The UK's first ambassador to South Sudan, Alistair McPhail, has called for a focus upon tackling the country's violence against women ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Friday.
The day will mark the start of a sixteen day campaign which “calls for all in society to work to eradicate gender-based violence, including men, the police and security forces, the government and private sectors, and rural and urban communities.”
In this regard “We must act now to address these issues within South Sudan,” states the British Embassy in Juba.
The UN Security Council Resolution 1325 requires parties involved in conflict to respect women's rights and to involve them in the processes of peace and post-conflict reconstruction.
South Sudan is just over three months old and still a predominantly patriarchal society. With 60% of the population being female, a greater integration of women in the building the state will be challenging will be crucial in adhering to Resolution 1325 and combating violence against women.
The International Rescue Committee released a report in July stating that "Violence against women and girls is a pervasive, devastating and tolerated problem," - a legacy of more than two decades of civil war.
The British Embassy explains that a team working on women, peace and security in South Sudan have discovered a “relatively low awareness about South Sudan's obligations as a UN member state with regards to UNSCR 1325.”
It also expressed its “hope to see South Sudan's ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in the near future.”
The UK is supporting the establishment of South Sudan Women's Lawyers Association and the training of traditional leaders and courts on basic human rights principles, including the importance of women's rights.
The UN announced funding for programmes combating violence against women in September.