A bishop from South Sudan on Thursday was named winner of a U.N. peace prize in recognition of his efforts to build trust among warring communities in the conflict-torn region.
Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban won the 2013 Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize for his work at the Holy Trinity Peace Village in Kuron, in the east of South Sudan.
Set up in 2005, the village brings together people from different tribes and faiths that have been in conflict for years over cattle rustling.
“The fact that this village is now seen as an example of reconciliation and peace will encourage other communities to follow a similar approach in other areas of conflict in South Sudan and beyond,” said Laurent Vieira de Mello, president of the prize foundation and eldest son of the late Sergio Vieira de Mello.
A Brazilian, Vieira de Mello, the U.N.’s former human rights chief, was killed in a bombing in Iraq in 2003.
The prize is awarded annually to an individual, community or institution seen as having made an exceptional contribution to reconciliation of communities or groups in conflict, and whose example can be duplicated elsewhere.
The jury includes the U.N.’s refugee agency and human rights chiefs.
Taban is due to receive the award - which includes a symbolic sum of 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,500, 4,000 euros) - from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon at a March 1 ceremony in Geneva.