South Sudan has been plagued with years of civil war and violent political crises. Since its independence, the people, communities, and institutions of South Sudan have had them opportunity to focus on rebuilding the country. However, the years of conflict and insecurity have created an environment particularly challenging for sustainable peace, characterized by severely weakened national institutions. The weakness of the justice and security institutions, paired with a highly militarized environment, contributes to a pervasive culture of violence.
Because of limited capacity, the justice institutions of South Sudan have not been able to fully ensure universal access to justice and protection of human rights. Many South Sudanese citizens, notably marginalized groups and communities including women, girls, internally displaced people (IDPs) and returnees, remain without sufficient access to fair, effective, and efficient justice, as well as security services. Deficits in the justice and security systems impede the realization of legitimate stability, leaving individuals, families, and communities without adequate safety or security, access to justice, or redress for past and ongoing human rights violations.
The absence of accessible justice has particularly dire impacts on survivors of, as well as those at an elevated risk of being subjected to, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). SGBV is common and one of the most critical threats to the wellbeing of women and children in South Sudan. A lingering impact of past conflict, SGBV remains rife, with the lack of access to justice often allowing perpetrators of SGBV to act with impunity. Even when justice is accessible, survivors may refrain from exercising their rights due to fear of stigma or reprisals – an issue exacerbated in the present context.
In response to the challenges of particularly SGBV survivors, UNDP in partnership with the Judiciary of South Sudan, with funding from the Kingdom of Netherlands, supported the establishment of a Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Juvenile Court. Since December 2020, the GBV and Juvenile Court has been hearing cases in efforts to address impunity for gender-based crimes and hold perpetrators accountable. The aim of the GBV Court is to ensure the protection of women and girls’ human rights and accountability of perpetrators, as well as prevention efforts of re-victimization and stigmatization. The Juvenile Court has been determining cases of children in conflict with the law and deciding on appropriate sentences.
Despite this, the GBV Court continues to face challenges in the delivery of justice for victims of SGBV, and adherence to relevant human rights obligations found in the eleven international and regional treaties South Sudan has signed. The court serves with limited financial and human resources and is difficult to access for those not living in the capital city. There are incessant delays in the workings of the courts, which have delayed justice for SGBV victims and juveniles. These limitations place the Courts at a risk of failing to uphold human rights, women's rights, fair trial standards, as well as address discrimination against women, girls and boys.
Furthermore, juvenile offenders and survivors of GBV lack critical information about their rights, the prevailing legal framework, and the availability and accessibility of legal aid services, all of which have hindered their access to justice. Low awareness of the GBV referral pathway and availability of services i.e., health, security and legal services, have deterred victims from reporting cases and seeking effective legal remedies. Because of lack of information on the due process of law, children in conflict with the law who are generally vulnerable due to their age, level of maturity, mental illness or poverty, face discrimination and revictimization in the juvenile justice system. Additionally, there is largely low public awareness especially among the indigent communities, on the rights of children in conflict with the law and GBV survivors, existence of the GBV and Juvenile Courts and their systems in South Sudan.
Therefore, to improve public knowledge on GBV and Juvenile Justice issues and the work of the GBV and Juvenile Courts in South Sudan, UNDP is seeking one competent and reputable Civil Society Organization or National Non-Governmental Organization or Community-Based Organization or Media Organization to conduct regular radio outreaches in form of talk shows, jingles, dramas, vox pops and others on issues of GBV and juvenile justice. Outreach topics will include but are not limited to; the different forms of GBV in South Sudan, protection of the needs and rights of GBV survivors through victim-centered and rights-based approaches, fair trial rights and treatment of juvenile offenders and survivors in Court, and survivors’ access to justice and legal remedies through the GBV Courts.
Previous recipients of grants may participate in the current competitive process.
- OBJECTIVES AND EXPECTED OUTPUTS/ DELIVERABLES
Applicants are requested to submit their proposals as potential grant implementers in Juba. The main objective of the grant is to identify one civil society organization (CSO) or National Non-Governmental Organization (NNGO) or Community-Based Organization (CBO) or Media Organization with operational presence and capacities in Juba to do the following:
- Enhanced public knowledge of around 850,000 people on the different forms of GBV in South Sudan, treatment of juvenile offenders in court, protection of the needs and rights of GBV survivors and children in conflict with the law, and other key related topics by 80%.
- Strengthened legal empowerment of women and girls at risk of GBV, survivors of GBV, and communities in South Sudan to protect themselves from violence and combat GBV in all its forms.
- Increased advocacy for survivors of GBV and children’s access to justice and legal remedies through the available legal framework and GBV and Juvenile Courts.