14 May 2014 - Seeking to encourage peace in South Sudan, UNMISS and the Peace and Justice Commission held a one-day training in basic human and environmental rights in Yambio, Western Equatoria State.
The workshop for 10 peace mobilizers in Tombura Yambio Diocese included discussions about the rights to life, water, shelter and education as well as the Human Rights Declaration so that participants could teach others in their parishes.
The activity also focused on environmental rights or access to unspoiled natural resources needed for survival, including land and air.
Participants attending the training, who have been working on peace and reconciliation in their communities, were drawn from parishes across the Catholic Diocese of Tombura Yambio.
UNMISS Human Rights Officer Albert-Maurice Mugabushaka stressed the importance of the training, given current conflict in the country. “At this critical time, strengthening peace mobilizers in South Sudan is vital … to preach peace among the community.”
UNMISS Human Rights section is also monitoring prisons and courts in Western Equatoria for arbitrary detention and human rights violations.
Participants asked questions about corruption and malpractice committed by government officials and police. They queried why human rights activist took no action to address corruption cases in South Sudan to open the way for development and justice.
“Why can’t human rights groups stop the police from arbitrary arrests and detentions of our people,” asked participant Mary Martin.
Mr. Mugabushaka said there were departments and a Human Rights Office where people could report cases. Taking legal procedures to seek your rights was better than confronting the government or police, he added.