Bishop Paride Taban (L) leads UNMISS Coordinator, Ms. Hiroko Hirahara Mosko (R) to the celebration venue in Kapoeta. [Peter L. Nakimangole]
By Peter Lokale Nakimangole
TORIT, 18 September (Gurtong) – Supported by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Tuesday celebrations were organized in collaboration with Kuron Peace Village under the guidance of Emeritus Lordship Bishop Paride Taban.
Attending the colourful event were the UNMISS Coordinator, Ms. Hiroko Hirahara Mosko along with the state Deputy Governor, Jerome Gama Surur and various ministers.
The UNMISS Coordinator explained that the General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
She expressed her gratefulness on behalf of UN particularly the UNMISS to have witness the celebrations at the peace village; Kuron, saying this comes at the time when the people of South Sudan need peace.
Mosko briefly revisited with clear clarification on how the day came into existence and how important it is and what price people look for it in order to finally achieve.
She said that UNMISS is committed to support the state government to provide peace in the state and that is why it has organized the colourfully celebrations at Kuron Peace Village.
The leader clarified that the Day was supposed to be held comes Saturday 21 September 2013 but because it was unanimously chosen to precede for 17 September, Kuron hosted it.
The Emeritus Lordship Bishop Paride Taban of the Catholic Diocese of Torit, was the Organizing Chairperson and on behalf of Kuron Peace Village, welcomed the delegations.
“Am very grateful for your coming here. We are in place is called Nyauluka. This place before was the place of Elephants and Buffaloes. It was difficult to penetrate it,” he expressed as he welcomed the guests to the venue and the entire Kuron Peace Village.
Director for Holy Trinity Kuron Peace Village, Ezra Remo Weleya Modi, who was the event Master of Ceremony, equally took the pleasure welcoming the joint delegation which was attended by Caritas Organization group.
He introduced the Kuron Boma Chief, Leopold Lopwon, who expressed his gratitude on behalf of his administration and the people of the Boma, to the both UNMISS and the state government officials along with the area partners.
Observed in September 1982 for the first time, International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution number 36/67 of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September, the Coordinator explained as she delivered the colourful celebrations at Kuron Youth Centre in Kuron Boma, Kapoeta East County.
She narrated that unanimous vote adopted a resolution No.55/282 by the UN General Assembly, establishing 21 September as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire in 2001.
The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.
The guests were led to the main celebrations site; Kuron Youth Centre via Kuron foot bridge and immediately after an enthusiastic audience, the National Anthem was sung led by St. Thomas Peace Primary School.
Speaking at the celebrations held at Kuron Youth Centre, the state Deputy Governor Surur who conveyed his boss Governor Louis Lobong Lojore’s warm greetings and congratulated the Community for being the luckiest to witness the 32nd Anniversary of International Peace Day.
He urged the Community of Toposa in Kuron along with its neighbours to embrace unity and encouraged the audience to be peaceful and work together to ensure favourable atmosphere for peace as that has been the task the state government looks forward to attain.
The host Commissioner Titus Lokwacuma Loteam equally appreciated the hospitability of the Kuron community as he heartened them to maintain the same spirit underscoring the importance of making peace among the communities surrounding the region.
Lokwacuma pledged his continuous support to the Kuron Boma asking them to join hands for unity with other neighbours.
At the end of the two-hour celebrations, the state Deputy Governor Surur on behalf of the government donated 5,000 South Sudan Pounds for celebrations which immediately received thunderous applause from the audience.
In February, South Sudan’s Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban won the U.N. peace prize in recognition of his efforts to build trust among warring communities.
Bishop Paride was on February 9 awarded the Sergio Viera de Mello Price on his efforts and accomplishments in building trust and peace between different communities in the Holy Trinity Peace Village in Kuron.
The Bishop devoted himself selflessly during two decades of civil war, in some of the most trying situations serving communities, being one of their staunchest advocates, as well as reconciling them and promoting peace between them.
Set up in 2005, the village brings together people from different tribes and faiths that have been in conflict for years over cattle rustling.
A Brazilian, Vieira de Mello, the U.N.’s former human rights chief, was killed in a bombing in Iraq in 2003.
The prize is awarded annually to an individual, community or institution seen as having made an exceptional contribution to reconciliation of communities or groups in conflict, and whose example can be duplicated elsewhere.
The jury includes the U.N.’s refugee agency and human rights chiefs and the Bishop received a symbolic sum of 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,500, 4,000 euros) - from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon at a March 1 ceremony in Geneva.
Other officials present during the celebrations in Kuron included the State Local Government, Law Enforcement and Wildlife Environment Minister Charles Lokonoi Ambrose, the State Health Minister Dr. Margaret Itto Leonardo, Education, Science & Technology and Youth & Sports Minister Michael Lopuke Lotyam and Kapoeta East County Commissioner Titus Lokwacum Loteam.