JUBA, May 24, 2016 – Moving towards a people-centered human rights state in South Sudan is the focus of a three-day Symposium for academic discussion opening today in Juba, hosted by the College of Law (COL) at the University of Juba in South Sudan.
The COL is promoting greater awareness and dialogue on contemporary human rights issues in South Sudan. With support from the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), the COL has organized the Symposium to provide a platform for dialogue on important legal, political and human rights topics.
“No constitutional government exists without protection of human rights. Human rights is as topical an issue in South Sudan as it is in the region and the continent. Therefore, a learning institution like the College of Law at University of Juba should disseminate knowledge on human rights for the realization of dignity and equality,” observed the Dean of the College of Law, El-Faki Chol Lual on the eve of the Symposium on 23 May 2016.
The Symposium is bringing together key subject matter experts from the region – including Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and South Sudan – to engage with national policymakers and leading legal practitioners in South Sudan. Participants will present a series of discussion papers addressing questions around enshrining human rights in the Constitution, empowering citizens and enhancing human rights awareness, as well as developing institutions to administer justice consistently and transparently.
The Symposium is significant for the COL as it seeks to re-establish itself as an institution since it relocated from Khartoum to Juba in 2011. The COL is responsible for educating future justice actors on the common law, English-language system adopted by South Sudan, helping justice professionals adopt a holistic, well-rounded view of justice. IDLO has partnered with the COL since 2011 to build capacity to provide relevant legal education.
“The United States is proud to support the College of Law through our partnership with IDLO, an organization renowned for its expertise in promoting the rule of law,” said U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Molly Phee at the opening session. This year the U.S. government awarded IDLO a $4.2 million grant to strengthen the College of Law through assistance with the curriculum, support for teachers, supplies for the library, and resources for a legal aid clinic. “The Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan calls on the Transitional Government of National Unity to initiate a process led and owned by the people to draft a permanent constitution. I hope during the Transitional Period you will fully embrace this responsibility and privilege,” said Ambassador Phee.
Decades of civil war and neglect left South Sudan’s legal, judicial, legislative and law enforcement institutions without the human resources necessary to fulfill their mandates. The COL is making an essential contribution towards the development of a strong foundation in the nascent legal development of the country.
The Symposium is taking place from May 24 to May 26, 2016 at the Royal Palace Hotel in Juba, South Sudan.