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Rights defenders trained on democratic privilege

By Aweye Teddy Onam


South Sudan Human Rights Defenders have been equipped with skills to network across South Sudan, become frontline activists, and be catalysts for democratic dispensation.

The training was organized by the South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network& Defend Defenders.

Dubbed “Claiming Spaces” it also focused on how human rights can use regional and international human rights mechanisms, monitoring, documentation, and reporting of human rights violations.

Speaking at the event, Hassan Shire, Executive Director of Defend Defenders said they focus on the democratic culture in the country, cooperation, and understanding that there is no anonymity.

“These human rights defenders of South Sudan, who had a resilience, a very brave human rights defender, we want them also to network, to know each other, to break the barriers, to start conversations at various different regions and also within the capital,” he said.

Hassan stated that everyone has the responsibility including the government to put things right in the country.

He mentioned that Democracy is a crucial platform for peacemaking as it allows contestation, noting that to rule a country, one must present their manifesto to the people.

“Therefore, we want to create that awareness, we want to make them understand the challenging situations ahead and celebrate their lives.”

For his part, Edmond Yakani, Executive Director of CEPO and Chairperson of the South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network, stated that claiming civic space aims to save the work of civil society and human rights defenders in South Sudan.

He said the annual event, designed to unite human rights defenders in one-member states of East and Horn of Africa, aims to protect and solidarity with those at risk.

Yakani reiterated the call for an open civic and political space, stating they will continue to call for a more inclusive society.

Edmund emphasized the importance of open and civic space in South Sudan, stating that they are aware of instances where civic space is under attack.

“This is demonstrated by the restriction of media houses in reporting or journalists in reporting the disappearance of some activists, as we are aware,” he said.

Defend Defenders and South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network also released a report on women human rights defenders, and the role they play in fostering human rights protection and peace.

The report assesses the consequences of shrinking civic space on women human rights defenders in South Sudan.


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