Faith-based organisations in Yambio receive human rights training from UNMISS

UNMISS protection of civilians human rights religious leaders Yambio peacekeepers South Sudan peacekeeping Western Equatoria

20 representatives from faith-based organisations in Yambio, Western Equatoria, now have a thorough understanding of protecting and promoting human rights, thanks to an UNMISS-facilitated workshop. Photo by Martin Siba/UNMISS.

3 May 2021

Faith-based organisations in Yambio receive human rights training from UNMISS

Martin Siba

“I’ve always known that the United Nations protects, defends and promotes human rights. However, personally I was unclear about my personal obligations about violations of such rights. I didn’t know how I was supposed to report incidents related to such violations as well,” reveals Sheikh Ahmed Omer Khamjan, a religious leader from Yambio.

Sheikh Khamjan wasn’t the only one in this Western Equatorian town who needed guidance on upholding the basic human rights of all citizens.

Given that religious leaders hold great significance in the lives of South Sudanese communities, the Human Rights Division of the UNMISS Field Office in Yambio decided to hold a day-long workshop bringing together some 20 representatives from faith-based organisations. The objective—to educate and inform them about the rights and dignity of every individual.

“We felt that it was necessary for us to provide easy-to-understand guidance on the roles and responsibilities of every citizen in Western Equatoria when it comes to upholding human rights and also reporting any violations that may be brought to their notice,” said Fidelite Ntioranye, a Human Rights Officer with the UN peacekeeping mission. “This workshop is tailored to build capacity among community leaders and members in this regard.”

The training was well received by participants.

“Now I know much more about my right to life, education and free movement everywhere in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said Jenty Fatna, a participant.

“We have gained some important knowledge through this training and are better-equipped to guide our communities, especially young people, on the core rights that everybody is entitled to,” she continued.

Others agreed with Ms. Fatna. “The most important takeaway for me was the fact that I, myself, am responsible for upholding not only my own rights but also the rights and dignities of all other human beings, regardless of race, colour or community,” stated Makkie Juma Dauod. “Attending this training session has been an eyeopener, especially in terms of gender equality. I will be sure to speak up at my mosque about the equal rights of women from now on,” he averred.

For his part, John Zeburuna Gassi, Director-General, state Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare, advised all participants to treat respect for human rights with the seriousness it deserves, since it is also enshrined in the laws of South Sudan.

“When South Sudan became a member of the United Nations, human rights became the lynchpin upon which much of our young country’s laws were based. Let us make respect for everybody’s human rights a reality in our everyday lives.”