09 November 2010 - Forty senior officers from the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) completed a two-day training workshop focussing on the rule of law, the promotion and defence of human rights and the role the SPLA can play in this context.
Organized by the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission (SSHRC) and the UNMIS Human Rights office in conjunction with the SPLA, the training sought to inform its participants about basic human rights principles and standards, international human rights law, the military's role and involvement with civil society organizations belonging to the Southern Sudan Human Rights Forum, and the need to forge better channels of communications between the SPLA and the SSHRC.
The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sudan Jasbir Singh Lidder closed the training workshop and praised the cooperation between the SPLA, the SSHRC and the UNMIS Human Rights section to foster respect for human rights in Southern Sudan. He also noted that the army should serve as a symbol of discipline for society at large.
SSHRC Executive Director Victor Lado called for a coordinated effort by all human rights actors and institutions in Southern Sudan for more effective protection and promotion of human rights.
"The human rights commission is trying to build partnerships with all stakeholders like the military, police and civil society organizations," said Lado. "Human rights work is not somebody's work but everybody's work".
The UNMIS Chief Human Rights Officer Benedict Sannoh said his section's mandate includes the provision of material and technical support to the SSHRC to help build its capacity.
SPLA Maj. Gen. Tour Alier hailed the training for increasing the army's awareness of human rights issues and urged fellow participants to share what they learnt with their army colleagues. He also urged the SSHRC to organize more training workshops for other active-duty SPLA soldiers.
A similar two-day training got underway on 10 November for 40 senior officers of the Southern Sudan Police Service.