Women, community leaders in Maper welcome handover of a new courthouse funded by UNMISS
“For a long time, all of us living in Maper have been denied access to justice,” said 30-year-old Aguer Mabior. “In the civil war of 2016, many of us lost our homes and valuables; but claiming restitution or assistance seemed a distant dream, since travelling all the way to the nearest court in Aweil was prohibitive in terms of transport costs,” she continued. “However, today I am overjoyed,” stated Ms. Mabior.
The reason behind Ms. Mabior’s happiness is the handover of a brand-new courthouse in Maper, funded through the UNMISS Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) programme, which took place on 27 August 2020.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Tong Akeen Ngor, Governor, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, commended the mission for its support to communities living here. “These are the sort of essential services that we need to provide our people. I am thankful to UNMISS for ensuring that the residents of Maper will now have access to courtroom facilities. Where there is justice, there is equality, and this is the bedrock of true peace. This building might appear small; but it symbolizes something truly great,” said Governor Ngor.
Additionally, the Governor requested the mission to consider implementing similar projects across Northern Bahr el Ghazal and urged local communities to work towards the maintenance and upkeep of the courthouse.
For his part, Ataklti Hailu, Head of Field Office, UNMISS Aweil, requested state authorities make the best use of the newly built facility to benefit Maper residents. “Constructing a court is not an end in itself. Our aim is to do whatever is in our capacity to facilitate swift delivery of justice to people living here. Therefore, I urge local governance to provide adequate manpower and other resources required to make this courthouse function effectively,” averred Mr. Hailu.
Deng Kuol, a community leader, is optimistic. “We understand that we must do our part to guarantee that the building lives up to its potential. We will, of course, do everything in our power, with the backing of UNMISS and the state government to make this court a success. I express my gratitude to everyone involved in making this courthouse a reality for us; it will greatly reduce our suffering and create an atmosphere where our communities feel safe and protected by the rule of law,” said Mr. Kuol.
Mr. Kuol’s positivity is reflected in the words of 32-year-old Akuol Deng Jor: “Often, when commuting to Aweil for court-related matters, we miss case dates because we do not reach on time. This has caused innumerable delays for many families over the years, not to mention the amount of money spent on transport. This court has truly given us hope. It has saved us time, money and energy. I cannot thank UNMISS and the state government enough for bringing the justice system close to the people who need it the most.”
The project was implemented by local partner, Support for Peace, Education and Development Project (SPEDP).