South Sudan Update

Update from Tiffany Easthom, County Director, South Sudan

 

I am writing to you from Rebecca’s bedside. Rebecca is seven years old. After her parents and two brothers were killed, she was shot and left for dead. A neighbor found her and brought her to us in a wheelbarrow. We are protecting her as we search for responsible family members. 

Rebecca’s story is repeated thousands of times a day here in South Sudan.

We are challenged every moment. My heart breaks at the enormity of the suffering. Yet, I am glad that we decided to stay here. I am humble about what we are able to do, yet I know that our work is life saving for Rebecca and so many more.

NP continues to protect civilians here. We continue to work, even while a handful of political rivals push the country into a destructive civil war. This has unraveled years of progress we’ve made towards peace and development. 

Our work includes:

  • Patrolling and protecting displaced people both inside a UN camp and for conflict affected communities throughout the capitol, Juba. Tensions are rising here. Gunfire erupts every night.
  • Helping reunite children like Rebecca with their families.
  • Re-establishing unarmed peacekeeping teams in Unity State where the majority of oil is located, and in Lakes State where thousands of people are arriving in search of safety every day.

NP continues to work on the important task of bringing women into the peace process, from the grassroots level, all the way to the national negotiations. WOMEN ARE CRITICAL FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE.

At the displaced persons camp in Juba, we are supporting women to take leadership roles in their immediate environment. This is critical, as the specific security needs of women within the camp are addressed poorly, if at all. On account of cultural traditions, the leadership structure in the camp is all men, but the women are setting up a parallel structure. This structure has the same number of members and the same frequency of meetings (every 2 days). These women are working with our teams in the direct protection of people under threat.

This builds on the successful work we have fostered with women’s peacekeeping teams in several locations around the country, over the past three years.

Your support, thoughts, and prayers continue to be vitally necessary for our peacekeepers, partners and the people we serve.

Date Published: 
Wednesday, January 15, 2014