Today, the United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Moustapha Soumaré, and the Deputy Minister of Interior, Hon. Gen. Majak Akech Malok, dedicated South Sudan’s first Juvenile Reformatory Centre (JRC) in Juba. The project, which is part of ongoing technical cooperation between the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the National Prisons Service of South Sudan (NPSSS), was implemented by the South Sudanese NGO, Charity Aid for Development and Emergency (CADE) through the UNMISS Quick Impact Projects programme. The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) provided additional funding and support to ensure its completion.
The JRC will allow children in conflict with the law to be safely and securely housed, separate from adult offenders, in compliance with international best practices and South Sudan’s own legal framework. It will also serve as a centre where children in conflict with the law can receive formal education, vocational training, rehabilitation services and psycho-social support to prepare them for their re-integration into the society as productive citizens.
Speaking at the dedication ceremony, Mr. Soumaré stated, “The juvenile reformatory we dedicate today is more than just a building. It is a symbol of a modern juvenile justice system for South Sudan.” He welcomed the efforts by the Director-General of the NPSSS to ensure that corrections officers assigned to the JRC possessed the necessary skills to address the special needs of children in conflict with the law and pledged continued UNMISS support for the finalization of the operational plan and training curriculum for this and future juvenile reformatories in South Sudan.
Deputy Minister Malok observed that “youths are the backbone of any nation”. He described the opening of the JRC as a “step forward” in juvenile justice in South Sudan. He said it will provide an environment for juveniles to “positively contribute towards the building of this nation.” The Deputy Minister also applauded the First Family of South Sudan for dedicating 100 mattresses to the reformatory.
The Jubek Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Welfare, Hon. Rose Lisok, agreed that the opening of the JRC was a historic moment. She noted that juveniles now had a clean and healthy living environment while their cases are resolved.
The Director-General of the NPSSS, Gen. Henry Kuany Aguar, thanked UNMISS and other partners for the successful renovation of the building. Without their support, “this historical achievement would not have been realized,” he noted.
In addition to establishing this JRC, to ensure that cases involving juveniles proceed more efficiently through the national justice system, UNMISS is providing technical advice to all national justice sector actors to prioritize review of their cases. As part of a pilot project implemented at Juba Central Prison, prison officials have reviewed all warrants of detention to identify those cases awaiting trial, which are being reviewed by public prosecutors from the Ministry of Justice to ensure that the cases are ready for trial. The Judiciary has assigned judges to hear these cases at court sessions to be held at Juba Central Prison, and civil society and other partners have pledged legal assistance to ensure fair trial rights.