Statement on the Commencement of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence (25 November – 10th December 2023)

UNDP South Sudan Resident Representative Dr. Samuel G. Doe

December 8, 2023

Dr. Samuel Doe

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Sudan is pleased to join the global in marking of the 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence. The campaign period is marked annually starting with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25th and ends with the International Human Rights Day on December 10th. 

Although GBV affects men and women, boys, and girls worldwide, studies have shown that women and girls are the most affected, largely because of the unequal power distribution between men and women at the family, community, and societal level. 

This year, the national theme is; Act now! Prevent and Respond to Violence against women and girls following the global theme; “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls” the themes reflect a call for to increase our investment to prevent violence against women and girls.

At UNDP, we acknowledge that violence against women and girls is a global human rights health and socio-economic concern, we also recognize that; the prolonged conflict within the country, coupled with other factors such as harmful traditional practices, Covid-19 and the impacts of the climate change and environmental hazards puts women and girls in situations that exposed them more to GBV and Conflict related violations. 

This campaign period is therefore very important as it offers opportunity to re-instill energy and momentum in the fight against violence against women and girls in South Sudan.

UNDP’s commitment to prevention and response to GBV concerns is reflected in its programmatic investment in projects that supports the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement on the resolution of conflict in South Sudan and supporting the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on women, peace, and security. 

At UNDP we use a multi-dimensional approach GBV interventions; for instance, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and constitutional affairs and Judiciary, UNDP managed to support the operationalization of the first GBV and Juvenile’s court which is handling many GBV related cases in juba, UNDP also supports the deployment of mobile courts to locations with limited judicial presence to fast-track reporting and adjudication of cases, UNDP established and continue to offer institutional support to  police Special Protection Units (SPUs). 

While to ensure the participation of women in peace building, UNDP supported the Minister of Gender, child and social welfare in the development and drafting of women empowerment bill, that emphasizes on prevention of SGBV including during election period.

On a global level, UNDP started piloting initiatives funded by the Republic of Korea to gather evidence about what works to integrate a "GBV lens" into broader development interventions with the aim to prevent and respond to GBV. South Sudan country office is currently implementing a pilot project that aims at integrating GBV aspects into an ongoing project on youth and women economic empowerment interventions to minimize any anticipated economic related violence.

Other initiatives include integration of GBV awareness in training of civil society painters, women leaders, persons with disabilities, youth peace champions, peace committees, community volunteer counsellors and other peace actors in different locations to respond to the increased cases of sexual violence among women and girls at the grass-root level. Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) members were also trained to prevent cases of sexual violence in the communities and to promote security through patrols.

We salute the Government of South Sudan for progress made in improving the legal environment and for ratifying the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and the Maputo protocol which recognizes the need for women's participation in peacebuilding processes and calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. Ending violence against women and girls therefore requires more investment, leadership, and collective action which requires prospers Financing and budget allocation to realize those goals.  

Through this campaign, we are joining the globe in raising voices against the continuation of violence against women and girls, we also call for increased efforts in investment of needful resources towards transformational initiatives that could lead prevention and reduction of GBV cases and creation of awareness and scale up of advocacy.

In February 2023, UNDP together with other agencies, supported the hosting of the first-ever International Conference on Women's Transformational Leadership in South Sudan, which resulted in a communique with key resolutions among them a call for allocation of adequate national budgetary resources to criminal justice institutions for the investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes and for protection and required medical and psychosocial care for victims and survivors.

Our collective action in support of the women of South Sudan means a lot and will go that much further in prevention and response to gender-based violence against women and girls.