UNPOL holds day-long workshop to build capacities among local women police officers in Warrap
United Nations Police (UNPOL) officers based in Warrap recently held a day-long workshop designed to build capacities among female officers from the South Sudan Police Service
The main aim of the forum: To raise awareness related to the legal rights of women; handling cases involving sexual- and gender-based violence; and the key role female law enforcement officers play in preventing and managing conflict.
“My hope is that when we trickle down the learning we have received through these interactive sessions, women will recognize their innate power and actively participate in society,” said Julia Awut Wol, a female police officer. “We deserve respect and dignity, whether we are in uniform or not.”
For her part, Josephine Yeama Khani, an UNPOL officer based in Kuajok, believes that it is critical for female police officers to be fully conversant with the laws governing the rights of survivors of sexual violence so that they can investigate such reports with the sensitivity and confidentiality required.
“One of the most terrible legacies of past civil wars in South Sudan is that a majority of women and girls have suffered some form of sexual- or gender-based violence,” says Police Adviser Khani.
“Therefore, it is of paramount importance that police officers are fully aware of the legal frameworks and protections that survivors of such violence are entitled to,” she adds.
During the workshop, women from local police departments and other law enforcement agencies gained a better understanding of the national legal framework governing the protection of their rights.
Many participants were ignorant that such legal frameworks existed and also expressed surprise that abuse doesn’t always need to be physical; psychological or verbal attacks constitute an attack on a woman as well.
Participants also discussed topics such as the culturally-rooted inequality between men and women and underage or forced marriages.
“Women’s empowerment is not a one-day event; it is a process. We must continue enlightening one another and younger generations to ensure their participation in the change.”
In addition, the workshop considered women’s contributions to peacemaking and conflict resolution. “Women are critical partners in economic recovery, social cohesion, and political legitimacy,” said Ajok Angok, a Civil Affairs Officer from the mission’s Kuajok Field Office. “Women constitute 50 per cent of society and their participation in mediation processes can encourage diverse members of a community to participate in peacemaking, contribute to the process’s credibility, and increases local ownership of its outcomes,” she continued.
The workshop concluded with Brigadier Akuec Beny Machol, Deputy Police Commissioner of the South Sudan National Police Service in Warrap urging participants to incorporate all the information they were given within their daily work.