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July 26, 2016

yudithSOUTH SUDAN - Interview with Sr. Yudith Pereira Rico – Solidarity South Sudan Coordinator.


1) What were their impressions of the situation, and why did the leave?
Impressions: The conflict in Juba seems to be well planned, and the leaders of both parts where calling to their own military followers. Army members, and state workers, have not received their salaries regurlarly, this along with the huge inflation and insecurity worsens the military and political conflict. The ethnical component seems to be more and more strong, and the current ceasefire, could be followed by more conflict. The risk of reproducing a conflict like Rwanda -Burundi is very possible. South Sudan was formed before the people had a consciousness of being one people. The tribal mentality prevails.

Why I left; my working base is Rome and I visit our communities and projects in South Sudan twice a year. I was finishing my visit when we were trapped by the conflict in Juba. The organisation tried to evacuate all visitors. Our communities remain with the projects open.

2) What do people outside South Sudan need to know about the situation — the key fact that perhaps is missing in media coverage?

– The extreme poverty  of the people after years of war, with a  prevailing tribal mentality that sees other tribes as enemies, and making them not ready to unite as one people.
. The business of selling weapons to them by many countries that also want to help in the peace process: it is a huge incoherence of the international community.
. Sudan profiting from fees for transporting oil,
. Weapons are everywhere, in every family. Everybody has had casualties in conflicts, and justice has never been done. Because of lack of justice, revenge prevails.
. People and leaders are traumatised by so many years of war.
– The role of women bearing the charge of the family, suffering as targets in war, but also being the ones most interested in peace, education and health for their own families.
3) What is the role of the church and sisters in particular in the ongoing process to create peace, stability and justice in South Sudan?
The church, alone and with other churches sends continuous messages to denounce the violence and calling for unity, dialogue and peace. The local churches have the power on communities.  At the same time, is providing assistance to displaced, schooling, and health through many institutions, many of them owned by sisters. Sisters in South Sudan hold institutions and programs that take care directly of people, in education , health, women empowerment,  agriculture, peace building and trauma healing.  The religious in South Sudan, are witnesses of unity  being  themselves foreigners and diverse, they witness  unconditional service and love for the most vulnerable,  even risking their lives and integrity . They give hope to the people and reveal the dignity every person.

Source: internationalunionsuperiorsgeneral.org, July 18, 2016

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