UNMISS trains South Sudanese military commanders on human rights and international humanitarian laws

unmiss protection of civilians human rights eastern equatoria SSPDF SPLM-iO south sudan peacekeeping peacekeepers united nations

A recent workshop facilitated by UNMISS in Eastern Equatoria trained some 100 soldiers from the SSPDF and SPLM-iO on their human rights responsibilities. Photo by Moses Yakudu/UNMISS

21 Sep 2021

UNMISS trains South Sudanese military commanders on human rights and international humanitarian laws

Moses Yakudu

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has trained forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-iO) and South Sudan People Defense Forces (SSPDF) on human rights and international humanitarian laws in Magwi county located in Eastern Equatoria state.

“I am convinced that my senior commanders have acquired in-depth knowledge on the subject matter of the workshop and there will be no case of human rights violations that will go unreported,” said Brigadier General Kulang Tarib of the SSPDF. “I also encourage my female senior commanders to equally take the responsibility of reporting any sexual violence committed by soldiers.”

The Human Rights Division of UNMISS in Eastern Equatoria conducted two separate workshops, where over 100 soldiers from were reminded of their human rights obligations to enhance their professionalism.

It also served to remind commanders to take responsibility and account for human rights violations committed by junior officers under their command.

“As a senior commander, I assure the community of returnees and anyone who crosses through our area of responsibility that we will protect, take responsibility for, and account for any violations against them,” assured Brigadier General Okeny George Lam, the senior commander in charge of Ashwa cantonment site.

In South Sudan, there has been a lack of accountability for violations committed during recent conflicts, especially against women and children.

“This training is part of regularly organized awareness campaigns provided by UNMISS to all forces and civilians so they can change their mindset and broadly understand the repercussions of human rights violations,” said Anthony Nwapa, a representative of the UN peacekeeping mission.

The forces were sensitized on international humanitarian laws, fundamental human rights, responsibilities for human rights violations, and command responsibilities of senior commanders of the armed forces.

“As commanders you are to treat both everybody with a sense of humanity and allow human rights to flourish despite conflict,” added Nwapa.