South Sudanese army officers received training on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, among other subjects, during a session led by the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country (UNMISS).
The three-day training session aimed to boost the knowledge of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) on human rights in the military, and covered topics such as civil disorder, humanitarian law and implementation of human rights in armed conflicts, as well as sexual and gender-based violence and children’s rights.
“Some of the officers lack basic knowledge on human rights in a way that has been witnessed in their actions and omissions,” she stated in a news release.
The training – conducted in Yambio, the capital of Western Equatoria state – was carried out in collaboration with UNMISS Yambio military observers and the state Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Forum of Civil Society Groups.
“When members of the military have enough awareness on the meaning and applications of human rights, they will promote and protect (them), as they are the main actors in human rights protection,” said Bashir Ahmed, Chairperson of the Human Rights Forum of Civil Society Groups.
Akuot Aiom Akuot, one of the 30 senior SPLA officers who took part in the training, said the sessions had increased his knowledge on the fundamental rights of citizens and prisoners of war.
“We learned many things, like how to protect the rights and safety of prisoners of war without killing them, during and after war,” Mr. Akuot said. “We also learned how to protect civilians from any type of threat and the rights of children, and how to avoid recruiting them into the army.”
UNMISS stated the training will be carried out among the military in all 10 states of the country.