NSCC PEACE DESK UPDATE SEPT – DEC 1999
PEOPLE TO PEOPLE PEACE PROCESS
Highlight was the Lou Peace & Governance meeting held in Waat Nov 1-7 which produce the Waat Lou Nuer Covenant Nov 6th 1999.
This called for:
Backing for the meeting came from DanChurchAid, ICCO of Holland, Bilance of Holland, Mennonite Central Committee, World Vision International, USAID, HEKS of Switzerland, Tearfund UK, Christian Aid, Swiss Government.
Planning is under way to hold a peace and reconciliation conference for the East Bank Shilluk, Nuer, Murle, Dinka, Anuak, Maban and other groups mid-March 2000 for which there will be 200-300 official delegates invited from each of these communities, plus members of the diaspora, the Southern groups and factions, the NGO community, media persons, UNICEF/OLS and WFP. The aim is to achieve another step in bringing about unity in Southern Sudan, following the sucess of the Wunlit meeting.
Permission for the meeting has been cleared with SPLM/SPLA; UDSF/SSDF.
Total cost will be approx. $372,931 with promises of support to date from USAID, DanChurch Aid, MCC, Christian Aid.
Held its first meeting since Wunlit in March ‘99, in Yirol in Sept. attended by nine of the Dinka and Nuer counties making up the council (Gogrial and Twic could not be collected because of unlandable air strips)
The majority of the Nuer members are currently displaced within Bahr el Gazal because of the fighting in Bentiu over the oil fields. They expressed their thanks to their Dinka hosts for the hospitality and willingness to offer land for temorary settlement, and permission to hold their chiefs’ courts.
Other aspects of the success of the peace agreement were the return of abducted women and children and agreement over ‘mixed’ marriages; return of cattle; free movement and trade.
The meeting expressed its sadness at the shooting of peace council member chief Magai Reat Wuor of Jagei by forces of Cdr Paulino Matip; and the killing of council member Mary Nyabuath Dou of Leer in cross fire.
The meeting called for sustainability of the peace process through setting up of border schools, border security teams, water points, clinics and veterinary services. It listed villages to which communities were returning following the inter-faction conflict.
NSCC was grateful for the support of DanChurchAid and ChristianAid with USAID covering air charters.
WFP assessed areas of food need as requested by the participants.
NSCC’s plans to start to hold workshops for peace and reconciliation with training of peace monitors were postponed because of security problems with the shooting of Didinga chief Joseph Nakwa Lonyangaluka the last day of September in New Cush. He had been called by SPLM to assist in peace negotiations. This was followed by the ambush of an NPA vehicle and the killing of two passengers, the shooting of SRRA secretary Peter Kidi in October.
The NSCC team, headed by the executive committee chairman, Rev John Okumu, visited displaced Didinga and Dinka Bor in northern Uganda in December. Meanwhile on the ground the Diocese of Torit and local womens’ groups are attempting to bring some stability to the situation.
The NSCC executive secretary Dr Haruun L Ruun in November met with the chairman Dr John Garang de Mabior of SPLM/SPLA.
Support, to date, for the Chukudum reconciliation has come from DanChurchAid, World Relief, MCC, Presbyterian Church of USA, All Africa Conference of Churches.
CHURCH HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICERS
THE first course was successfully held in Northern Uganda for 32 human rights officers, most of whom were pastors, evangelists, priests selected to work with communities and the forces within Southern Sudan. Course leaders were Rev. Colin Fox and Rev. David Reindorp of Christian Conferences Teaching Services and British Officers Christian Union, St Barnabas Fund. Course facilitator was Lt. Gen. Joshua Hamidu (Retd). Backing was provided by World Relief.
A second course for a new intake is planned for April 2000, with revision for the first participants. It is hoped that all churches will offer candidates from all parts of Southern Sudan. A proposal is in preparation.
PEACE & ADVOCACY
First collaboration was the support of SFP-A, through NCA which provides its chair, for a Nuer Briefing of the Waat conference which was held in Nairobi early December.
Sudan Focal Point-Europe attended the opening of the Maridi Ecumenical Centre in October..
A communique was issued from the RoundTable outlining its achievements, thanking partners and donors for their support, and condemning the chemical bombing which has been taking place in the South from GoS..
He also attended the CEAS extraordinary meeting the same month, and NCA’s partners meeting.
Throughout December and January the executive secretary was be on an awareness and fund raising visit to the United States and Canada meeting NSCC church partners and donors.
Visitors to NSCC have included PCUSA, Secours Catholique, EZE Germany, Caritas Germany, Caritas Italiana, National Endowment for Democracy from Washington DC, World Vision Canada, Newick Park Initiative of the UK, Skills for Southern Sudan, Tearfund UK, senior management teams from DanDhurchAid and Norwegian Church Aid.
The desk briefed USAID and the US Embassy staff on the Waat meeting. It spoke at the All Africa Peace Conference held in Nairobi.
During December it briefed the team appointed by the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, headed by John Harker, which was assessing the human rights records of the Government of Sudan and the SPLA.
The same month USAID and REDSO held a meeting with Sudanese and international NGOs to assist in its strategic planning for the Sudan Transitional Assistance for Rehabilitation (STAR). The desk contributed to the discussion.
The peace desk is a member of the non-partisan group of the Engendering Peace Process facilitated by the Royal Netherlands Embassy.
It is taking part in the planning processes of the women who are aiming to attain observer status in IGAD.
The desk is developing co-operation with UNIFEM in support of the peace work of the churches with an emphasis on the role of women.
With the appointment of women peace mobilizers to the field it is hoped to place greater emphasis on the role of youth and children in the long term peace process.
NSCC Peace Desk