DAVID MAJUR AWUOU
Following growing concerns over human rights violations in Jonglei, community members were given the chance to voice their grievances during a civil-military dialogue organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
This Monday, representatives of civil society and armed forces in the area met to discuss how cooperation can be enhanced between the two groups to prevent issues such as the use of intimidation and undue or disproportionate force towards civilians by local authorities.
“Military and police officials sometimes threaten residents, which is not part of their job,” said Tabitha Amuor, an interlocutor from the community. “There needs to be a balance between respect for fundamental human rights and enforcing rule of law.”
At the event, Deborah Schein, head of the peacekeeping mission’s field office in Bor, made an impassioned appeal to all those present to recall the universal nature of human rights and the imperative to act in accordance with international standards, as enshrined in historic documents such as the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
“Military and police officials come from the same civilian population as the people they protect,” Ms. Schein said. “They are the brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and children of South Sudan, and we all share the same responsibility to treat each other fairly.”
Also present at the event was Bor Mayor Dr. Mach Majier, who commended the initiative and emphasized the importance of promoting respect for human rights in achieving sustainable peace both in Jonglei and nation-wide.
“Peace is not an abstract notion,” he said. “Today’s dialogue is a concrete step towards restoring amity in the country.”