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For residents of Tonj North county, Warrap, International Day of Peace led to a much-needed boost in rule of law as UNMISS handed over a newly constructed prison and courthouse. Photo by Zejin Yin/UNMISS

 

International Peace Day was an opportunity for communities from the conflict-ridden Tonj North county in Warrap, South Sudan, to come together in a commemoration organized jointly by state authorities and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

This significant Day was marked by the handover of a newly constructed prison and courthouse in Warrap town.

Speaking at the event, Anastasie Nyirigira, Head of the UNMISS Field Office in the state accentuated the importance of the new facilities. ”This prison and courthouse will provide a much-needed boost to rule of law here and ensure that justice is delivered swiftly and promptly, while suspects are treated with due respect to their human rights. There can be no peace without justice,” she stated.

“More importantly, it is a symbol of the government and UNMISS’ joint commitment to ensuring that we do everything we can to mitigate the impact of conflict on residents,” added Ms. Nyirigira.

The handover ceremony also included a discussion-based element where community members held free and frank conversations about the challenges they face, the immense impact of frequent violence and insecurity as well as their firm hope that peaceful coexistence and reconciliation is the only way forward for residents to lead prosperous lives in future.

Women, men and youth representatives spoke about their individual efforts to build peace from the ground up: Providing sanctuary for displaced individuals, refraining from retaliatory measures against other communities, and bolstering community policing efforts to protect civilians.

"I have never abandoned my house during a conflict and have always accommodated anybody seeking shelter here. I always do my best to assist them and I encourage other women representatives to do the same,” said Mary Ayii Agim, a women’s representative.  

For his part, Sultan Ayii Agiim Ayii, a traditional leader explained how community police work with local law enforcement officials and assist in creating a safe, secure environment for residents.

“During recent clashes, I mobilized 51 men who are trained in community policing to recover stolen livestock which were then returned to their rightful owners,” he averred.

The new infrastructure was constructed under the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) programme. These are small-scale projects funded by UNMISS that address urgent public needs and have a massively positive impact on people’s lives.

The construction was done by local implementing partner MADA Development South Sudan. - Zejin Yin, United Nations Mission in South Sudan

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