Speech Paride Taban

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Esteemed Laureates, Members of the Roosevelt family, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Receive cordial greetings of gratitude and appreciation from the entire people of South Sudan, from me, and from the community of Holy Trinity Peace Village in Kuron.

Thanks be to God the Creator, to your country, and to your people in supporting the people of South Sudan, in peace-building and humanitarian support during their sufferings.

I express with deep humility my gratitude, admiration, and appreciation to you for having chosen me to humbly receive the Roosevelt Freedom of Worship Award. I thank those who made this possible, especially PAX and the suffering people in South Sudan. I don't consider it as a personal honour but as an honour for all nonviolent and inter-religious peace builders. I share this joy with all people in South Sudan. Holy Trinity Peace Village is an Oasis of Peace where different ethnic communities live together peacefully. This award gives great hope for millions of refugees in the neighbouring countries, overseas and internally displaced citizens.

Our country, the youngest in the world, is going through a dark period of tremendous suffering and death. Over two million refugees, hundreds of thousands internally displaced, in church compounds and UN camps, hiding in forests and in swamps.

People are dying silently from war, hunger, disease, anger, revenge, tribalism, corruption, trauma and fear. Nevertheless we also witness and recognize the abundant good will, resilience, courage, endurance, commitment, self-sacrifice and love demonstrated by ordinary South Sudanese and many regional and international friends.

I commend PAX NETHERLANDS, which has supported peace work in South Sudan for many years. It has supported Holy Trinity Peace Village in Kuron from 2005 till today and is still struggling with other partners for it to become a PEACE ACADEMY. This needs the continued support of the Dutch government and your people.

Your Majesties, I place before you representatives of friends from around the world who have supported me in nonviolence, peace, reconciliation, and inter-religious bridge building and development among South Sudanese for over forty years.

I would like to conclude by saying that this Freedom Award gives to the world and to the people of South Sudan visibility and recognition to the positive side of life in South Sudan, that of the ordinary people and the Peace Village. It gives courage to people who are about to lose hope. I humbly implore your continued support to inter-religious effort to bring to an end the war in South Sudan. What South Sudan needs today is education, food security, hospitals, roads, development and self-reliance.

God bless the King, The Roosevelt Foundation, The Kingdom of the Netherlands and may He bless the people of The Netherlands.

I remain yours humble servant of the poor faithful in South Sudan.