More than 30 police officers in Gogrial East trained as UNMISS peers hailed for their efforts

With sexual and other gender-based kinds of violence being all too common in South Sudan, teaching how to deal with these harmful practices was a priority when police officer serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan had an opportunity to build the capacity of some thirty South Sudanese colleages in Warrap State’s Gogrial East County.

“We want our girls to have the same rights to education as boys so that they can reach their full potential,” said Angelina Achok, one of the trainees, when the importance of gender equality was discussed.

“The good thing is that we are seeing some improvements in our communities, because at the moment, most of our girls are attending school,” she continued, saying that the efforts of the peacekeeping mission have greatly contributed to this positive trend.

Halima Miraji Kigera, a UN Police Officer involved in the teaching, urged communities to keep up the good work.

“Please, make sure to allow your girls to continue their education so that when they find suitable jobs. They will realize that being employed and independent is worth more than hundreds of cows,” she said, referring to the age-old tradition of paying a dowry to the family of a bride-to-be.

The scope of the two-day workshop, organized in Gogrial East’s Manyang Payam (administrative division), was broad. Apart from addressing vital gender issues, it aimed to equip this group of the national police service with skills on investigating cases, writing reports, community policing – while respecting human rights.

“This kind of training is extremely beneficial,” said Maria Lual, one participating police officer. “Learning how to handle criminals and how to respect the rights of suspects is important, and the same goes for handling the sensitivities involved in cases of sexual violence. These are things that we can and will make part of our daily work.”

Their work, according to Deputy Payam Administrator Lian Alek, is hampered by a lack of resources, most notably vehicles and additional prison facilities, but boosted by the ongoing support of police officers serving with the peacekeeping mission.

“You demonstrate genuine concern for us by engaging our communities in awareness-raising activities and by always communicating with us and trying to understand our needs and challenges,” Mr Alek said.

Building the capacity of the South Sudan National Police Service is an integral part of the peacekeeping mission’s mandate in South Sudan.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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