[The New Sudan Council of Churches Executive Committee has
released the following report on the People-to-People peace
process, the Wunlit Dinka-Nuer Conference, and the follow-up to
Wunlit. Regards, SI Administrator]
RELEASE FROM NSCC
For More Information Contact the NSCC Peace Desk
254-2-446966 or 448141/2
NSCC Executive Committee Report
Biblical Text: "In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from
on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in
darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the
way of peace." Luke 1: 78-79
Mission Statement: To challenge, mobilize, and facilitate
community-based and faith-empowered reconciliation of the
Executive Summary: The NSCC has facilitated an historic peace
conference and is managing a People-to-People peace process that
has literally stunned the political world, both in Sudan and in
foreign capitals. A conference held in Wunlit, Bahr el Ghazal that
involved approximately 300 official delegates, was the highlight of a
process that had been quietly underway for nearly two years. The
Wunlit Covenant declared an end to seven and a half years of
conflict between Dinka and Nuer people on the West Bank of the
Nile River. The implementation of that Covenant has been quick
and extensive on the ground. Thousands of Dinka and Nuer have
welcomed each other into shared toich grazing areas and fishing
sites, reestablished trade and commerce, and erased a "no-man's
land" along their borders. They have assisted each other and
welcomed newly displaced people during a new phase of military
action as the GOS and UDSF/SSDF have gone to war around the
oil fields in Western Upper Nile. The desire for reconciliation
across the south has become a people's movement for peace that is
difficult for NSCC, the political movements, or the outside world to
fully grasp. Small but very significant beginnings of this work were
seen in June 1998 when twenty Dinka and Nuer border chiefs and
church leaders signed the Nuer-Dinka Loki Accord following a
nine-day peace conference facilitated by NSCC. As a result, this
major movement is now drawing world attention to NSCC and
placing extensive demands on the organization that will remain a
major challenge in the coming months. The following brief report
will summarize the recent developments and the anticipated events
for the rest of 1999.
Wunlit Dinka-Nuer Peace Conference: This Conference, held from
27 February - 8 March 1999, is now well known. The documents
of the conference, including the Covenant, Resolutions, Signed
Commitments, Peace Council Minutes, and Appendices are
available through the Peace Desk of NSCC. For the international
community most of the documents as well as pictures are available
on the internet at the World Wide Web site of Sudan Infonet at
http://members.tripod.com/~SudanInfonet. There were over three
hundred signatories to the Wunlit Covenant who came as delegates
from Bahr el Ghazal and Western Upper Nile. Ninety-four chiefs
and fifty-two women signed the Covenant. When local workers
and security for the conference were added to the delegate number
the community numbered an estimated 1,200 -- 1,500 people. The
Conference lasted ten days, included Christian worship at the
beginning and end of each day, and was sealed with both Christian
worship and traditional sacrifice. The Conference was preceded
with a Chiefs Exchange visit. This allowed Nuer and Dinka chiefs,
church and community leaders to visit each other's areas, discuss
the difficult issue of security arrangements, and see the conference
site that had been built over a three month period of time by the
youth of Bahr el Ghazal. The cost of the conference was extensive,
the logistics were difficult, and the political dynamics were
sensitive. Nevertheless NSCC accomplished its mission and the
people made their peace.
People-to-People Initiatives: Dinka and Nuer have taken the
initiative to make the peace a reality on the ground using traditional
means. Thousands of Dinka and Nuer have visited each other's
areas. Chiefs, spiritual leaders and elders have led the people in
reenactments of the sacrifice of bulls as the sealing of the Wunlit
Covenant in numerous locations. This has included the toich
grazing areas, fishing sites, and hold places. Commerce has been
reestablished. Local initiatives, such as in Tonj County, have
included the forming of assessment teams to see the needs of
displaced people from the fighting with the GOS in Western Upper
Nile. These teams have helped the communities welcome the
displaced into the communities and provide information for UN and
*** Loki Briefing: Immediately following Wunlit the Rapporteur
Team briefed the Sudanese, UN and NGO community of Loki.
*** Nairobi Briefing: Delegates, facilitators and Rapporteurs from
Wunlit held a public briefing of the whole Sudanese community in
Nairobi at the Methodist Guest House.
*** Women's Conference: In June 1999 a Women's Conference of
Dinka and Nuer women met in Loki and issued their own
resolutions for reconciliation, including endorsements of the Wunlit
*** A UN and NGO Conference in Mapel, northern Bahr el
Ghazal, endorsed the Wunlit Covenant and Resolutions. A Famine
Early Warning System (FEWS) report has recognized the impact of
Wunlit and the resulting sharing of toich grazing areas as a
significant factor in mitigating famine for the coming months.
*** The NSCC General Assembly, meeting in Wulu, Bahr el
Ghazal, during May reaffirmed the strategic importance of the
People-to-People peace process and the critical facilitating role of
NSCC in expanding this to all of southern Sudan. The Assembly
also endorsed the Wunlit Covenant and Resolutions.
Political/Military Situation in Western Upper Nile:
*** Within weeks after Wunlit the GOS moved militarily against
the UDSF/SSDF in Western Upper Nile in an oil fields offensive.
