Peacebuilding; South Sudan; Indigenous Issues; Rwanda

Peacebuilding: The United Nations is determined to do everything possible to assist societies torn by war from sliding back into conflict, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told an audience in the United States capital today, adding that while there have been setbacks, peacebuilding remains a crucial element of the world body’s efforts.

In a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D. C., Mr. Ban highlighted the work of the UN’s 16 peacekeeping operations and 15 political missions in the area of peacebuilding – a core mandate of the Organization.  He said the UN’s experience has brought many lessons, including that there is no fixed sequencing among preventive diplomacy, peacebuilding and peacekeeping, and that peacebuilding is a task for many actors.

Other lessons are that national ownership and leadership are critical, as witnessed in peacebuilding success stories such as Timor-Leste; that even certain staples of post-conflict activity can go wrong; that peacebuilding needs to be incorporated more fully into development cooperation; and, that it is crucial that resources can be provided quickly in response to fleeting windows of opportunity.  “The inclusion of women in peace processes and post-conflict planning is fundamental for their legitimacy – and for the results to take hold,” Mr. Ban added.

South Sudan:
The state of Jonglei in South Sudan has the opportunity to start “a new chapter of peace,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson, said today, during the signing of resolutions to end violence among the state’s six main communities. Ms. Johnson stressed that lasting peace can only happen when comprehensive solutions to the challenges of Jonglei have been found, when security institutions are being established, and protection for the people is in place.

The chiefs of the six communities involved – Dinka, Kachipo, Jie, Nuer, Anyuak and Murle – expressed their commitment to complete the ongoing civilian disarmament, and their appreciation for the responsible conduct of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) during the campaign.

Indigenous Issues:
Five years after the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted, a great deal remains to be done to realize the objectives contained in that landmark document, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today at the opening of the 11th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, at UN Headquarters in New York.

Issues to be discussed during the session include the rights of indigenous peoples to food and food sovereignty, the situation of indigenous peoples in places such as Central and Eastern Europe, the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples slated for 2014, and the special theme of “Doctrine of Discovery” – the way courts justified the annexing of indigenous lands – and the right to redress for past conquests.

Nine judges were sworn-in today to be part of the mechanism set up in 2010 to finish the work of the United Nations tribunal dealing with the worst war crimes committed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.  Judges Florence Arrey, Solomy B. Bossa, Vagn Prüsse Joensen, Gberdao G. Kam, Joseph C. Masanche, Lee Muthoga, Seon K. Park, Mparany M. R. Rajohnson, and William H. Sekule were each sworn in to the International Residual Mechanism of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), based in Arusha, Tanzania.