Countering Identity Violence South Sudan
Find out about some of our prevention and human rights work in
Youth Leadership in South Sudan
Human Rights education, attitude and behaviour change.
Hate-based violence is a key precursor to genocide. Due to ongoing ethnic conflict, South Sudan is currently a country of ‘serious concern’ of mass atrocities. Addressing divisions can help to prevent further escalation.
The South Sudan Youth Peace and Development Organisation (SSYPADO) engages youth in inter-ethnic dialogue and peace-building. Rights for Peace is supporting human rights training and youth initiatives challenging hate speech.
Many of the young leaders grew up during the independence wars and still live in displacement camps. Although the risk of wide-scale violence has reduced, deep prejudice and mistrust can escalate over unresolved grievances. Gender-based violence is also socially tolerated and fuelled by prejudice and stereotyping. Youth-led initiatives across South Sudan and Northern Uganda are designed to challenge prejudice and misinformation, promoting dialogue. Watch a short film on how South Sudanese youth are countering identity violence here.
Learning from Youth as Peace Builders
Youth involvement in peace and capacity-building processes.
Following our two-year project working with SSYPADO and various youth from across South Sudan, we developed a report which shares lessons learned from the project and amplifies effective strategies to counter issues of inter-ethnic conflict and identity-based violence (IBV) in South Sudan. The report exhibits the issues of IBV currently occurring in South Sudan and it highlights the outcomes of the youths’ own initiatives and their recommendations to counter hate and prejudice. Read more about the project here and access our report here.
On South Sudan’s 10th anniversary, we organised a workshop in which youth leaders from around the country made recommendations on how to ensure effective Truth, Reconciliation & Healing while also countering identity-based prejudice, mistrust and violence. They emphasised that “Youth need to be informed about processes that concern them”, laying out a series of recommendations which have also informed this report. Read the more about the workshop and the recommendations of the SSYPADO youth leaders here.
Genocide is not an isolated event, but an end-product of a progression of stages. A significant early step is often the dissemination of hate speech towards a targeted group. Early intervention facilitates prevention.
In South Sudan, the average age is 19. Engaging young people is crucial. That’s why we have partnered with the Writers’ Writing Fellowship (a youth-led writing circle) to produce a picture book challenging hate speech. The project has delivered workshops on hate speech to youth groups and will continue with further workshops with South Sudanese youth on using storytelling to counter identity-based hate and violence in South Sudan. The competition will showcase stories that confront individual and collective prejudices and promote critical thinking, empathy and the celebration of diversity. Once published and disseminated the winning book will act as both a literacy tool and a model for being an active bystander.
Adjumani COVID Response #StaySafeStayUnited
Example of Youth-led initiatives
As a result of years of civil war in South Sudan, 2.2 million South Sudanese people live in refugee camps in bordering countries, including Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. The Adjumani district in northern Uganda hosts over 200,000 refugees.
Inhabitants of Adjumani refugee camps are faced with COVID-19 whilst having limited access to health facilities and experiencing food shortages. Inter-ethnic divisions and tensions between refugees and the host community have become inflamed as COVID-related hate and blame .
Misinformation on social media have led to wide-spread rumours that COVID-19 does not exist.
To combat misinformation and reduce tensions, Rights for Peace is supporting YANO, run by young refugees to carry out an awareness campaign for 5 camps. Read more about this campaign here.