Juba, South Sudan, August 26, 2015 — The signing of the peace agreement by President Salva Kiir Mayardit is a positive step toward ending the brutal 20 month civil war but aid agencies CARE, IRC, Oxfam, and World Vision say it is only the beginning of a long, hard journey towards peace and reconciliation.
International and regional diplomatic actors should monitor the peace agreement to ensure the protection of civilians, guarantee their safe access to humanitarian assistance, and support programs that will help people improve their lives.
Ronald-Paul Veilleux, South Sudan country director at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said:
“This peace deal is a first step to restoring safety, dignity, and hope to civilians in South Sudan who have experienced horrific violence for nearly two years. But the value of the peace deal will only been seen on how it is implemented on the ground. A peaceful environment is essential to enable organizations like the International Rescue Committee to deliver unencumbered humanitarian assistance to those most in need—something that has been challenged over the last 20 months.”
Zlatko Gegic, Country Director for Oxfam in South Sudan said:
“This agreement is an important first step towards ending the unbearable suffering of millions of South Sudanese but much more needs to be done to ensure lasting peace and stability. With millions of people hungry, it is crucial that all warring parties respect the agreement, stop fighting immediately and allow life saving aid to reach people where they are.
“It is time for South Sudan’s leaders to support community reconciliation, forge a path for peace that addresses the root causes of conflict and redouble efforts to rebuild the economy.
“Donor governments need to urgently fund emergency assistance for the 4.6 million South Sudanese still severely hungry and the millions more who need clean water, shelter and help to rebuild their lives.”
John Hoare, Country Director for CARE in South Sudan said:
“This is good news but the people of South Sudan need more than words. They need real commitment from their leaders to ensure that this is a lasting peace, that the violence has ended and the reconciliation process can begin.
“This conflict has disrupted lives and livelihoods across the country; families have been separated, homes and villages destroyed. CARE calls on all parties to the conflict to ensure this agreement is honoured, so that South Sudan can start the long, difficult task of rebuilding.”
Perry Mansfield, National Director of World Vision South Sudan said:
“With this agreement, World Vision remains hopeful that that the children of South Sudan will now have a brighter future as they have borne the brunt of this conflict. We look forward to supporting their development and rebuilding the livelihoods of their families and communities.”
The people of South Sudan should have a say in the future of their own country. Any reconciliation process should include the voices of all South Sudanese – various ethnic groups, political parties, civil society, faith groups, youth and women - and ensure their needs and interests are represented.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.