Action To Counter Hate Speech Launched In South Sudanese Refugee Camps In Uganda

Community Development Centre a national non-governmental organization operating in several refugee camps in Northern Uganda has launched a new project entitled “Mobilizing Action To Counter Hate Speech (MATCH) for peace aimed at laying strategies to address on line hate speech in the camps.

Action To Counter Hate Speech Launched In South Sudanese Refugee Camps In Uganda
Youth leaders pose for a group photo in Rhino camp in Uganda. [Courtesy|CDC]

By Daniel Friday Martin

ARUA, 14 April 2018 [Gurtong]-
Speaking to Gurtong, the organization’s Executive Director, Sebit Martin says his organization is using a new media technology and innovation to reach South Sudanese in Northern Uganda who are miss-informed by the on-line social media users who continue to incite violence, hatred and tearing communities living in the diaspora using social media plat forms.

He says if no intervention mechanisms are put in place, South Sudanese living in the diapora and those back home will continue to build division and lack peaceful co-existence.

“Today still exists traffic of headlines spreading rumors of war, hate and inflammatory language that incite violence in the camps and South Sudan as well. Through the match for peace, we aim at creating awareness on the dangers of hate speech, educate and support civic actions to mitigate and counter online hate speech in South Sudan and among South Sudanese in the diaspora,”said Sebit.

Sebit says the organization will engage the media houses and carry out mobile forums in reaching out  to the youth groups on the correct usage of social media tools to counter hate so as to restore back the tarnish image of South Sudan.

Sebit says his organization is implementing the defy hate campaign targeting youth groups in the camps and conflict ridden towns  of Yei, Juba and Yambio in South Sudan in a bid to inculcate peace and reconciliation among the youth through positive use of  social media plat forms.

 “We shall conduct meetings with the journalists in South Sudan, conduct radio and TV talk shows and off line campaigns on organized youth clusters in the camps. We are calling on the social media users and the youth to post positive peace messages to re-load the tarnished image of South Sudan and restore peace and unity in South Sudan”.

According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees-UNCHCR, Uganda is hosting one million South Sudanese refugees displaced as a result of the violence that broke out in the country in 2016.

 21 year old Jackson is a South Sudanese refugee social media user. He says most of the South Sudanese youth using social media such as Facebook, whatsapp, messenger and twitter are being misinformed on line with inaccurate information resulting into escalation of violence and hatred among communities both in Uganda and South Sudan.

 “If you get to the social media, you see a lot of pictures and information that is not correct and some of these things contribute to misinformation. Sometimes someone posts information happening somewhere but in reality nothing happened in the place. These are some of the things that contribut to the violence in South Sudan, we need to learn and take responsibility that peace is within us”

Esther City is another South Sudanese young woman accessing information on social media most of her times. She says much of the information circulating online portrays messages of killings and hatrate.

Esther is appealing to her fellow country men and women both in the Diaspora and back in the Country to use the social media as a tool for preaching peace, reconciliation and confidence building.

 “In our country South Sudan, you will find messages of dead bodies and defamation messages posted on line. To me I want people to use Facebook for peace and reconciliation. I want to go to the camps to advise South Sudanese not to misuse social media with messages that create conflict amongst us” said Esther.

Alemin David is a 30 year old South Sudanese refugee living in Rhino camp. He Says South Sudanese leaders and the elites outside and within the country continue to use hate speech that fuel tribal violence among communities.

Alemin urges the country’s leaders to work towards re-building the young generation for peace and unity in diversity to foster national development.

 “The leaders should think about the young generation on how they want their children to be in the future. I am urging them to stop hate speech and restore peace in South Sudan. The conflict in the country has taken a tribal turn and we urge them to look at the beauty of the tribal diversity rather than identification based on tribal lines.”

According to the United Nations high commission for refugees-UNCHCR, Uganda is hosting one million South Sudanese refugees displaced as a result of the violence that broke out in the Country in 2016.


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