On 19 June 2020, to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, LAW hosted a Webinar on “Ov
ercoming the Legacies of Sexual Violence in Conflict and Gender-based Violence in South Sudan”. The webinar was attended by 30 participants, from USAID, UK FCO, JMEC, OHCHR and a range of NGOs.
LAW’s Head of Africa, Stella Ndirangu, mediated the discussions between leading South Sudanese and Ugandan Human Rights lawyers and activists. The panellists shared their insights, experiences, best practices and ideas on how to tackle violence against women and girls in South Sudan.
Discussion during the webinar highlighted the need for women to be involved in political, legislative and judicial processes, to ensure on one hand that their needs and concerns are taken into account, and on the other that they are aware of their rights and can rise as survivor advocates to address stigma at the community level. The panellists and participants also identified a dire need for accountability in South Sudan not only for Conflict Related Sexual Violence in times of conflict, but also to address root causes of gender based violence in times of peace, including the powerful harmful customary practices. Passing legislations and creating a specialised Gender Based Violence Court in South Sudan are good first steps, but political will, funding and awareness raising are key to ensure they are actually implemented and allow survivors of crimes to report them and effectively seek justice.