The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, voiced her deep concern at the recently escalating violence in South Sudan " I deplore the tragic loss of life and the escalation of tensions between communities."
UNESCO encourages all parties involved to respect the country's rich cultural diversity. "Cultural diversity is an ethical imperative, inseparable from respect for human rights. Peace requires a commitment to dialogue as the only possible way to foster mutual understanding between peoples and communities" declared Irina Bokova.
The Director-General further underscored the key role youth play as agents of positive change within their communities and called on the youth of South Sudan to look forward to the future and to the development of their unified new nation, through the peaceful settlement of political differences.
Education is of paramount importance to ensure sustainable development and peace. Schools and educational institutions should therefore be protected and respected as safe places for the fundamental role they play in building peace in the minds of people and in shaping development in South Sudan.
On the occasion of the new year 2014, UNESCO wishes the new young nation of South Sudan and its people a new year of peaceful development, tolerance, dialogue and prosperity, away from conflict and suffering of vulnerable civilians.