Member of Dutch Parliament, Kathleen Ferrier, hosts open discussion on South Sudan’s transition to democracy

Press Release

1 March 2012


awepaMember of Dutch Parliament, Kathleen Ferrier, Hosts Open Discussion on South Sudan’s Transition to Democracy


1 March 2012, The Hague – Yesterday evening discussions were held in the Dutch Parliament regarding the expectations of both the South Sudanese people and the international community in terms of the democratisation process in South Sudan, the youngest nation in the world.



Joined by members from the South Sudanese diaspora living in the Netherlands, academics, journalists and development organisations, a medley of concepts were brought to the attention of the Dutch parliamentarians about steps that can be taken to support the Government of South Sudan in achieving its goals.

Former-child soldier, Mr Kon Kelei, lawyer, teacher and advocate for child rights in armed conflict areas, emphasised that although the South Sudan constitution and laws are in place, implementation is needed. He recognised that one of the main challenges in South Sudan resides in the need to reinforce the capacity of the Members of this young Parliament, and therefore, expressed a need for Members of Parliament in the Netherlands to work together with their South Sudanese colleagues to share knowledge.

As part of their development cooperation priorities, the Netherlands have been involved in the peace and reconstruction process in South Sudan. The Netherlands funded Southern Sudan National Legislative Assembly (NLA) Programme, implemented by the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA), contributes to this process. AWEPA plays an important role in enabling the capacity of Parliaments and Members of Parliaments in South Sudan to carry out their representative functions and stay in touch with the needs of their constituents at a grassroots level.

Although MPs are promoting democracy in the field, members of the South Sudanese diaspora living in the Netherlands remarked on the need to build up the private sector in South Sudan. Coming out of decades of war, it is apparent that filling governmental positions with experienced personnel is a challenge, stated Mr Jort Hemmer, Researcher, Horn of Africa for the Conflict Research Unit of the Clingendael Institute. Members of the South Sudanese community further underlined the need for European MPs to support the expansion of the private sector and creation of jobs through providing suggestions and advice.

Responding to this concern, Member of the Dutch Parliament and Head of AWEPA Section for the Netherlands, Ms Kathleen Ferrier stated, “Creating closer contact is indeed necessary. Therefore, AWEPA is facilitating this process in which MPs from Europe and South Sudan can meet to learn from each other, work together and strengthen each other.”

Addressing the Dutch MPs directly, Mr Kelei stated “remember, don’t give up on South Sudan even though you hear about all the fighting, we are new and if we are new, we need to fall and stand up”.

For More Information on AWEPA

Ms Alizia Kamani, Communications Officer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
, Tel: +31 (0) 20 524 5666

Ms Tatjana van den Ham, Programme Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
, Tel: +31 (0) 20 524 5652

 For a more detailed description on the Dutch funded programme in South Sudan, please visit





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