UNMISS Quick Impact Project supports construction of Wau female juvenile detention center

8 Mar 2017

UNMISS Quick Impact Project supports construction of Wau female juvenile detention center

Patricia Okoed and Erasmus Migyikra

Wau, South Sudan - Girls caught in conflict with the law in Wau will soon no longer have to face the double sentence of sharing prison space with adult inmates, after ground was broken for a female wing at the Wau juvenile detention center. 

When complete, the ‘Female Juvenile Holding Centre’ is expected to accommodate up to 60 female offenders under the age of 17. 

The existing facility for minor offenders currently accommodates 85 boys, while girl offenders are mixed with adult female prisoners at Wau Central Prison.

“They are being kept with female adult prisoners at Wau central prison, clearly against international standards and exposing them to other possible vices,” said Caesar Tombe Joseph, the acting state director of prisons.

Tombe says most of the female offenders they receive are accused of minor crimes, including “theft, fighting, drinking, assault and other social crimes,” he explains.

The project is being undertaken as a Quick Impact Project under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and implemented by the Nuba Mountain Association, a non-profit organization based in Wau.

Erasmus Migyikra, a child protection officer with UNMISS in Wau, says construction of the new holding center is expected to take two months. 

“On paper we have it that in two months’ time the project will be completed,” he said, adding that “girls incarcerated for various crimes should be held in line with international minimum standards.”

The detention facility will serve as a reformatory center, giving the juveniles access to education and livelihood programs. 

“Free education and practical is offered to these juveniles, so when they leave they can become independent and useful members of the society,” said Rougania Madut Abdalla the Wau Education Minister. 

Ms. Abdallah said parents of the child offenders are also questioned as to why their children are not enrolled in school.