Statement on International Women’s Day by the South Sudan Women, Peace, and Security Working Group, co-chaired by the Embassies of Norway and Canada and facilitated by UN Women
On International Women’s Day, we call for a South Sudan in which the rights of all women and girls are secure, and where women can participate safely and meaningfully in decision-making processes at all levels of society. The Women, Peace, and Security Working Group calls on the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity to ensure meaningful participation of women in the peace process which is now at a critical juncture.
The Women, Peace, and Security Agenda has seen increased attention in South Sudan of late. The International Conference on Women’s Transformational Leadership that took place from February 13 to 5, 2023, in Juba, convened and energized a diverse group of women leaders from across South Sudan, to inform and coordinate efforts towards transformational leadership. The challenge now is to bring the outcomes of the conference to the women and girls of this country. We also note progress on the development of South Sudan’s second National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, with the holding of a workshop to validate the plan from March 2 to 3, 2023. However, a plan cannot affect change in itself. To demonstrate its resolve, the Government of South Sudan is well-positioned to build on the positive momentum following the recent conference and validation workshop by funding the actions agreed in the National Action Plan. As partners, we are ready to support on next steps in relation to both the conference and National Action Plan.
Serious challenges persist in South Sudan. Women and girls bear the brunt of subnational conflicts across the country. Women are disproportionately affected by conflict-related sexual violence, gender-based violence and harmful social norms. These practices prevent women from fully benefiting from the universal rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled. We welcome the government’s ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) in December last year. The next step is to ensure its full implementation. Similarly, the Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan contains many provisions that seek to uphold the rights of women and girls, including gender parity in public institutions. However, delays in implementation are causing South Sudan’s progress on gender equality to stall.
On this International Women’s Day, the Women, Peace, and Security Working Group in South Sudan calls for action to:
- Undertake concrete political and financial commitments to support women and girls’ meaningful public participation ahead of the next elections and in the constitution-making process;
- Increase public service delivery, including for services preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence;
- End impunity for perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence;
- Establish an African Union-backed hybrid court to investigate and prosecute war crimes and other human rights violations; and
- Renew efforts to reduce the digital divide, which is particularly detrimental to rural women as well as females in general, and which has the potential to create opportunities in support of the people of South Sudan and shared economic prosperity.
British Embassy to South Sudan
Embassy of Canada to South Sudan
EU Delegation to South Sudan
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to South Sudan
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to South Sudan
Royal Norwegian Embassy to South Sudan
Embassy of Sweden to South Sudan
Swiss Cooperation Office in Juba
United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) in South Sudan
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Sudan
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in South Sudan
United Nations Mission (UNMISS) in South Sudan
The Women, Peace and Security Working Group in South Sudan includes the Embassies of Canada, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, the EU Delegation, USAID, the United Nations (UN Women, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNMISS), AUMISS, IGAD, RJMEC and institutions established under the Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, as well as CARE International and TITI Foundation.