Improving Access to Justice to Build Resilience UNDP is committed to building strong institutions and resilience in South Sudan through the Access to Justice, Security and Human Rights Programme. Here is a snapshot of our work so far.

Due to years of civil and political unrest in South Sudan, rule of law and justice institutions have weakened, limiting their ability to deliver accountable, effective and equitable justice services. As a result, crime and lawlessness have increased with impunity, directly affecting communities. Human rights violations from the past remain unaddressed, delaying accountability by perpetrators for past crimes. With weak and limited mechanisms to seek redress and justice, the people have lost confidence in the justice system, in some instances, taking the law in their own hands in the form of revenge and violence.

Through the Access to Justice, Security and Human Rights programme, UNDP works with national partners to address the drivers of conflict and build resilient communities by strengthening institutions that resolve disputes quickly and fairly, empowering people to claim their rights peacefully, increasing safety and security at community level, establishing transitional justice mechanisms and building a national system to stem further human rights violations.

Our Strategy

We deliver targeted assistance to remove structural and other barriers that undermine the rule of law and human rights as well as create opportunities for communities and people to engage with key institutions and processes. This is key to increasing public trust in government and prevent a relapse into conflict. Our strategy focuses on five inter-related outputs.



Making Law Work for Survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Meet 20-year-old Martha* from Wau, a survivor of gender-based violence. Here is her story of strength.

20-year-old survivor Martha*, the third-born, grew up in Wau with her parents and six siblings. She attended and enjoyed school up to eighth grade in primary school. While she dreamed of progressing to university, her father was unable to continue providing for school fees and scholastic needs. With the aim to save money to return to school, Martha started a small business of selling tea and breakfast in the Wau market.

When the son of a local prominent government official approached her family to ask for her hand in marriage, the arrangement was done without her consent. When she found out about legal aid services available in her community, she approached them about defense representation. However, despite the progress of the case to the courts by lawyers, the family’s reluctance to appear for proceedings and continued pressure convinced Martha to drop the case. Martha's case was handled by UNDP's implementing partner, the Civil Society Human Rights Organization (CSHRO). They continue to provide legal aid, psycho-social support, and counseling to survivors like Martha.

*name changed to protect privacy

Strengthening Community-based Referral Pathways

In partnership with UN agencies under the Joint UN gender-based violence programme, referral pathways have been established. Such as, One Stop Centres to provide comprehensive responses to gender-based violence survivors including clinical support, legal aid and psycho-social support.

In addition, with support from UNDP, Special Protection Units have been established in police stations to respond and investigate reports relating to gender-based violence. “If there are cases in one of the stations we don’t always have the ability to get to the survivors and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice,” says Mama Dodo, Head of a Special Protection Unit within the South Sudan National Police Service.

“Despite challenges, we Concentrate on addressing issues including sexual violence cases by the military, and early and forced marriages. We are focused on putting an end to this," Mama Dodo, Head of a Special Protection Unit within the South Sudan National Police Service

Reintegration into Society through Education and Skills

Along an energetic intersection of Ministries Road in Juba, mixed with the sounds of boda-bodas and traffic police whistles, a young barber named Peter is giving his client a fresh fade. Originally from Yirol, Peter was incarcerated at 16 years old for a fight which resulted in a death. As a juvenile, he avoided the death penalty, but he could not raise the funds to pay for bail and related fines. Peter was released in 2017, after spending five years in Juba Central Prison.

“I did not want to give up the opportunity to do something on my release,” says Peter, now 23, when he explains his motivation to participate in the hair dressing and auto mechanics courses offered at the VOCATIONAL TRAINING CENTre

Peter now operates a barber stand with two chairs. While he learned how to do the technical aspects of his work through the training, he’s found his natural ability to interact and build relationships with customers helps grow his business the most.

With the goal to help transform prisons in South Sudan into institutions for reform and reintegration, UNDP established a Vocational Training Centre in Juba Central Prison in collaboration with the National Prisons Service of South Sudan and funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Since 2016, over 100 inmate trainees have graduated from the training programme and been released.

Our work has been made possible due to the continued support and funding by the Government of Sweden, People of Japan, and the Kingdom of Netherlands.