UNMISS training in Kapoeta results in commitments to uphold detainee rights
EASTERN EQUATORIA – As South Sudan begins to invigorate ongoing peace processes with a 24-month extension of its ongoing transitional period, upholding the rule of law and respect for human rights are more vital than ever.
With the world’s newest nation gearing up for free, fair, and peaceful elections, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is doing all it can to build capacities among local law enforcement personnel.
Recently, the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Human Rights Division held a two-day skill-building session for 50 officers from Eastern Equatoria’s police and prisons services from the greater Kapoeta area.
Case management, court proceedings and crime scene investigation techniques were among some of the key issues that participating officers were sensitized on.
The focus of the workshop: To provide necessary knowledge and information for both police and prisons officers so that they are fully equipped to ensure justice has been served while protecting and upholding the rights of suspects or detainees.
“As officers of the law, its imperative that we are able to do our jobs and bring perpetrators to justice without reneging on our human rights responsibilities,” stated Jimmy Kasmir, a Warrant Officer working at Kapoeta’s Central Police Station.
“This training has helped flesh out any deficiencies we may have had as to the proper procedures we should follow while investigating reported crimes,” he added.
Kapoeta’s Police Commissioner, Major General Adil Juma Abdurrahman, also addressed participants in a similar vein.
“South Sudanese police are here to protect and serve civilian populations. To do our job properly, it is vital that we have the confidence and trust of the public. This trust will only come if every citizen is aware that we will uphold their rights. This includes prisoners, suspects, and detainees,” said Police Commissioner Abdurrahman.
For Mangisto Ngijaks, a public prosecutor in greater Kapoeta, maintaining up-to-date records is key.
“Ensuring proper records management will make it very easy for cases to be traced and investigators can swiftly identify and prosecute any perpetrator,” he added.
Anthony Nwapa, an UNMISS Human Rights Officer working in the Mission’s Field Office in Eastern Equatoria says he believes such trainings have an immediate impact on peace and security.
“Our aim as Human Rights Officers is to spread the word that every citizen must have their rights and dignity respected. This includes people who may have been imprisoned for wrongdoing. Whenever we run these sensitization programmes, we see the immediate impact on law enforcement officers. Peace and security cannot prevail when communities do not have faith in their uniformed personnel. Educating them on human rights is the first step towards helping them build bridges with the people they are meant to protect,” stated Mr. Nwapa.