A group of legislators from the semi-autonomous region of Southern Sudan arrived in the country over the weekend for a week long visit to draw lessons from Rwanda’s unity and reconciliation process.
This was revealed by the head of the delegation, James Luol Deng, shortly after they concluded a guided tour of Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre yesterday morning.
“The objective is to come and actually learn, experience from what really has taken place in Rwanda and how Rwandans have managed to bring peace and unity among themselves so that we translate it in our society of Southern Sudan,” Deng told reporters.
The group of eight is mostly composed of legislators from the peace and reconciliation committee of South Sudan’s legislative assembly that is based in Juba.
Rwanda’s re-birth after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is what they hope to learn from and, hopefully, effectively transmit back home.
“It is really highly painful what happened in Rwanda, it is a human disaster not only for the Rwandese, but for the whole world and we pray and hope it will not take place again.”
Deng, who was in the country earlier in 1998, says he is pleased by the notable difference.
“I am very happy with the way I have seen Rwanda. I see really that there is a great difference. I am hoping that every year, everything will change and the people of Rwanda will be in peace,” Deng said, also acknowledging that the lesson to take back home is that conflict benefits no one.
“What I will take back to southern Sudan, being a leader, is to tell them what I have seen in Rwanda. We have had ethnic tension in South Sudan, but for whom will it benefit?” he wondered.
“The only way is for us to work very hard to maintain peace and reconciliation through healing all that took place during the war and we maintain peace. That is the only thing.”
His colleague, Deborah Ajok Garang observed the importance of setting up memorial sites so as to prevent calamity from striking again.
“I thank the Rwandan people for setting up this memorial for the future generation,” Ajok said.
The Government of Southern Sudan was established following decades of internal war between mainly non-Arabic Sudanese mostly concentrated in the South and the Arab-dominated north.