Shearer urges unity in Independence Day message
A senior UN official has called on the government and people of South Sudan to come together in unity and peace to address the challenges of communal violence and COVID-19.
South Sudan on Thursday celebrated its 9th year of independence from Sudan as the outcome of a 2005 agreement that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war. It was a proud moment for the people who fought so hard for the right to determine their future.
In his Independence Day message, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General David Shearer said they need the people of South Sudan to come together in unity and peace to “respond to this new threat to this young country.”
“The United Nations will stand strong alongside the communities that we are here to serve with a firm commitment to supporting the national-led COVID-19 response and continuing our lifesaving and life-changing work,” he said.
Shearer, who is also the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said the 9th anniversary should be an opportunity to remember the immense suffering caused by war but also to recognize the positive impact that the peace agreement has had on communities across the country.
“Hundreds, even thousands, of people are alive today because of the significant reduction in political violence. Displaced families are returning home to plant crops and rebuild their lives. Humanitarian agencies are reaching more communities in need,” he said.
In recent months, UNMISS said it has witnessed a stalling of the peace process and, worryingly, an escalation in the conflict between armed groups in places such as Jonglei, Unity, and Central Equatoria which has caused many civilian deaths, widespread displacement and the looting and destruction of homes.
Shearer said there is still much work that needs to be done to end the outbreaks of violence and to ensure that there is a truly unified government that makes collaborative decisions in the best interests of its citizens.
“It is only then that South Sudan will truly enjoy the peace and prosperity it deserves,” he said.