Peace talks extended to allow for security agreements
However, the ultimate success of peace in the war-torn country could be contingent on the inclusion of refugees in the peace process, according to an analysis piece by Tsion Tadesse Abebe, a senior researcher on migration, from the Institute of Security Studies (ISS).
“Refugees from South Sudan, both women and men, can contribute positively to the ongoing search for peace mainly due to their experiences in exile, living alongside different ethnic groups,” said Abebe in an ISS article published yesterday.
“Their experiences often make them accommodating of people’s differences, and they can help change attitudes and encourage their compatriots to interact even with perceived enemies.”
July 9 marked the seventh anniversary of South Sudan’s independence from Sudan. But four of those years have been marred by conflict.
The conflict has left hundreds of thousands dead and injured and millions displaced in Africa’s largest humanitarian crisis.
Clashes between government forces loyal to President Salva Kiir of the Dinka ethnic group and his rival - former vice-president Riek Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) from the Nuer tribe - led to the first outbreak of the conflict in 2013.
In June, Kirr and Machar signed the Khartoum Peace Agreement - followed by accusations of violations by both sides.
To revive the 2015 peace agreement, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development led High Level Revitalisation Forum was set up in December 2017, with meetings in February and May 2018.
The forum’s significance, according to Abebe, is its inclusivity which promoted diverse stakeholders, including refugees, to participate.
“South Sudan’s leaders must look past their ethnic differences and focus on finding common ground that can lead to a ceasefire and a restoration of peace in the country,” said Abebe. - ANA