Organized forces and other security actors in Malakal trained on gender equality by UNMISS, UN Women
MALAKAL - Ensuring women’s full and equal participation in security and rule of law apparatus across South Sudan is vital in safeguarding the rights of women and girls.
“We have learnt today here that as women in uniform, our role is crucial for community members. It is incumbent upon us to use our knowledge and ability to raise awareness about equal opportunities for men and women and our own contribution as female security actors,” said Lucia Odok, a member of the Civil Defense Force, Fire Brigade Department, Upper Nile state.
Lucia was speaking at a three-day training organized by the Gender Unit of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), with the support of UN Women in Malakal.
The workshop brought together some 28 officers, including 17 uniformed women, from different state departments.
“It’s important that women should be part of key security sector reforms. Women’s involvement is critical especially when it comes to preventing and responding to incidents of sexual and gender-based violence as well as regressive cultural practices such as forced or early marriage,” averred Batricia Paul, an UNMISS Gender Affairs Officer.
Participants from the South Sudan Defense Forces, local police and prisons officers, as well as members from fire and wildlife protection arms of the state were sensitized on the UNMISS mandate, the Revitalized Peace Agreement and issues that hamper progress on security as well as advancement of women’s rights.
For participating police officer Riang Ajop Thiop, improving security and building trust among Upper Nile state communities is key.
“As police officers we are responsible for protecting the rights of all citizens and their property without any bias. The law treats everyone equally and we must build good relationships between community members and ourselves, as law enforcement personnel, if we are to ensure a peaceful environment for all citizens,” he stated.
Such trainings are part of the UN family’s continued efforts to ensure equal participation of women in decision-making, peacebuilding and shaping a prosperous future for South Sudan as stipulated in the Revitalized Peace Agreement.