CEPO launches GBV Eradication Strategy to end sexual violence in S.Sudan
By Daniel Deng Bol
Community Empowerment Progress Organization(CEPO)has launched Gender Based Violence Eradication Strategy in South Sudan aim at minimizing the risk of sexual violence.
Speaking at the launch in Juba today, Edmund Yakani, CEPO Director, said the strategy reflects the short-term humanitarian imperative to deliver a response for survivors of sexual violence and to minimize the risk of ongoing violence through humanitarian action, as well as the need to transition programming approaches from humanitarian relief to integrated early recovery by strengthening national government and non-government structures (NGOs/FBOs/CBOs) to support medium to longer-term, sustained structural, systemic and service interventions that protect women and girls from Human Rights-based violence in accordance with South Sudan law and international legal obligations.
Community Empowerment for Progress Organization-CEPO is a non-profit, civil society, South Sudanese organization, registered by the Ministry of Justice on 17th Nov, 2010. It was formed to engage University students and fresh South Sudanese University graduates in building their respective communities/ societies on a voluntary basis.
The organization was initially formed in Khartoum in 1999 and consisted of mostly University students, but its scope broadened after it was established in Juba, Southern Sudan as separate entity. At its inception, the organization was mainly looking at establishment of Justice and Confidence Centre for provision of legal aid services and peace building and conflict transformation through peace dialogues.CEPO is engaged in the areas of Peace and conflict mitigation, human rights, rule of law, livelihood, governance and democratic transformation.
Please read the GBV Eradication Strategy full document below
Human Rights-based violence takes many forms and includes rape, sexual exploitation, sexual assault and abuse, forced sex and other types of sexual violence, domestic violence, trafficking of women and girls, forced prostitution, sexual harassment and discrimination, and denial of rights. It also encompasses forms of violence that are specific to cultures and societies, such as female genital mutilation, widow inheritance, and early and forced marriage. It is a gross violation of women and girl’s human rights and is also a significant public health issue; the relationship between GBV and HIV/AIDS, for example, is clearly established and demands a concerted response in terms of both prevention and response. Human Rights-based violence is also increasingly being recognized as an inhibitor to development.
During armed conflict women and girls are particularly vulnerable to Human Rights-based violence, including all forms of sexual violence. Recent assessments conducted in South Sudan indicate that displaced women and girls not only fear sexual exploitation and assault but are experiencing other types of Human Rights-based violence as well. Vulnerability to exploitation and abuse by virtue of their age and Human Rights is further increased by the post-election conflict and the prevailing humanitarian and security conditions. Conflict can also exacerbate harmful cultural practices, such as forced and early marriages when parents do not have the resources to take care of their children. Understanding the causal relations between vulnerability of women and girls, types of Human Rights based violence, and, different phases of the conflict, is therefore an essential pre-requisite for defining appropriate response.
In times of peace as well as in times of conflict, sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault and exploitation, is under-reported. Survivors do not speak out because of fear, risk of ongoing violence, shame, social stigma and lack of services that fully respect their confidentiality, rights, wishes, choices and dignity. For these reasons, available service data from displaced communities in South Sudan likely reflect only a small percentage of incidents perpetrated.
Although the GBV Eradication strategy is taking concrete steps to build a coordinated humanitarian response to GBV among IDP communities in South Sudan, much still needs to be urgently done to scale-up and improve both protective and remedial mechanisms.
For effective short and long-term protection from Human Rights-based violence for women and girls in South Sudan, interventions must take place at three levels in order that structural, systemic and individual protections are institutionalized. These levels are:
• Structural level (primary protection): preventative measures to ensure rights are recognized and protected (through international, statutory and traditional laws and (South Sudan Nation Action Plan NAP for the implementation of the UNSCR 1325, south sudan child Act, South Sudan Panel code 2008 and the Bills of rights enshrine in the south sudan transitional constituion);
• Systemic level (secondary protection): systems and strategies to monitor and respond when those rights are breached (statutory and traditional legal/ justice systems, health care systems, social welfare systems and community mechanisms);
• Operative level (tertiary protection): direct services to meet the needs of women and girls who have been abused.
