Our newest office in the world’s newest country
To support the local human rights movement, Civil Rights Defenders is opening an office in South Sudan.
”This gives us more solidarity and the sense that we are not the only ones struggling with human rights in South Sudan,” says Jackline Nasiwa, a local human rights defender.
The development of human rights and democracy is going slowly in the world’s youngest country, in a region scarred by conflict and human rights violations. Both government institutions and civil society struggle to get operations running efficiently. Yet the hopes for a peaceful society with respect for human rights are high among the South Sudanese people.
To support local civil society, Civil Rights Defenders is now opening an office in the country. The office is going to be run by local experts and staff and will support our civil society partners in South Sudan with building organisational capacity, improving the security for their staff, engaging the community, as well as work to ensure accountability for those violating human rights.
“South Sudan has just begun its journey. It is crucial to build a strong civil society where its people are aware of their human rights and are better equipped to promote and defend them.”
“South Sudan has just begun its journey. It is crucial to build a strong civil society where its people are aware of their human rights and are better equipped to promote and defend them,” says Mesfin Bekele, Head of the Africa Department at Civil Rights Defenders.
One of few human rights actors
There is a great need for humanitarian assistance in South Sudan after all the hardship and conflict it has endured since its foundation in 2011. Although there are already many humanitarian organisations operating in the country, there is a need to establish a more long-term presence of human rights and democracy actors. Civil Rights Defenders aims to be a key actor present in the country, working with local partners to promote human rights.
The Lundin Oil case shows it can be done
The office is opening at a time when South Sudan has been in the spotlight with the start of the historical trial against two former executives of the Swedish oil company Lundin Oil, now Orrön Energy. The two corporate leaders have been indicted with complicity in grave war crimes committed by Sudan’s regime in what is now South Sudan.
Civil Rights Defenders follows the trial, and we work closely with human rights defenders in the country to fight impunity and ensure justice.
“Justice for human rights violations may take time, but it is possible. In this case, it has taken more than 30 years, but we finally witness suspects being held legally accountable for their actions. This is a vindication for those who work hard to document the violations at the time despite the risks,” says Mesfin Bekele.