South Sudan is currently drafting a new constitution, an essential document and a prerequisite for holding elections scheduled for 2024. But what exactly should it contain? The UN peacekeeping mission in the country recently discussed this issue with internally displaced persons in Malakal.
“After this two-day workshop I have a much better understanding of what a constitution is, and that I, as a citizen and woman, can and should be involved in this process and to vote when we have elections. We internally displaced persons and refugees have the same rights as everyone else,” affirmed Nyua Arop Monykuany, one of 100 persons participating in the event.
The gathering, with attendees from both the Protection of Civilians site and Malakal town, was jointly organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the UN Development Programme, UN Women, the UN Refugee Agency and the South Sudan Relief & Rehabilitation Commission.
Together, those in attendance came up with a list of suggestions related to both the constitution and the subsequent elections, including a defined term limit for the presidency, stronger youth participation and a conducive environment both for political discourses and the elections themselves. Gender equality was also requested, as was geographic representation of female politicians.
“As women, we have been marginalized for a long time, especially women at the grassroots level, because many times political posts are filled by people from the capital. This time, we want the representation of women from all walks of life, and we want this to be reflected in the constitution,” said Achol Nyibong, a refugee participating in the discussions.
The peacekeeping mission’s Political Affairs Division is conducting similar awareness-raising workshops with different stakeholders across South Sudan.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).