This has helped cement the reconciliation of Dinka and Nuer and
moved the two movements toward a cooperating arrangement on
*** The UN/WFP has done an assessment in the field and found
that thousands of people have been displaced by the oil fields
offensive bringing new suffering to the war weary people.
However, this has also shown the strength of the Wunlit Covenant
as the communities are cooperating with each other in care for the
*** The forces of Paulino Matiep continue to be aligned with the
GOS and active participants in the oil fields offensive. This is a
significant section of Nuer who are remaining outside of the peace
process at this time and causing significant Nuer-Nuer and
Peace Council Empowerment:
*** Plans are being made for an emergency meeting of the
Dinka-Nuer West Bank Peace Council in July or August. There is
a need to empower the Council to facilitate the stressful
developments with the displaced, press forward with the
resolutions, and identify priorities that can guide the involvement of
NGOs and UN.
*** A key component of empowerment will be the placement of the
first five HF radios to assist in monitoring the border areas and
building a cross-border Dinka-Nuer communication system that is
also connected to NSCC.
East Bank Expansion: Wunlit Resolutions call for extending the
peace to the East among Nilotics, among Equatorians, and between
one another. Extensive tensions and conflicts on the East Bank
among Nuer have been agitated by the GOS and must be countered
by the reconciliation work prior to the Dinka-Nuer and other
Nilotics conference on the East.
*** Lou Nuer -- Gawaar Nuer Conference: Plans for this
conference are underway for a People-to-People Conference in
Central Nuerland with delegates from the Gawaar Nuer and from
the Lou Nuer of Gun section. It is anticipated that this will be held
in August. Mr. Billy Mar has been contracted as Conference Site
Organizer for the Nuer-Nuer conferences.
*** Lou -- Lou Nuer Peace Mission: In June an NSCC led peace
team composed of people from both SPLM/A and UDSF/SSDF
went to Waat and Akobo to meet with the local people and mediate
the conflicts that had arisen between the different governance
groups among the Lou section of Nuer. This team was led by Rev.
Matthew Mathiang Deang, NSCC peace mobilizer and Mr. John
Luk, a Rapporteur at Wunlit. The team and community endured
without casualties four bombing attacks from the Government of
Sudan in one day. Continued facilitation of this reconciliation will
include additional peace missions to work with leaders and a
Governance Conference later in October or November.
*** Dinka-Nuer-Nilotic: This East Bank Nilotic Conference is
being planned for late January and February of 2000. Preliminary
mobilization and planning is already underway and teams are being
formed for this extension of the Wunlit process into the East.
*** Eastern Equatoria: NSCC has been requested to become
involved soon in assessing the needs of reconciliation in Eastern
Equatoria and to build a plan for this process based on the
Funds have been provided for a briefing of the Sudanese in the
Diaspora in Germany, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and
the United States. This is scheduled for the month of July. Dr.
Peter Nyot Kok and Dr. Michael Wal Duany will do the briefings of
the Sudanese communities, NGOs and governmental officials.
Funding and Reporting:
Funding and expenditure reports are now complete through the
middle of April. This narrative and a financial report is currently
being prepared and will be sent to all donors to the peace process.
NSCC Organizational Capacity:
*** Office Development: A new People-to-People Peace Desk
office is now operating in the NSCC office suite in Nairobi. This
includes space for a secretary, field staff who are visiting Nairobi,
and the Desk Facilitator.
*** Peace Desk Facilitator: The growing demands of this work
have required the appointment of a Peace Desk Facilitator who can
give oversight and direction to staff and coordinate the expanding
work. Mr. Telar Deng has been appointed to that position. Mr.
Telar Deng was involved in the Loki Conference in 1998, served as
the Bahr el Ghazal Peace Mobilizer, and was involved in the Wunlit
*** Staffing: For Wunlit, NSCC had several short-term contracted
staff members. They were Rev. Matthew Mathiang Deang (Upper
Nile mobilizer); Mr. Telar Deng (Bahr el Ghazal mobilizer); Mr.
Mario Muor Muor (Conference Site Organizer); Mr. Timothy Tut
and Mr. Billy Mar (Liaisons with the Movements). In addition the
Presbyterian Church of Sudan and Presbyterian Church (USA)
seconded Ms. Caroline Kurtz to NSCC for seven months to assist
with administration and logistics and the Church of the Brethren
sent Revs. Phil and Louie Reiman to assist for two months. Now
NSCC is building the staff team for the continued work. Rev.
Deang is continuing with the Upper Nile and Mr. Mar is the Site
Organizer for the East. Additional mobilizers will be added as
funds are available and the process continues.
*** Consulting Facilitator: Dr. William Lowrey has served as the
Consulting Peace Facilitator since the beginning of the
People-to-People process. For Wunlit, he was funded by the
Presbyterian Church (USA) and loaned to NSCC. Now he has
received commitments from private funders in the United States
and will continue on loan to NSCC for at least the next year.
*** Equipment: An organizational capacity building process is
underway to ramp up the Peace Desk office with the necessary
equipment for this major work. Funding is being sought for
computers, email system, field radios, and an upgraded HF radio for
the whole NSCC communication system. Additionally the Peace
Desk Facilitator has been charged with responsibility to pursue the
license of NSCC with a new radio channel.
Report Approved and Endorsed by the NSCC Executive
30 June 1999
Methodist Guest House
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