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Workshop to strengthen local justice starts in Yei

Author: Woja Emmanuel | Published: Thursday, February 17, 2022

More than 150 participants including local chiefs, women, representatives of people with disabilities and young people are attending the 5-day workshop in Yei Town. Photo: Woja Emmanuel/Eye Radio

At least 150 people are partaking in a workshop intended to decide upon the practice of customary law in Greater Yei area.

The participants including chiefs, elderly men and women representatives drawn from the three counties of Yei River, Lainya and Morobo are expected to spend at least a week in Yei Town.

The program which started officially on Wednesday will allow the participants to share their views and offer relevant recommendations to the resolutions at the end of the five-day period.

Benjamin Moore is the Coordinator for the agenda.

He said the training is aimed at studying and reviving some of the important bylaws in the community that might have been lost or forgotten during the civil war.

“The displacement has led to loss of understanding around custom practices and norms in the area, chiefs that have adjudicated customary laws have been displaced to neighboring countries”, Benjamin Moore told Eye Radio.

“So, you need to have a uniform understanding of what are customs, what are norms and practices and how are good behaviors seen  in the community and how are bad behaviors punished”, Moore added.

According to the Chief of Yei River County, Joseph Brown Lo-Mose, the training will allow for the documentation of the existing laws which have been disbanded during the conflicts.

“This review is very important to be documented for the future of our knowledge because our young children some are still outside and they don’t know their traditions”, Mr. Lo-Mose explained.

Mathew John, the Chief of Lainya County says, the laws will be translated into local dialects to reach the entire community.

“We are going to translate into our dialect so that anybody in the ground will be able to understand and benefit from it”, Mathew John stated.

Meanwhile Mr. Alex Taban, the Chief of Morobo County disclosed that the laws will be incorporated as bylaws into school curriculum for pupils and students’ easy understanding.

“I recommend very much because without your culture things will be very difficult. So these books should be extended to the primary up to the university level for young people to learn”, Chief Alex Taban revealed.

The customary law review and training workshop is being organized pursuant to recommendations of field assessments of the transitional justice systems conducted in Yei in November 2021 and in Lainya and Morobo in January this year.

The evaluation was conducted to identify locally driven solutions for addressing social cohesion and promoting early recovery in the country’s former breadbasket.

The issues being discussed include marital rights, rights to own and inherit property such as land and equal participation in their communities.

The program which ends on Monday is being supported by the International Organization for Migration or IOM with funding from Reconciliation Stabilization and Resilience Trust Fund.

It’s also partnered by a consortium of other organization including Community Empowerment for Progress Organization or CEPO, Fin Church Aid, Whitaker Development Initiative and Support for Peace and Education Development Program.

Customary law largely is largely being embraced in many communities in the country for reconciliation and community harmony as principal tenets.

Customary justice institutions remain a strong force in the justice sector of South Sudan, particularly in vast, rural segments of the country where the state has little reach.

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