Press Clip Source: Gurtong.net Date: November 1, 2015Written by: Mabor Riak MagokRead original article: Here
The Nonviolent Peaceforce South Sudan a non-profit organisation last week trained 50 women on peace keeping in Rumbek Lakes State.
RUMBEK, 30 October 2015 [Gurtong] - The organisation brought together participants from affected communities of Rumbek Centre and Rumbek East Counties.
Addressing the participants during the workshop the Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement Agency, Samuel Will Machiek urged the women in Pandor to refrains from instigating and inciting violence in their respective communities, saying that the community is losing potential youth for no good reason.
He urged the women to embrace and adopt a culture of peace dialogue or discussion starting from the family level between their husbands and children at home and extend this spirit up to the group level in the Payams and villages where revenge killings and cattle raiding is imminently experienced.
Press Clip Source: Sudan Tribune Date: January 4, 2016Written by: STRead original article: Here
January 4, 2016 (KAMPALA) - At least 13 children who had been separated by the violent conflict in South Sudan were reunited with parents at the end of December last year.
According to the United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF), over 3,300 children have since been reunited with their parents in the aftermath of the civil war in the different part of the country.
Among those who joined their parents, UNICEF said, were Khan, Delanga and Nyakuar. The trio from Akobo county of Jonglei state were reunited with their parents last week.
“As the UN helicopter takes off, Khan whispers to his sister that he’s scared. She replies that he’ll soon see his mother and father again, for the first time in years. Then a big smile comes across Khan’s face as he looks out the window and sees the ground moving beneath him,” the agency said in a report.
“I never thought I would see my children ever again, neither did I think my children were still alive. I am the happiest man in the world and thank you humanitarians for making this possible. I will forever be grateful” – Father in South Sudan.
On 15 December 2013, conflict engulfed South Sudan and the country was split along ethnic lines. In Bor, there were extremely violent clashes in which both Dinka and Nuer civilians were targeted and killed. Large areas of Borwere destroyed and nearly the entire population displaced. A large population of predominately displaced Nuer civilians sought protection in the United Nations base – known now as a Protection of Civilian site (PoC). Since the beginning of the year, Bor Town has witnessed the slow return of displaced Dinka civilians; however, the Nuer population has remained fearful of moving outside the protection site.
Since the conflict began, Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) has registered a large number of separated and unaccompanied children in the Bor protection site. Many of these children have been separated from their families and caregivers since the start of the civil war. NP works continuously to reunify these unaccompanied children with their families.
Recently, NP successfully reunified 18 separated and unaccompanied children from the Bor protection site with their parents in Akobo, Jonglei State. This can be a treacherous journey as it requires moving the children through both government and opposition-controlled territories. However, we were able to ensure the reunification ran smoothly, by working closely and coordinating with local authorities, UNICEF, and Save the Children.
In principle, the German opposition party “Die Linke” objects to military operations in foreign policy. However, the question of how to respond to civil war remains to be answered. Recently, it has been found that many projects have shown what could be possible if German foreign policy prioritized more than just military solutions as a response to crises and conflicts worldwide. Kathrin Vogler and Jan van Aden (‘Die Linke’ Parliamentarians), invited Brigitte Hinteregger and Stephanie Buljugic, two civil conflict resolution practitioners, for a discussion of this issue. “When talking about Civil Conflict Resolution the term often stays unwieldy and unclear,” said Kathrin Vogler. “In reality this work is very fascinating, challenging and, even if this is not well known, very successful.”
Brigitte Hinteregger, a trainer for Conflict and Crisis Management, shared her experience about her work in traumain civil conflict resolution projects in Liberia and South Sudan. In Liberia, for example, approximately 250,000 of its four million citizens lost their lives during the 14 years of civil war.
Press Clip Source: Pax Christi Peace StoriesDate: November 30, 2016Written by:Bishop Kevin Dowling, Co-President of Pax Christi InternationalRead original article: Here.
I begin with the well-known text from Micah (6:8): “... this is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God...”
Who will ever forget the witness of over 1 million Filipinos, accompanied by priests and nuns kneeling on the ground in prayer (and soldiers who refused to intervene or act against them) – a peaceful protest leading to the downfall of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986? How did this happen? Firstly, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, an ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to nonviolent social change, led dozens of nonviolent action workshops across the Philippines. After attending a workshop, Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila joined with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in calling for a “nonviolent struggle for justice.” These training workshops, along with a sophisticated election-monitoring mission led by nuns and priests, paved the way for the mass “people power” movement that prevented Marcos from stealing the 1986 presidential elections. The people challenged violence with nonviolent resistance – and won, and Marcos and his wife left the country.
