UNMISS empowers rule of law actors in to investigate and prosecute cases of violence against women in Western Equatoria
With an outbreak of local conflict in Western Equatoria in recent months, the UN peacekeeping mission has been working alongside local authorities to protect civilians and restore security across the region.
It established a temporary peacekeeping base in Tambura to provide a protective presence for displaced families and vulnerable communities in the area. It has also been hosting reconciliation and peace forums and working to build the capacity of authorities to provide security and hold accountable those responsible for the violence.
As part of these efforts, a two-day UNMISS workshop was held in Yambio to empower local rule of law actors to deal with cases related to violence against women and girls, who have been disproportionately affected by the conflict.
Participants included 24 police officers and special protection investigation personnel as well as 15 traditional, youth and women leaders. They received training on how to investigate and prosecute cases related to sexual and gender-based violence effectively and efficiently.
“I urge my colleagues to embrace the principles of fair trial and include human rights considerations in dealing with suspects and survivors of violence against women,” said traditional leader, Peter Benjamin Bazia, at the end of the workshop.
Participants were also educated about the different forms of abuse against women, how to sensitively interview survivors to ensure confidentiality, provide victim support, gather evidence, and the relevant protections offered under South Sudan’s own laws.
“This training is just one of our efforts to bridge gaps and weaknesses in the security and justice sectors,” said Gloria Kari-Kari, UNMISS Police team leader in Yambio.
“It is designed to build a productive link between customary and formal rule of law actors in investigating and prosecuting cases related to violence against women across the state.”
“We urge participants to embrace these new skills to better protect women and girls and provide those who are abused with the justice they deserve.”