United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)

“We need to live together and respect each other’s rights; those in the refugee camps, the displaced and the disadvantaged need to come back live together in peace,” sings Emmanuel Sugar, in the opening stanza of his uplifting musical performance.  

Sugar is an up-and-coming South Sudanese artist who is also a physically challenged secondary school student in Torit. His emotional musical messages moved hundreds of members of the crowd gathered at Torit’s Freedom Square for Human Rights Day celebrations.

Another 15 cultural dance groups, representing tribes of Eastern Equatoria state, also shared messages of gender equality on the special day which marks the end of the 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence.

The occasion provided an opportunity for some non-governmental human rights actors to raise concerns about the need to stop working in isolation and to build strong partnerships with the state government and United Nations to protect the rights of citizens locally and across the country.

“We are not enemies of the government or of national and international humanitarian organizations. We are partners, agents, and we want to work together with you to implement human rights activities in our state,” said Onen Charles, the chairperson of Civil Society Network in Torit.  “This calls for strong, collective strategies so that we share examples of good work that we have done. We need to work as team.”

The event, under the theme “All Human, All Equal” was hosted by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to raise awareness among communities, local authorities, and security forces about the need to protect and respect human rights.

South Sudan has a poor record on human rights with pervasive conflict and abuses, particularly against women and girls. There is a desperate need for the nation to strengthen its efforts to prevent violations and hold perpetrators to account.  

“I encourage all of us to reflect on the current situation here in Eastern Equatoria and to identify ways to collectively and individually improve the protection of human rights,” concluded Caroline Waudo, Head of UNMISS’ Torit Field Office. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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