicators to address insecurity at community level.”  –  Western Bahr el Ghazal civil society member

“The agreement should not promote a political approach for creating peaceful co-existence.”  – Western Bahr el Ghazal civil society member

‘WHAT IS COMMUNITY PEACE?’ ACCORDING TO WESTERN BAHR EL GHAZAL CIVIL SOCIETY

“When communities live in peace they can sit down together and discuss with freedom of expression.”

“People are moving freely without being asked who they are and where they are going.”

“A soldier dropping his gun to cultivate the land.”

“Men and women, boys and girls sitting and talking together.”

“Everyone dancing his or her traditional dances together.”

“Schools, hospitals, people going to school.”

“Clean roads and security lights; small industries that can sustain people; a water line is connected and there are full services; the town is demarcated.”

“If there is peace in the community, there is political peace.”

“People free and laughing.”

“UNMISS leaving.”

People are talking about peace between Riek Machar and Salva: it is political peace. But for us we want freedom of movement and expression at our community level.”

“Where you can see people cultivating, growing flowers and birds singing there is peace.”

“For us to come together we need to have love and hope in our heart. If we do there is chance of us dialoguing and coming together for peace.”

“Peace is not only for politicians – communities have their own conflicts which, left unaddressed, will mean there will be no peace.”

“Peace is important to all of us… when peace comes it should be enjoyed by the people… the benefit of peace is for the communities not just the politicians.”

“Defining peace is about perspective; if we come together, you define yours and I’ll define mine, and then we find a way to combine and find peace.”

“Peace starts from within us; if you have peace in your family you have peace in your community, then the country. The peace going on now is serving the interests of the leaders.”

“Peace goes beyond just the absence of war and fighting.”

OTHER VOICES

  • Voices on Justice from a Justice Seminar
  • Voices from a Paralegal Workshop
  • Voices on Issues Related to Divorce, Security, the Justice System
  • REFLECTIONS ON THE IGAD PEACE PROCESS
  • VOICES FROM CIVIL SOCIETY
  • VOICES OF WOMEN IN THE PAYAMS OF JUBA

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