UNPOL officers serving with UNMISS conducts awareness raising workshop on preventing sexual violence
LAKES - Across the world, women and girls continue to be disproportionately impacted by sexual- and gender-based violence (SGBV).
South Sudan is no exception.
To raise awareness on the need to end violence against women, United Nations Police (UNPOL) officers based in Rumbek, Lakes state, conducted a three-day awareness-raising workshop for 50 South Sudanese policing counterparts from the country’s National Police Service.
The focus: Enhancing participants’ understanding of key issues such as criminal investigations, interviewing survivors of such violence, upholding the rights of suspects, survivors and witnesses as well as collection, handling and storage of forensic evidence, case preparations and court procedures.
For Brigadier-General Marial Akol, Director of the state’s Criminal Investigation Department, the comprehensive training is exactly what police officers needed to prevent and respond to cases of violence against women.
"I am thankful to our UNPOL partners for taking the time and effort to conduct this much-needed workshop. I urge all participants to put in their best and trickle down their learning to other colleagues. Sexual violence, or any kind of violence against women and girls is unacceptable,” stated the high-ranking police officer.
For David Manzi, UNPOL Coordinator at the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Field Office in the state, such training opportunities help build capacities among local law enforcement personnel.
“As UNPOL officers, we come from different countries and pool in all our skills and best practices to make sure our South Sudanese partners from the policing fraternity can reap the benefits, learn extra skills and truly serve and protect communities,” he stated.
“This workshop is particularly important because women make 50 per cent of any society. Their rights must be upheld by law enforcement.”
Participants said that the workshop was useful.
“I have learned a lot about different kinds of violence against women and, more importantly, my own role as a police officer in ensuring such investigations are dealt with keeping all correct procedures in mind. I will definitely pass on key recommendations from this training to my fellow officers who were unable to attend,” said Second Lieutenant John Thon, a participant.
37 women police officers attended the workshop. For one of them – Martha Nyatur Majuk – the information provided by UNPOL trainers is critical.
“We must do everything in our power to eradicate sexual- and gender-based violence from our society. I found the workshop, specially the areas of criminal investigation and gathering forensic evidence, to be vital for us as police officers.”