EDWARD BENJAMIN KARGBO
Internally displaced people living in the United Nations protection site in Bentiu are claiming back their human rights.
A workshop organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and partner organizations for women who have sought sanctuary in the protection site in the Unity region is equipping the women with knowledge of their basic human rights.
Mary Nyanyok Wuar, a leader for a woman’s group in the UN protection site, said the training has taught them a lot about human rights and domestic violence.
Mary fled her home in Nihaldu village three years ago to escape violence.
“When we first arrived here, we did not know about human rights and domestic violence. But through workshops and other engagements with the UNMISS’ Human Rights team and other organizations, we now know what our rights are and where to report if anything happens,” said Mary.
As a leader, one of Mary’s roles is to support and advise other women in the protection site. She says they have been able to work together to form groups that provide support to women.
Domestic violence remains a concern in the UN protected site which is currently home to more than 114,000 internally displaced people – the majority of which are women.
Mary said she believes that men also need to be continuously informed and educated about human rights and abuses against women.
“The men need to be fully onboard when it comes to domestic violence and other forms of abuse,” she said.
While there has been progress in sensitizing men about domestic violence, Samuel Luny, an officer at Women Aid Vision, a local organization that supports women in the protection site says it is still difficult to get some of the men to understand.
“Some men are getting it and over time they will serve as mentors to other men. Change takes time, but we will get there,” he said
The training and engagement have however enabled women “to claim their rights, said Luny.
“Through workshops and training, we have got them to learn about their rights and report abuses,” said Luny. “They have also formed groups to support each other.”