Corrections officers in Western Bahr-el-Ghazal State learning more about human rights, gender-based violence and other relevant topics. Photos: Dawit Kahsay Tedla/UNMISS
A group of corrections officers working for the South Sudan Prisons Service in Western Bahr-el-Ghazal State have significantly increased their knowledge of human rights and skills and gender-based violence.
“Previously I never realized the importance of separating detainees based on their gender because I considered them all as just prisoners, but now I know about and understand gender-specific needs and human rights,” said Sargent Lilica Dominic, a prison officer in Wau upon completing the training provided by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
The two-day training was jointly organized by the UN Police & Corrections Officers serving for the UN Mission in South Sudan aimed to build the capacity of the Prison Officers of the South Sudanese counterparts on protecting the human rights of inmates and improving working conditions at Wau Central Prison.
The two-day workshop highlighted topics such as how to protect and promote the human rights of inmates, how to prevent and deal with incidents of sexual and gender-based violence, prison management and security dynamics.
“The training is quite inspiring for me. I now have the knowledge and skills to act in the right way and to share what I know with colleagues,” said Abdelrahman Mohammed, one of twenty-two workshop participants.
Although most of the participants have worked as prison officers for several years, several of them had never been given a similar capacity building opportunity.
One that had is Major Natali Lawrence, Deputy Director of Prison Services in Wau, and he knows what a difference it can make.
“I urge you to apply this knowledge and these vital new skills in your daily activities. If each of you can share what you have learnt with a few colleagues, more than a hundred corrections officers, plus our prisoners, will benefit,” Mr. Lawrence said.
“We conduct these trainings to enhance security at Wau Central Prison and to help our national counterparts get a greater vision and adapt better practices that are in line with international human rights standards,” explained Colonel Zied Mazia, a Corrections Officer serving with the peacekeeping mission.
The training programme, a joint initiative by the UN Police and Corrections Officers, is in line with the Mission’s mandate to strengthen the institutional capacity of all links in the South Sudanese justice system.