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Govt urged to create nationwide awareness on GBV, human rights

Author: Baria Johnson | Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Panel discussion on the Impact of GBV and Juvenile Court in protection of the Rights of Women and Girls in South Sudan. (Photo: Baria Johnson).

Participants at a panel discussion have called for awareness creation on Gender-Based Violence and human rights as well as the formation of mobile GBV courts to try cases in the states and administrative areas.

The one-day event in Juba deliberated on the importance of GBV and Juvenile Court in protecting the rights of women and girls in the country.

It was organized by the South Sudan Human Rights Commission with support from UNDP and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and brought Representatives from the Judiciary, Civil Society, Law Society and Chiefs.

Speaking at the event, Commissioner Fidenisa Charles Ladu of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission said lack of awareness is one of the root causes of Human Rights Violations.

“We sacrifice our rights and what is taking us back in the Human Rights Commission is the lack of awareness,” said Commissioner Fidenisa in a presentation on the overview of GBV in South Sudan.

“If we are not aware that we have rights and if we do not accept that everyone has rights, we will continue facing a lot of Problems.”

She added that Human Rights are a gift from God and must be unconditionally accepted by anyone.

“There are people who feel their rights are not fulfilled at the end of the day if we go back to see the root causes of the problems happening all over the world is due to lack of respect all over the world.”

“Let us understand that these rights are given to all of us by God. That is why at the Human Rights, awareness is very important, acceptance of human rights is very important.”

On her part, UNDP Representative, Stella Dangasuk, emphasizes on the importance of extending services to the children born as a result of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.

“As much as we are providing services, and we are looking out for the rights of S-GBV survivors most especially the women,’ she said.

“Let us not forget that women and girls’ survivors have also children or babies who are born as a result of the ordeal that they have gone through, which is rape. And as much as we are extending our services to them, let us also extend the services or support to those children.”

Speaking at the event, Edward Leju, a chief from Lire Payam of Kajokeji County, said people at the grassroots level are ignorant on Gender Based Violence and Human Rights Violations.

He added that there are cases looked at as minor but torchers the rights of a person.

“Some of these causes of these Gender Based Violence or Human Right Violations some people are due to ignorance at the community level.”

“Some people do not know human rights, or they are causing gender-based violence. Cases which can go for persecution maybe the one that caused during this conflict, there are other cases which are minor but torch the rights of a person.”

In March 2022, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan published a 48-page report that describes a hellish existence for women and girls in the country.

The reported cited widespread rape perpetrated by all armed groups across the country, used as a military tactics.

The Commission said military leaders are responsible, either due to their failure to prevent these acts, or for their failure to punish those involved.

– Mobile GBV courts –

Meanwhile, Makoi Malek Guot, an Advocate in Juba, stresses on the need to form mobile courts in the ten states and the three administrative areas to hear GBV and Juvenile cases.

Makoi believes that most of the Human rights violations are being committed in the states more than in Juba.

“These Human Rights are not committed in Juba alone it can be committed in the ten states and the three administrative area.”

“There should be a mobile court whereby they can travel in these states and hear the GBV and Juvenile cases because now most of the Human Rights Violations are being committed in the states more than Juba here.”

The Gender Based Violence and Juvenile Court in Juba has so far sentenced hundreds of young men to different prison terms for committing sex crimes since its establishment in December 2020.

Most of the reported cases of sexual violence are rape and defilement perpetrated against young girls and women, raising the prospect that GBV crimes are heavily affecting women, despite reports that some men are reluctant to report cases against them.

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