Wednesday, July 11, 2012

'We rise raising flag with the guiding star And sing songs of freedom with joy For justice, liberty and prosperity Shall forevermore reign.'

These are words from South Sudan’s national anthem, sung as the South Sudanese flag was raised in front of the conference center during the second day of the Caux Forum for Human Security.

A high-level South Sudanese delegation, brought to Caux in collaboration with the Swiss Foreign Ministry, led a ceremony celebrating the first anniversary of the independence of their country. In his speech, Deputy Foreign Minister Elias Nyamell Wakoson asserted that South Sudan 'is not out of the woods yet, but we are getting there.'

A delegation of 13, comprising two deputy ministers, a governor, chairs of parliamentary committees, members of parliament and senior government officials, led the small gathering in celebrating their independence day, 9 July. The delegation was grateful that although far from home, the members were still able to mark the first anniversary of the world’s youngest country.

Back in South Sudan, tens of thousands gathered in the capital Juba to mark the independence anniversary with pomp, dance and colour. The climax of the celebrations came during a speech from the South Sudanese President H.E Salva Kiir. He addressed more than eight million fellow countrymen, reminding them of how far they have come after one year of independence. President Kiir also promised the people of South Sudan he would seek economic independence and promote accountability. However, he also reminded all South Sudanese that the greatest threat they face is a possible return to war with the Republic of Sudan.

In Caux, the South Sudanese delegation thanked everyone who came 'to celebrate the independence day with friends and people who care about us.' One day earlier, former Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey and Ambassador Claude Altermatt, head of the Sub-Saharan African Division of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, reiterated that Switzerland is a special friend of South Sudan. The South Sudanese delegation identified 'issues of human security, democracy, human rights, good governance, ethnic conflicts, armed rebellion, justice, sustainable peace, despotism, violence, corruption and defending South Sudan against the Republic of Sudan' as major challenges that the young country is facing. Deputy Minister Wakoson emphasised that South Sudan has taken serious measures to overcome the difficulties of building a country from scratch, and the ceremony was concluded with the assertion that 'South Sudan will learn from examples and models and most importantly rely on friends like Switzerland.'

- By Janet Jeruto and Johannes Langer, 2012 Caux Scholars Program

All content on this web site, unless otherwise indicated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 License 2019