Addressing Human Rights-based violence among IDP communities in South Sudan therefore requires: measures to protect women’s and girl’s rights; actions for intervention when those rights are breached; and services and programs to meet the needs of women and girls who have suffered violence.
Responding to sexual violence in particular requires significant sensitivity. Whilst there is a need for information on the scale and scope of sexual violence for advocacy and program planning purposes, there are significant ethical and programmatic constraints to the way in which incident-related data is collected and disseminated. Furthermore, women’s reasons for not taking up certain services post-incident must be understood and respected by all actors and all response interventions must be implemented in a manner which fully respects the confidentiality, rights, wishes, choices and dignity of survivors.
Successfully protecting internally displaced women and girls from Human Rights-based violence in South Sudan is dependent on the active commitment of, and collaboration between, all actors, including male and female community members. Human Rights-based violence is a cross-cutting issue, and no one authority, organization or agency alone possesses the knowledge, skills, resources or mandate to respond to the complex needs of survivors of violence or to tackle the task of preventing violence against women and girls, yet all have a responsibility to work together to address this serious human rights and public health problem.
• Purpose of this Document
This document outlines the strategy of the GBV Eradication strategy to address GBV in conflict-affected State and local Governments of South Sudan and details an interagency plan of action that reflects the different levels of protective intervention required as well as the roles, responsibilities and mandates of different actors.
The strategy reflects the short-term humanitarian imperative to deliver a response for survivors of sexual violence and to minimize the risk of ongoing violence through humanitarian action, as well as the need to transition programming approaches from humanitarian relief to integrated early recovery by strengthening national government and non-government structures (NGOs/FBOs/CBOs) to support medium to longer-term, sustained structural, systemic and service interventions that protect women and girls from Human Rights-based violence in accordance with South Sudan law and international legal obligations.
• Context of the Strategy
Human Rights-based violence prevention and response intervention in IDP communities and return areas in South Sudan must take into account the context both across and within conflict-affected State and local Governments and provinces, reflecting different population movement patterns and the related changing humanitarian and human rights situation. Therefore the GBV strategy is premised on a number of factors:
• Humanitarian interventions should target the most vulnerable populations – Due to their increased vulnerability by virtue of both their sex and particular circumstances that heighten vulnerability, certain groups of women and girls are more likely to need ongoing relief-oriented service delivery to reduce the risk of their exposure to Human Rights-based violence (for example, female headed households, females with disabilities, elderly women and unaccompanied women and girls, for the ones in need there is a system with Home Care Assistance in Minneapolis to help you or any family member from your home).
• GBV prevention and response interventions must link relief to early recovery programming, whilst not compromising the availability of services to women while they remain in IDP settings or during the return process – a time which can render women even more vulnerable to violence. Linked to the above is the assumption that certain groups of women are less likely to immediately benefit from population movements out of camps, and therefore service delivery in camps must continue whilst women are there.
• There is need for expanded delivery of humanitarian GBV prevention and response interventions in accordance with need, as well as directing efforts to support State and local Government and provincial administrative structures responsible for protecting women and girls from Human Rights-based violence, including officers from the Ministries of Health, Justice, Human Rights and Education, the Human Rights Commission.
• Program planning and implementation must reflect each State and local Government’s different circumstances vis-à-vis population movement, security, deployment and coverage of State and local Government and provincial authorities etc.
• Efforts to address structural and systemic protection for women and girls must simultaneously be prioritized, including advocacy for enforcement of existing laws on GBV and for law reform.
• GBV Eradication strategy
The following strategy has been developed in line with the GBV Eradication strategy responsibilities identified in the GBV Eradication strategy terms of reference and should serve to reinforce key international and national guidelines for addressing Human Rights and GBV, such as: the South Sudan National Guidelines on Medical Management of Rape/Sexual Violence, the National Human Rights Policy, the National GBV Guidelines, and the National Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings.
