KAIROS partner, South Sudan Council of Churches responds to latest peace plan in South Sudan
As a Church, we believe that peace is not something on paper. Peace is a practical reality on the ground.” This time the peace agreement must not be allowed to fail. This time they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hook (Isaiah 2:4).
South Sudan Council of Churches statement on the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, October 4, 2018
South Sudan has been one of the deadliest conflicts in the world. According the UN over 50,000 people have died since 2013 and this estimate is considered low. Some 4.5 million South Sudanese have become refugees and internally displaced by the war. A recent study estimates that some 383,000 South Sudanese have died as a result of both direct conflict as well as from war-related factors including food insecurity, homelessness, overcrowding in temporary camps, lack of health services, etc.
Since 2013 there have been several failed peace agreements. A new peace agreement, the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (Revialtized-ARCSS) signed September 12, 2018 between the Government of South Sudan and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement – In Opposition National Liberation Council (SPLM-IO NCL) during the 33rd Extraordinary Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is the latest effort at conflict resolution. There is substantive skepticism around yet another peace agreement with similar stakeholders to previous failed agreements.
Yet KAIROS partner, the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) will not give up on peace. They have issued a statement on the new peace agreement, using it as an opportunity to speak about their desire for real peace and what it entails:
Stopping the violence is indeed the first step, but the conflicts in South Sudan have deep roots. We believe that signing the Revitalized ARCSS is only a first step. Once the guns are truly silent, the real peace process will begin. The roots of the conflict must be addressed, honestly and transparently, and there must be all inclusive and impartial dialogue. Reconciliation must begin, at all levels. Impunity must be stopped. The narrative of violence and revenge must be replaced by a narrative of peace and love.
The SSCC has also used this occasion to launch their new Action Plan for Peace (APP), a program supported by KAIROS.
SSCC’s Action Plan for Peace (APP) and National Women’s Programme are supported through KAIROS’ recently launched the Women of Courage: Women, Peace and Security program. The uniquely positioned Church through its APP focuses on convening neutral fora between groups in conflict for community conversations to build trust where victims and combatants are heard. SSCC writes in its new APP:
We once again offer the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) Action Plan for Peace (APP) as a contribution to long term lasting peace. Through advocacy we will help to change the narrative. Through our neutral forum dialogues we will address the root causes of the conflicts, build trust, and seek a South Sudanese solution to our problems.
Such work is conducted through the regional offices of SSCC as well as state and county level Inter-Church Committees (ICCs) of local SSCC members with peace facilitators at the grassroots level. Women are key to such community peacebuilding leaderships as they come together to pray, as champions for peace and as agents of trauma healing and resilience in their communities.
 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine