For the most part, legal professionals in Jonglei have set up ad hoc “offices” under the trees, to provide needed services to community members.
However, that changed when the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) handed over a newly built facility to these committed women and men who have dedicated their lives to ensuring citizens have full access to justice.
According to Deng Kuot Deng Machar, head of the state judiciary in Jonglei, the assistance of the UN peacekeeping mission does not stop with the provision of office space.
“Through UNMISS, we have started to overcome our challenges and fully contribute to monitoring, investigating and reporting on human rights violations across Jonglei,” he revealed.
“This is especially true in remote areas where UNMISS has become the eyes and ears of prosecutors,” Mr. Machar added. “We don’t have the capacity to regularly visit these distant countries, but our partners in the United Nations peacekeeping mission are helping us ensure that voices that would not normally be heard, issues that would not be seen normally never the light of day is brought to our attention and repairs can be made,” he continued.
Mr. Machar also thanked the grassroots sensitization and education regularly undertaken by the Mission’s Human Rights Division.
“Respecting human rights is a collective responsibility,” he said. “Our partners for peace, UNMISS, sensitized communities in remote counties on the need to report any violation of their rights; they brought these violations to our attention and built the capacity of local law enforcement and prison officials,” he continued. “Such efforts are invaluable if all South Sudanese are to hope for a peaceful and prosperous future.”
For Ayuen Gai, Bor’s legal adviser, the new premises have made his job easier.
“The building gives us an official space to listen to people’s issues, give them proper advice and ensure that justice is done,” he said. “While we still have outstanding issues such as ensuring proper filing and security of legal files, the office space is a step in the right direction,” he added.
The building was constructed as part of the mission’s Quick Impact Projects program, which aims to meet urgent public needs.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
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