The strategy of the GBV Eradication strategy is to address both immediate humanitarian service delivery and action to prevent and respond to GBV, as well as longer-term development of services, systems, and structures to protect women and girls from Human Rights-based violence. With regard to the latter objective, the strategy can reinforce the work of the Human Rights Commission on developing a GBV policy for South Sudan.
The GBV Eradication strategy will therefore establish linkages with the National Steering Committee, tasked to develop a National Strategic Framework to address GBV, and work with all relevant actors in South Sudan to:
I. Deliver a set of minimum interventions to prevent and respond to sexual violence in line with the National Human Rights Guidelines for Human Rights-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings and other international and national policies, resources, and guidelines.
II. Transition humanitarian interventions to national government and non-government structures (NGOs/FBOs/CBOs) to enable the shift from humanitarian to development actions, as displaced populations move to transitional settlements in some areas and home in others.
In order to achieve the above, the following activities will be prioritized by GBV Eradication strategy actors:
• National level: with the aim of strengthening the coordination framework and building response capacity, addressing capacity gaps and ensuring all actors are working in line with accepted GBV prevention and response standards, ensuring linkages across and technical support to other clusters, mobilizing resources, advocating on GBV related issues;
• State and local government level: with the aim of planning State and local Government -level structural, systemic and service level activities, including as a priority, developing interagency agreements defining roles, responsibilities and mutual accountabilities for action on sexual violence and abuse and establishing a case management system;
• Camp/community level: with the aim of coordinating interagency case management and response service delivery and prevention actions;
• Inter-level: with the aim of facilitating coordination and information-sharing across national, State and local Government, and camp/community level coordination mechanisms.
• Assessment and Monitoring
• Improving data collection, analysis and understanding of nature and scale of sexual and Human Rights-based violence;
• Assessing and monitoring specific protection risks in relation to Human Rights-based violence in displaced camps and communities;
• Human rights violations monitoring and information dissemination for advocacy and action;
• Collating and disseminating programming lessons-learned and good practice.
• Protection through humanitarian action
• Addressing GBV-related protection issues in IDP camps and communities;
• Providing technical support to all clusters for sector specific service design and delivery to maximise protection of women and girls including camp management, food, NFI, water and sanitation, education;
• Institutionalising actions for prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse by humanitarian workers;
• Advocacy to revise national laws in accordance with international standards.
• GBV prevention and response
• Providing interagency and multi-sectoral prevention and response including:
Response: Capacity building of service providers and NGOs/FBOs/CBOs to respond to sexual violence by training community leaders, police, legal, medical, reproductive health and psychosocial service providers on systems and protocols for responding to sexual and domestic violence and on working with survivors;
– Case management of survivors including provision of information, advocacy, safety and ensuring referral to services including: sexual violence health services, psychosocial support and legal advice.
Prevention: Community mobilization against sexual and domestic violence.
While prioritizing these activities, particular attention should be given to the following cross-cutting issues:
• Promoting Human Rights equality and Human Rights mainstreaming as key components of addressing GBV;
• Supporting participatory approaches;
• Engaging men and young males;
• Engaging girls;
• Mobilizing the media;
• Addressing GBV in schools;
• Conducting outreach to the most vulnerable, particularly those with disabilities.
• GBV Eradication strategy Action Plan for South Sudan
The following table outlines activities that need to be undertaken in order to prevent and respond to GBV among IDP populations in South Sudan. This framework will inform development of State and local Government-level action plans to address GBV.
