The winner of the global Women Building Peace Award says the peace process in South Sudan should be about ending the suffering of the people and not sharing political positions.
Ms Rita Lopidia argues that that the agreement should provide solutions to problems facing ordinary people.
“Let us give peace a chance – a peace that is not about positions but a peace that will put the people of South Sudan first,” stresses
On Tuesday, the U.S. Institute of Peace declared Ms Lopidia the winner of the inaugural award during a virtual ceremony in Washington DC.
She’s the executive director of Eve – an organization that focuses on peace, security, women empowerment and development issues in South Sudan.
The award recognizes the vital efforts of individual women pursuing peace in fragile or conflict-affected countries around the world.
Ms. Lopidia led a coalition of women’s organizations to champion women’s participation in the 2018 revitalized peace agreement in South Sudan, and her organization supports women displaced by South Sudan’s conflict.
She is also said to have advocated for the development of the South Sudan United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 National Action Plan and gender-sensitive legislation in her own country.
Speaking in Juba on Wednesday, Ms Lopidia used the occasion to appeal for dialogue in addressing all forms of violence across the country.
“To our leaders – I want to send a message that let’s us put an end to the hostilities. Let’s dialogue. Enough is enough…of the suffering of the people of South Sudan,” she stated.
According to the U.S. Institute of Peace, Ms Lopidia was among more than 150 women nominated for their peace-building efforts in 51 countries.
She was also nominated in 2018 for the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
South Sudanese leaders inked the revitalized peace agreement in September 2018 – a deal which focuses on power sharing among the parties.
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Published Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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