By Matia Samuel Timatio
Thirty female South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) officers from the Female Directorate Affairs are undergoing human rights training in Juba organized by UNMISS Human Rights Division in Juba.
The training is phase three targeting female SSPDF soldiers covering topics such as military Justice System, right of Suspects during detention; Law in armed conflict, gender based violence among others. The aim is to equip the military women with knowledge on what to do and how to do it when performing their duties.
The UNMISS Human Rights Division works to promote human rights in the world’s newest country. Its core activities include monitoring, investigating, verifying and reporting on human rights violations and abuses, as well as violations of international humanitarian law, including conflict-related sexual violence.
Speaking to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper during the opening ceremony at Quality Hotel in Juba, advocate Capt. Joseph James Mangar the Legal Advisor from SSPDF and Focal point UNMISS Human Rights Division said the training is to build capacity of the military officers in the new nation.
“The military have a lot of challenges and we need support, we need help even we need prayers and commitment, the most people who are committed in the world are the military who have ethics and doctrine like the bible and when we follow it we can regain respect and confidence from our people” Capt. Mangar said .
“I can tell you, before we joined the army, we were civilians and if you look into the constitution, the army is to defend the constitution of South Sudan, the territory of South Sudan and to defend the people of south Sudan and their properties and all those things exist only that some individuals who are irresponsible in military uniforms conduct such act and it becomes that military men are doing something bad to their people but it’s not all the military men doing bad only some few individuals, “Mangar said.
He revealed that the military justice handles the discipline of the army by making whoever commits atrocities to be tried in the court of law adding that “when they commit atrocities, we investigate them and take them to court and the court will decide whether they are guilty or not like what happened in Yei in 2019 where they are serving their sentences now at the prison which shows that we are committed to our people”.
Joseph is calling on the civilians not to criticize the military despite the challenges happening now saying “we need support from our people not criticizing, it will not help and I know we shall turn into professional army”.
The world’s newest nation has suffered from chronic instability since independence in 2011. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan published a 48-page report last month that describes a hell existence of women and girls. Widespread rape is being perpetrated by all armed groups across the country, often as part of military tactics for which government and military leaders are responsible, either due to their failure to prevent these acts, or for their failure to punish those involved.