Fast forward to 2014. In mid-2014, women living in the Bentiu Protection of Civilians area in South Sudan alerted the Nonviolent Peaceforce team living there that women were being raped and sometimes gang-raped by soldiers when they went out to gather firewood and water. The women reported that sometimes the soldiers would describe the assaults as part of their job.
Often older women took on these jobs to protect the younger ones, and hopefully to decrease the likelihood of attack. So these women had to choose between their personal safety and providing for their families’ basic needs. Nonviolent Peaceforce began accompanying the women when they left the camp, sending 2 or more trained civilian protectors along with them. In the year after this accompaniment was offered to the people, no woman was attacked when accompanied. Instead, the soldiers looked the other way.
By Corrie Cron, Project Coordinator for Civic Engagement for Nonviolent Peaceforce in South Sudan
An internship during graduate school can be incredibly important. It can be your first entry into the actual field of where you want to work. Whichever organization you join can influence who you meet, what kind of work you'll do and, often, what jobs you'll be considered for in the future.
I began an internship with Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) in December 2014 at the head office, located in Brussels, Belgium. I had never heard of the organization before I saw the posting for a Communications Intern. I went to the interview trying to manage my expectations, but what I found out was that the things I was passionate about and the things that drew me into the humanitarian field were mirrored in this organization. They were passionate about peacebuilding, community dialogue, empowering women, but not trying to radically change a host country’s culture. They built relationships with all sides of a conflict and believed in sharing information and equipping others. Before the end of the interview I was hooked. Thankfully, they offered me the position.
Press Clip Source: takepart.com Date: December 9, 2015Written by: Fellipe AbreuRead original article: Here
As herds of cattle come and go on a narrow trail across a row of huts made from straw, mud, and wood, they pass a boy of about 15 sleeping in a chair near the main entrance. He is wearing black pants, rubber sandals, and an Ethiopian soccer team shirt. In his lap: an AK-47 rifle folding stock.
We are in Ulang—capital of Upper Nile state, in northern South Sudan—a region dominated by the Nuer ethnic group, which is opposed to the government, the Dinkas. Such masonry construction is where the opposition is headquartered, and the boy is one of the bodyguards. The region, historically a stronghold of the Nuer, lived in relative tranquillity until May 2014, when it was attacked by Dinka troops, resulting in dozens of deaths. Soon after, Ulang militarized.
Civil war has raged since December 2013, and approximately 16,000 children have been forcibly recruited by government forces and the opposition, according to the United Nations. Although the country's government and opposition signed a peace treaty in August of this year—and both sides have committed to not recruiting children and young people as soldiers—the cease-fire has been neglected, and thousands of children continue to face the battlefield.
Thursday, February 25th, the UN Security General Ban Ki-moon visited the UN Protection of Civilian (POC) Camps and specifically emphasized the need for peace agreements and their implementation in South Sudan. Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) was invited together with other humanitarian actors who are involved in delivering services to the Juba POC camps. The Security General stated that he would do his best to support the peace process being implemented, and he also wanted to thank all the respective agencies providing protection to civilians in those camps.
This visit follows the appointment by Ban Ki-moon of a ‘High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations,’ this past October, which concluded that “Unarmed strategies must be at the forefront of UN efforts to protect civilians. ”
In the picture above you see South Sudan Country Director Aseervatham Florington attending a conference with UN Security General Ban Ki Moon in Juba, South Sudan this past Thursday.
Nonviolent Peaceforce was invited to attend as an organization providing services and protection to internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing in the UN Protection of Civilian Camps (POCs).
Press Clip Source: Humanitarian Practice NetworkDate: January 2017Written by:Tiffany EasthomRead original article: Here.
As violence continues in South Sudan, the protection of civilians has become the central issue. With millions of people displaced from their homes, sheltering in Protection of Civilians (POC) sites on UN bases and in remote villages and swamps across the country, providing effective protection programming is the ultimate Sisyphean challenge. Despite a billion-dollar UN mission with 13,000 armed peacekeepers, ordinary South Sudanese continue to lose their lives at an alarming rate. It is essential to recognise the need to continue to evolve the practice of direct protection, recognising the limitations of what can be done in complex conflict, while assertively looking to scale up what is working and adapt established approaches to address the changing realities of contemporary conflict. This article provides a brief look at one emerging approach to direct protection work, unarmed civilian protection (UCP).
Press Clip Source: ReliefWebDate: March 31, 2017Written by:US Agency for International DevelopmentRead original article: Here.
It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. In the case of conflict-affected communities, it often takes that same village to ensure that children are protected and provided access to critical services. In South Sudan, USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) partner Nonviolent Peaceforce is building local child protection capacity in northern Jonglei State.
