IOM, UNMISS Support Customary Law Review in Warrap State

Kuajok, Warrap State - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in collaboration the Kong Koc Project held a five days customary law review for Warrap State in Kuajok.

The event brought together over 150 community members including women, youth, elders, chiefs, and government representatives to ascertain and review the State's customary laws, including the landmark Wanh-Alel customary law code that was first ascertained 50 years ago.  

In South Sudan 90% of disputes are resolved before customary courts. Statutory channels for dispute resolution remain inaccessible for the general population.

Customary authorities are key actors in resolving disputes and maintaining peace and stability in communities.

“The role of the UN is simply to support communities coming together to ascertain and review their own customary laws. Society has changed a lot in 50 years. Today, we know we need to include women in all decision-making, as expressed in the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan. I urge you to speak up and remain vigilant in continuing to ensure the rights of each community member, especially most vulnerable ones, are fully protected.”, said Pyry Salomo Paulasaari, IOM South Sudan’s Peacebuilding Project Officer during the workshop.

During workshop discussions, community members aired out their opinions about marriage, divorce, and other key matters in their community. IOM's technical support helps facilitate discussions and identify gaps with national laws, including the Bill of Rights of the Transitional Constitution.

“Let us remove bad practices in our customs and keep the good practices, especially the bad practices that are creating unrest in our communities. We are happy to invited to this review process, this way we as women will point out the things affecting us in the community. Women have to be respected and treated equal as we all human beings together with the men”, said Mama Aditdit Akec, one of the female participants in the workshop.

The review of customary laws aims to promote peace and social cohesion among the communities in Warrap State through strengthened traditional authority that upholds reviewed customary laws reflecting current realities of community life and rights of community members, which will in turn promote long-lasting stability.  

This customary law review process is part of activities under the Joint UN Programme on Access to Education, Livelihoods and Peace implemented by IOM, WFP and UNICEF is funded by the European Union and the Kong Koc project by UNMISS and UNDP is funded by the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

For more information, please contact Nabie Loyce in IOM South Sudan, email: , Tel: +211 912380115

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