U.N. pledges not to give up on South Sudan’s quest for peace

The United Nations will not give up the hope for lasting peace in South Sudan, deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has pledged.

Amina made the remarks in South Sudan’s northwestern city of Wau, where she, alongside three other top women leaders, visited to get a first-hand feel of the effects of the civil war.

Joined by the African Union’s Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security Bineta Diop, and the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Africa Bience Gawanas, Amina met South Sudanese women affected by gender-based violence.

She said the agency had failed so far in bringing peace to the world’s youngest nation, but that there is no giving up.

“Unfortunately, so far we have failed. It’s the truth. So, there is not peace in South Sudan,” she said.

“But as mothers, because of the children, we will not give up. Not on peace. Not from Bineta, from Amina, from Bience: We will not give up on looking for peace for South Sudan.”

South Sudan has been dogged by conflict since December 2013, sparked by a feud between President Salva Kiir and his then deputy Riek Machar. Kiir accused the latter of plotting to overthrow his reign, accusations Machar denied but then went on to mobilize a rebel force to fight the government.

The war has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions others, prompting the UN to rank South Sudan as Africa’s biggest refugee crisis, coming third worldwide after Syria and Afghanistan.

In her visit, Amina urged the country’s women not to give up hope for peace.

“You must not be tired. You must have hope. We must find ways to close the gap between the tragedy today, and your dream of tomorrow,” she said.

South Sudan will celebrate its seventh independence anniversary on 9 July. This will come on the back of a ceasefire deal signed late last month, but which has already been violated, with both factions throwing the blame at the other.