Internally displaced persons, local authorities, military, and police recently gathered in Mangala town for a training on protection of civilians and how to monitor, verify and respond to incidents of violence.
“We shall inform our sisters on their rights and how to report cases of gender-based violence”, said Mary Akuol, an internally displaced woman in the town, as she commented on how the workshop, which also included sessions on how to incorporate gender as a factor in all planning and activities.
The two-day event, organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in cooperation with Central Equatoria State’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, some 45 participants were informed about the mandate of the peacekeeping mission, how to identify protection needs, propose solutions, and take preventive actions.
The overarching objective theme of the training was the fact that South Sudanese authorities, on all levels, have the primary responsibility to protect civilians, with UNMISS only acting if and when the government is unable or unwilling to fulfill this duty. Thus, county commissioners, payam (administrative division) administrators and local chiefs have important roles to play.
“The internally displaced persons here are hosted by the indigenous people of Mangala. After this training, we know that we should work together to protect all civilians and how to go about it,” said Hillary Lukudu, Administrator of Mangala Town Payam.
The capacity building session provided a rare opportunity for local communities to interact both amongst themselves and with the leaders of military forces and the police in the area. Participants were also treated to free medical services offered by Chinese peacekeepers, who also handed over educational material to the local authorities.
Similar workshops are scheduled to take place in all the counties in Central Equatoria State.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).