Civic space needed for women and persons with disabilities

By Adia Jildo

Civil Society Activist Edmund Yakani has called on the government to give special priority to women and persons with disability so as to contribute to the consultation.

On Tuesday, President Salva Kiir Mayardit launched public consultation on the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, and the hybrid court for South Sudan and Compensation and Reparation Authority as the pillars of the transitional justice which would help eradicate the culture of impunity.

“There is need to give special consideration for women and persons with disability on how matters that affected them can be handled in a better way,” the executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization stressed.

Yakani said women who underwent conflict, sexual and Gender Based Violence would not be able to speak in public events.

“There is need for the technical committee to form a specialized group that do consultation with women that might be interested to express their opinion about experience of sexual violence that they might have faced and how they want those cases to be addressed by law,” he said.

He said people who faced sexual violence are unable to speak out because of the sensitivity of their cases.

“The women tend to be quiet if they are not given spaces that it’s more confidential for them to express their views on how they want the law that would establish the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing to consider their issues,” he said.

Yakani further called for the inclusion of persons with disability at different levels.

“We call upon the Ministry of Justice and technical committee to really put on a special consideration to reach out to persons with disabilities using specialized persons in sign language,” he continued. “If the technical committee has not taken to account people who are specialized in sign language to communicate with people of sign language, there are chances of us losing opinions of persons with sign language during consultation that might inform the law might be very high”.

He called on the government to give a civic space during which is not restricted so as not to lose trust and have a voice in the systems.

“ If the government does not embrace the freedom of expression, opinions, and freedom of association and assembly and no revenge on persons who have given harsh opinions then it means the consultation will be feared and people will lose trust in the consultation,” he highlighted.

Yakani called the committee to use the three value principles of the National Transitional justice in the Chapter five of the Revitalized Peace Agreement which includes; First, Truth, Reconciliation and Healing, Secondly: Compensation and Reparation and thirdly Accountability and justice for perpetrators of war crimes.

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