30th March 2023
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Govt, partners to extend GBV court beyond Juba

Author: Chany Ninrew/ Kafuki Jada | Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2022

VP Rebecca Nyandeng [3rd to the Right] with Chief Chief Justice Chan Reec Madu Speaker Nunu Kumba and partners seated during her visit to the GBV, Juvenile Court, 26.04.2022 Photo, Eye Radio

The UN Development Agency,UNDP and its partners have expressed willingness to support the government’s plan to extend the Gender-Based Violence Court to the states.

The remark was made during a high-level advocacy visit to the GBV Court by a delegation of the Vice President for Gender and Youth Cluster, Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior.

Nyandeng’s visit was to enable a platform for discussion and raise awareness on GBV-related issues with key stakeholders.

It was also intended to discuss the functionality of the GBV Court as well as highlighting key challenges and success of the court.

Dr. Samuel Doe, who is the UNDP Resident Representative said the UN and partners are ready to assist the government with the necessary support.

“UNDP continues to engage the court to support the court technically and materially to offer it at its optimum and we also hear the message we need to extend the court beyond juba UNDP and partners stand ready to accompany the government in achieving that goal,” Mr. Doe said.

Gender Based Violence is any act of violence that results in physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to the victim.

It can also include threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.

According to UNICEF South Sudan, GBV is one of the most critical threats to the protection and well-being of women and children in South Sudan.

In December 2020, the country’s judiciary declared operationalization of the country’s first Gender Based Violence and Juvenile Court, in a commitment to end impunity for gender-based crimes and hold perpetrators accountable in South Sudan.

Since its establishment, the court has received nearly 700 cases of gender based violence, out of which 180 were tried.

Meanwhile, VP Rebecca Nyandeng who is also the head of gender and youth cluster in the presidency said the court is crucial in elevating the public confidence in the justice system in the country.

“This court does not facilitate access to justice to survivors it also safeguards individual liberty privacy security and human right dignity I hope that by visiting this court today we can highlight the strength of this institution and elevate public confidence in our judicial process, especially among women and girls,” Nyandeng said.

Studies indicate that some 65 percent of women and girls in the country have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, and some 51 percent have suffered intimate partner violence.

It also indicates that majority of girls and women experience sexual violence for the first time under the age of 18, with children comprising around 25 percent of all reported cases of conflict-related sexual violence.

However, under-reporting remains one of the biggest challenges in addressing GBV and there are concerns the cases could be higher in the far flung areas of the country.

Chief Justice Chan Reech Madut also suggested that the GBV court be streamlined in the mobile courts across the country.

“It is in my mind that not everybody can come to Juba to open a case of based violence. We want to make this with a mobile project that I also establish. We send out agents to distant places where there are no even court buildings,
They sit under trees and address such conflicts,” Madut said, suggesting that “we should bring it up with this mobile court project, in which we are being supported by our partners the UNMISS, we can send out some judges to different places around South Sudan to address such conflicts.”

For her part, Speaker Juma Nunu Nkumba called on the court to carry out its tasks without fear or fear.

“This court should take this issue very seriously. As I said before we don’t exclude ourselves but all of us should take the Gender-Based Violence issue very seriously. And this court should handle the issue of gender-based violence with absolute objectivity and without fear or favor.”

She also appealed for the integration of more women judges in the court.

“Because sometimes we don’t know how many women are there as judges addressing these cases here, but sometimes men tend to sympathize with their fellow men,” Speaker Nunu stated.

“And actually, they address the issue as a very simple issue. Sometimes when perpetrators are arrested, the following day they are released. This should stop and should not continue,” She added.

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