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UNMISS assures safety for civil society activists in Unity State

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has assured safety and protection for civil society activists in Unity State amid fears of intimidation and harassment.

 This was revealed on Thursday by the UNMISS head of field office Hiroko Hirahara during meeting in Bentiu town with civil society groups on their participation in the ongoing constitutional making process.

“The purpose of this conference is to empower you to stand up strongly to represent the voiceless people at the grassroot levels, UNMISS will continue to support and will protect you from being harassed as you have already reported some cases of harassment,” said Hiroko.

The meeting was attended by representatives of civil society organizations, trade unions, teachers and women union, and youth union.

The participants also discussed collaboration with UNMISS and the Unity State government on how to address the problems caused by flooding since last year, expansion of political space, and freedom of expression.

Unity State representative of civil society organizations Thijin Yian, called on UNMISS to help mediate for political space, freedom of movement and expression between the state government and civil society organizations.

“We are ready to participate and take lead in the permanent constitutional making process, and in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement, but we need more protection from UNMISS,” said Yian.

He suggested UNMISS conducts conferences and workshops to rebuild the strained relationship between civil society and state government.

In December last year, UNMISS agreed to conduct a series of dialogue and workshops between civil society organizations and the state government on governance, and peace implementation.

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