United Nations Police has trained eighty members of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) as well as traditional leaders have been trained on human rights and international humanitarian law in Torit, Eastern Equatoria state.
The United Nations Police or UNPOL is tasked with enhancing international peace and security by supporting countries in conflict, post-conflict and other crisis situations. Across peace operations worldwide, UNPOL works with military and civilian peacekeepers to protect civilians, build peace and help implement individual mission mandates.
At UNMISS, UNPOL works to protect civilians by providing a safe and secure environment for South Sudanese people who have fled violence and sought sanctuary at Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites with the aim of ensuring durable peace across the country. Police officers also support efforts to prevent sexual and gender-based violence and to promote human rights by engaging directly with the communities they serve.
Protection of women and children as well as addressing conflict-related sexual violence were among key sessions delivered to participants during the three-day sensitization workshop.
Aisha Willy Agany, a female chief from the Ilangi residential area located in Torit said the challenge encountered in monitoring security in residential areas is movement of children in the nighttime. She however appreciated the contribution of female PCRC members who assist women and children at the grassroots with their personal security and protection.
The workshop organized by the South Sudan National Police Service and supported by United Nations Police (UNPOL), introduced participants to their obligations contained in international legal frameworks, such as respect for human rights and other laws.
Currently 1,446 UNPOL personnel are deployed in 10 regions across South Sudan. Of these, 847 belong to Formed Police Units, 561 are Individual Police Officers, while 38 are correctional services staff.
Brigadier Gasmiro Gaitano Okomos said the work of the PCRC focal points is vital and helps police detect and control criminal activities. The deputy Police Commissioner in Eastern Equatoria in his submission also said since the formation of these committees in several locations across the state, the police service has found it easier to coordinate its activities and track criminals.
The measures taken by UNPOL to protect people living in UN protection sites include preventive and visibility patrols, confidence and trust building patrols, cordon and search operations to maintain the civilian nature of these sites, screening access control, security incident assessments as well as engaging with community leaders and other stakeholders.
To build the capacity and effectiveness of the South Sudan Police Service and other national law enforcement agencies, UNPOL provides technical assistance and advice in line with human rights principles and international humanitarian law. UNPOL also conducts community policing exercises to strengthen community involvement in crime prevention and to build partnerships with the people we are here to serve
UNPOL officer Tashi Phuntsho said the training was timely and a necessary tool to guide PCRC focal persons in developing their skills to report suspicions to prevent crimes.
According to UNPOL officer Tashi Phuntsho, UNPOL has empowered the PCRC to know their rights and they, in turn, will educate their communities to respect human rights. By doing so, it helps create a peaceful environment in the community.
The Police Community Relations Committee was established a few years ago, with the aim of assisting the public and other law enforcement agencies to prevent and fight crime.
Among key obligations of the international peace keeping body include Protecting civilians from threats of physical violence, monitor and report abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, support the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Additionally, the force is mandated to support the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement and provide technical assistance and advice to the South Sudan National Police Service and other national law enforcement agencies.
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