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Activists call for local dialogues to end sub-national violence at grassroots level

Civil society activists have called on the transitional government to promote peace and reconciliation through dialogues at grass roots level amid sporadic inter-communal violence across the country.

Gordon Lam, the Executive Director for Dialogue and Research Institute on Thursday, said there is need to encourage peace and reconciliation among warring communities to avoid recurring local conflicts from derailing peace implementation.

“Peace building is a task that needs coordination, we are struggling to make peace with our communities, we still have sub-national violence across the country and we have human rights violations through rape and also through displacement,” Lam told journalists during the opening of the national advocacy forum for advancing peace opportunities in Unity state in Juba.

“We have returnees that are seeking to return back home and we have people who are still being fed by international community, we have children who need education and we have people who are seeking justice and accountability,” he said.

Lam said they have been working to promote and encourage peace among communities within the last three years in Unity State.

He said localized peace building initiatives such as theirs can be replicated elsewhere across the country.

James Oyet, the Secretary General for South Sedan Council of Churches, said there is need to create space for community dialogue, adding that some of the problems can easily be resolved through dialogue.

“We need to create space for community dialogue, we can solve our problems without going to the neighbors, the communities have answers to some of the issues that they face, let us look at peace not as a project but as a process,” Oyet said.

Pia Philip, the Undersecretary at the National Ministry of Peacebuilding, said that peace building can be achieved through collective efforts of the national institutions.

“We always believe that the national institutions are the ones that will take this country forward because they are doing it from their hearts, they know the pain of their people and they are taking the right steps,” Philip said.

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