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South Sudan ceasefire brings hope

02 July 2018

In the coming days a 'permanent' ceasefire will take effect in war-torn South Sudan, raising hopes that the country's five year brutal conflict will come to an end.

Jackline Sitima, 25, seamstress from South Sudan in Bidi Bidi camp

Jackline Sitima, 25, seamstress from South Sudan who has fled the fighting and now lives in the Bidi Bidi refugee camp, Uganda. Photo: Niamh McCarthy.

The South Sudan conflict has left millions of people across the country in desperate need of food, clean water, health care, sanitation, shelter and protection.  

In response to the news of this latest ceasefire, Cathy Hynds, Trócaire’s South Sudan Country Representative said: 

"As the people of South Sudan mark seven years of independence, they need its leaders to redouble their efforts towards a true and lasting peace as a first step to achieving prosperity". 

People need to "return to their homes, schools, farms and businesses, to rebuild their lives and communities.”

South Sudan gained independence on 9 July 2011, and is the world’s youngest country. 

Despite initial hopes of a peaceful future, conflict broke out in December 2013 between factions loyal to President Salva Kiir and the former Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar. 

Calling for peace and reconciliation

The Catholic Church has been at the helm of calling for peace and reconciliation. It has been involved in peace processes at the local, national and international levels. 

Bishop Barani Eduardo Hiiboro, of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio and President of the Sudan and South Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference, said:  

"This ceasefire is welcome, but if it is to mean anything for the suffering people of South Sudan, then our leadership must face the task of rebuilding our broken pieces – social and political relationships, the fragile economy, and the infrastructure of our states, devastated by the conflict. But, this can only be achieved through a sustainable peace process.  

“Many people in South Sudan are wounded in spirit. The pain of decades of war has not been addressed; our hard-won independence did not bring justice for the many who had suffered. No one has been convicted of crimes against humanity, and people have not been able to tell their stories, to relate what happened to them and their family members. Without reconciliation and forgiveness, our wounds will remain open."

Trócaire is responding on the ground. We work with local partners, providing humanitarian assistance where it is needed most.  

 

Watch this short video produced by theJournal.ie about Bidi Bidi refugee camp.

A year and a half ago, Bidi Bidi in Northern Uganda was a small settlement made up of mostly bush land. Now it’s home to over 280,000 people – most of whom are fleeing civil war in South Sudan, just over the border, making it the largest official refugee settlement in the world.

More news from South Sudan