In Jonglei’s Waat and surrounding villages, Nonviolent Peaceforce has facilitated trainings on child protection in emergencies for Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs) and Women’s Peacekeeping Teams (WPTs). Through these workshops, Nonviolent Peaceforce teaches community members about child rights and the impact of child labor, conflict, and child soldier recruitment on children’s development.
It has been six years and five months since I joined the Nonviolent Peaceforce family. It all started in Sri Lanka way back in May of 2009, just after my voluntary assignments in Pakistan and Nigeria with Volunteer Service Overseas as a Human Rights and Policy Advocacy Advisor. In the beginning, it was a great challenge adjusting to my responsibilities at NP, which were very different from what I was doing before. My work now consisted of: accompanying vulnerable people to travel safely from place to place, providing proactive presence 24/7 for injured patients being threatened by tribal violence in the hospital, foot patrol, and Family Tracing and Reunification. Although this was a new experience for me, as a member of NP I had to fulfill my assigned duties ̶ regardless of personal internal fears or doubts. Thankfully, with the support of community members and NP staff, I have been able to overcome my fears and excel as a member of the NP family. As I always say to my colleagues in both Sri Lanka and South Sudan, “life is simple... it is just we who make it complicated...” Meaning if you define your goals, stay focused, and most importantly put your heart into your work, everything will be fine.
Location: Juba, South Sudan
By Nonviolent Peaceforce Office in South Sudan
The establishment of Community Protection Teams (CPTs) in a Juba's Protection of Civilians sites stems from a "community engagement strategy." Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) began implementing this strategy last year in the Juba Protection of Civilians site. Our contacts with both women and youth leadership were established through different activities, following the framework of the community engagement strategy. This included activities such as recreational and sports activities, workshops, focus group discussions and so forth.
We acknowledged that both youth, including children, and women were among the groups most affected by violence and insecurity (either as victims/survivors or perpetrators). We were also aware that these specific community members perceived that they were poorly represented in the community-led management of the camp affairs. Additionally, they felt they had minimal participation in the local structures of power and decision-making processes.
Over the past few months, the Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) Bor team in South Sudan has been working with a group of adolescent girls in Bor Town. The NP Bor team efforts focus on supporting them in addressing protection challenges they face in their community.
A couple of protection issues the girls face relate to gathering water from the borehole in the community. At times, the girls need to gather water from the borehole at night and they are at risk of being abused by men drinking in the area. Secondly, a very large community is sharing just one borehole, giving rise to conflicts. For instance, one girl was slapped when she politely told another woman not to jump the queue. The girls recently requested an opportunity to present their protection concerns in the bi-monthly chiefs meeting. The bi-monthly chiefs' meeting is an NP-sponsored forum that hosts many of the leaders in Bor Town. For the past year, the NP team has been convening local government officials, humanitarian partners, and the block leaders/chiefs of Bor Town for bi-monthly meetings to create a regular forum for dialogue.
In September 2015, Nonviolent Peaceforce South Sudan conducted a Capacities and Vulnerabilities Assessment (CVA) in Wau Shilluk, Malakal County, Upper Nile State. This assessment is an important first step to identify the site’s security so Nonviolent Peaceforce can effectively design a new targeted protection program to maximize positive impact for local populations.
The mission led by Nonviolent Peaceforce's Britt Sloan (Area Program Coordinator, Border Region) and Yannick Creoff (Protection Officer) was conducted as a protection assessment in advance of proposed NP programming on the west bank of the Nile. NP had previously visited Wau Shilluk in May 2015. The CVA aimed to further investigate changes in the local context of the village, deepen understanding of community dynamics, and update NP information regarding protection threats, vulnerabilities, and capacities of the local community.
With the outbreak of South Sudan’s civil war at the end of 2013, Malakal and the surrounding areas of Upper Nile State witnessed massive fighting, displacing tens of thousands of civilians across the Nile River to villages along the west bank. Wau Shilluk, previously a small Shilluk community of some 4,000 residents approximately 12 kilometers north of Malakal, became the main Shilluk internally displaced persons (IDP) settlement. As of May 2015, the community had reached an estimated population of 40,000 individuals.
By Jiro O'Kada, International Protection Officer for Nonviolent Peaceforce in South Sudan.
The current chapter of my life in South Sudan began with the Nonviolent Peaceforce’s global partnership, a precursor to the current NP Alliance, which connected me through a member group in Japan.I found an internship opportunity with NP headquarters in Brussels in 2012 through one of NP’s member organizations* in Japan. Before joining the team I had an opportunity to visit Nonviolent Peaceforce’s program in South Sudan, where I learned the practice of unarmed civilian protection (UCP) in the field. This experience provided me with valuable exposure to the many dedicated individuals who are striving for peace.