Activities During Displacement
Activities Supporting Early Recovery
• Support law reform initiatives to promote adoption of laws that conform to international standards and promote and protect women and girl’s rights
• Ensure humanitarian actors and others with responsibility for protecting women and girls from violence act in accordance with international humanitarian law and standards that promote and protect women’s rights, while taking into account the unique challenges faced by people with disability in relation to GBV
• Interagency and inter-sectoral training on human rights, women’s rights and GBV, international standards, national laws and practices
• Awareness-raising on human rights and women’s rights for traditional leaders and communities
• Human rights violations monitoring and information dissemination for advocacy and action
• Audit relevant national laws and practices to assess areas for possible reform
• Support law reform initiatives to promote adoption of laws that conform to international standards and promote and protect women and girl’s rights
• Technical assistance and support to develop national policies and mechanisms relating to violence against women in health, legal, judicial and social welfare sectors
• Advocacy and technical support for substantive and procedural law reform
• Prioritize areas for policy and guideline development with Ministries of Health, Justice, Social Services, Education and other relevant government agencies
• Education on human rights and women’s rights for traditional leaders, teachers and other “duty bearers” to encourage change in practices that condone or perpetuate violence against women and girls
• Rights violations monitoring and information dissemination for advocacy and action
• Establish integrated health, protection and psychosocial response to meet the immediate survival needs of survivors
• Assess and address age and Human Rights-related risks and vulnerabilities in camp settings
• Technical support for sector specific intervention design and delivery to maximize systemic safety for women and girls (shelter and site management, food and water distribution, social services etc.), while taking into account unique challenges faced by people with disabilities in relation to GBV.
• Develop and disseminate Information, Education and Communication (IEC) guidelines to ensure that all awareness-raising materials meet appropriate ethical, technical and context-specific standards.
• Develop and disseminate case management guidelines that include a set of agreed-upon forms to facilitate appropriate response and data collection.
• Code of Conduct, reporting and investigation system in place to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation by humanitarian workers
• Education and training for government and non-government (NGOs/FBOs/CBOs) service providers in health care, legal and protection systems, psychosocial care, and education sector
• Technical support and advocacy to health, social welfare, police and justice and education systems at both policy and practice levels
• Coordinate and support integrated health, protection, psychosocial and legal/justice response
• Monitor sector specific interventions to ensure ongoing safety and protection, while taking into account unique challenges faced by people with disabilities in relation to GBV.
• Establish data collection systems and monitor ongoing incidents
Activities During Displacement
Activities Supporting Early Recovery
• Information and sensitization for communities about available services
• Engage communities in participatory processes to identify strengths, to help communities prevent violence, and identify positive coping mechanisms to support for survivors
• Prevent and manage the consequences of sexual violence
• Case management of survivors including immediate emotional support, information, advocacy, safety and referral and plan for the provision of culturally appropriate psychosocial support
• Community education and mobilization to promote and protect women’s rights and to de-stigmatize survivors
• Comprehensive case management care and support addressing physical, emotional, psychological and social consequences of GBV:
Medical: Medical examination and treatment as per standardized rape protocols, forensic examination and documentation
Psychosocial: Culturally-specific support for individual and groups of women to assist with coping and social integration
Protection: Locally appropriate protection and safety options
Legal/Justice: Access to legal recourse where requested, including linkage with Police and Courts and court support
• Provide services to specific vulnerable populations such as adolescent mothers
• Training and development of practitioners and services in relevant disciplines
• Economic and social empowerment activities for women and girls in areas of return
• Protocols that are aligned with international standards have been established for the clinical management of sexual violence survivors within the emergency area at all levels of the health system
• A coordinated rapid situational analysis has been conducted and documented
• The proportion of sexual violence cases for which legal action has been taken
• The proportion of organizations with codes of conduct on SEA and referral and reporting mechanisms in place
• Establish coordination mechanisms and orientation of partners from all levels including government and CBOs.
• Number of women/girls reporting incidents of sexual violence per 10,000 population
• Percent of rape survivors who report to health facilities/workers within 72 hours who receive appropriate medical care
• Proportion of sexual violence survivors who report 72 hours or more after the incident who receive a basic set of psychosocial and medical services
• Number of activities initiated by community members targeted at the prevention and response of sexual violence of women and girls
• Proportion of women and girls who demonstrate knowledge of available services, why and when they would be accessed
• SGBV data collection and Monitoring and Evaluation Tools developed