South Sudanese police volunteers receive human rights training from UNMISS

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In Torit, Eastern Equatoria, UNMISS partnered with the South Sudan National Police to facilitate interactive sessions at a professional induction programme designed to transition police volunteers into full-fledged officers. Photo by Moses Yakudu/UNMISS.

15 Jan 2024

South Sudanese police volunteers receive human rights training from UNMISS

Moses Yakudu

EASTERN EQUATORIA – As the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, fast approaches its first post-independence elections, safety and security of all citizens remains a priority.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), as part of its mandate, therefore, runs regular capacity building initiatives with the country’s police personnel to ensure they are fully prepared to protect and serve all communities.

Recently in Eastern Equatoria, the UN Peacekeeping mission facilitated sessions for police volunteers who are undergoing their induction into the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS), hosted by the state police.

The interactive training modules covered wide ranging topics related to international human rights and humanitarian law, gender-responsive policing, rule of law, child protection and briefings on the Police Community Relations Committees (PCRC), a community oversight mechanism.

Some 323 trainees, including 83 women, have enrolled for this programme which officially transitions police volunteers into full-fledged SSNPS officers.

Unlike previous recruitments, at least 100 of them hold diplomas and certificates.

“To enforce the law, you must know the law,” stated James Monday Enocka, Eastern Equatoria’s Police Commissioner, while speaking to participants.

“There are weaknesses in upholding the rule of law in our country and many of our police officers did not receive proper training with regard to their roles and responsibilities,” he continued.

“To bridge this gap, we developed this comprehensive training programme which includes our own SSNPS facilitators and experts from UNMISS to give our new volunteers a holistic overview of policing needs,” he added.

For his part, Chukuemeka Ire-Okoli, a Human Rights Officer with the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in Torit, said he believed such capacity building collaborations not only benefit trainees but also go a long way in building strong, productive relationships with host authorities.

“Knowledge of human rights and international humanitarian law is the backbone of any law enforcement actor. We believe that partnering with state authorities to fully equip budding police officers with the necessary tools to do their job and uphold the dignity of every citizen is vital,” he stated.

Over the years, police volunteers have been assisting the SSNPS in maintaining law and order as well as preventing crime through community policing programmes in all eight counties of the state.

Several UNMISS actors participated as facilitators including representatives from the mission’s Human Rights Division; Child Protection and Gender Advisory Units; and United Nations Police (UNPOL) officers.