After this trip, I joined the program management team in Brussels, which supports the operation of country programs worldwide. As a program assistant intern, I learned about NP’s global-scale humanitarian mission first-hand by assisting in tasks such as field to headquarters communication, grant management, and training development for new field staff.
Press Clip Source: The Star Online Date: November 1, 2015Written by: Dariusz DziewanskiRead original article: Here
A WIDE, infectious smile spreads across Rocky George Ambago’s face when he talks about his work. Through his role with the Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP) in South Sudan, Ambago helps to champion an innovative model of peacekeeping called unarmed civilian protection (UCP). The non-profit organisation trains civilians to play a role similar to that of peacekeepers.
Ambago is committed to bringing peace to his native country. Before joining the NP, he spent almost 10 years fleeing conflict in his homeland. After long periods of exile in the Central African Republic, Democratic of Congo, and Uganda, he was offered resettlement in Canada but refused to leave.
“What am I going to do outside, when my country needs me?” he explains. Instead, he returned to South Sudan.
Ambago and his team work to save lives largely by monitoring warring groups and using their presence to exert social pressure so that would-be perpetrators of violence are more likely to act peacefully. NP-trained personnel also act as protective escorts for individuals – for instance, the displaced or those seeking medical attention – who might be threatened by violence.
This is the trailer for A la poursuite de la paix - the French version of In Pursuit of Peace. This riveting 86-minute feature documentary film makes the case for unarmed civilian peacemaking and mediation as a response to violent international conflict.
We follow four Canadian peacemakers as they take us inside the drama of their work in some of the word's hottest conflict zones – land disputes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the civil war in South Sudan, IDP camps with displaced minorities in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq and stories of mediation in Darfur, Nepal and Aceh. As we follow our protagonists, we share their challenges and their hopes as they work to create alternative responses to war and violence.
The English version will be released in the spring of 2016.
In July 2016, the capital airport in South Sudan was targeted during an outbreak of violence. An internally displaced persons camp was temporarily erected in an adjacent location. More than 3500 civilians took shelter at the camp between July and September. Nonviolent Peaceforce regularly patrolled the camp to prevent violence against civilians.
On September 15th, Nonviolent Peaceforce was patrolling the camp, when we were approached by a Nuer man, John.* John was towing a 10-year-old boy who he had found with a group of Nuer children. The children were trying to get him to play but he was unresponsive. Sensing something was wrong, John tried greeting the boy in his native language. Getting no reply, he tried greeting the boy in Dinka and the boy immediately responded.
John realized the boy was in danger as minority Dinka amongst a large Nuer population. Tensions between Dinka and Nuer were extremely high in the capital, after fighting in July killed hundreds of civilians within days. Being a child does not exclude one from being the victim of brutal targeted violence. During South Sudan's civil war, UNICEF has reported boys being castrated and left to bleed to death, girls as young as eight being raped and murdered and children being thrown into burning buildings.
Press Clip Source: International Peace Institute Date: September 15,2015Read original article: HereWatch the webscast: Here
Youssef Mahmoud told an IPI audience September 15th that “unarmed protection is not about the presence or the absence of arms,” in UN peacekeeping activities, but rather, “this is about a culture, a way of going about addressing the vulnerabilities of civilians in armed conflict.”
Mr. Mahmoud serves as a member of the High-Level Independent Panel that recommended UN Peace Operations “become more field-focused” and “people-centered.” These recommendations emerged in the report that gave prominence to unarmed protection of civilians, he said.
This people-centered re-focus in the Secretariat will be necessary for the UN to adapt as civilians and UN personnel are increasingly targeted in the field. By developing a relationship of trust with the populations where the UN deploys, Mr. Mahmoud said, the UN will be enabled to design “more effective protection of civilians, but also a better protection of Peacekeepers themselves.”
Press Clip Source: The GuardianDate: January 16, 2017Written by:Ben Quinn Read original article: Here.
For women who routinely run the gauntlet of harassment and sexual violence, Malakal protection of civilians camp has roundly failed to live up to its name.
It is late afternoon when the white Jeep pulls up outside a compound attached to one of the largest camps for families fleeing South Sudan’s civil war. Accompanied by two UN police officers, a woman steps out and walks briskly past a rusty shipping container holding the man who allegedly raped her less than 24 hours earlier.
In a country where UN investigators say sexual violence remains ignored despite having reached “epic proportions” – one survey found 70% of women in such camps said they had been raped since conflict erupted in December 2013 – this is a rare example of action being taken.
The alleged incident illustrates not just the bleak reality facing women at the sprawling Malakal protection of civilians (PoC) camp, but also the shortcomings of international peacekeepers and the makeshift nature of justice at what is supposedly a place of safety for 33,000 people.
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