Pastoral Agents in South Sudan’s Rumbek Diocese “sensitized” on Gender-Based Violence

Clergy, men and women religious, and laity in South Sudan's Rumbek diocese pose for a photo after taking part in the workshop on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) on November 23. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) facilitated the four-day workshop

In the context of the United Nation’s (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women marked on November 25, the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) reached out to the clergy, religious, and laity ministering in the Catholic diocese of Rumbek in a four-day training focusing on ways to deal with Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), a participant has told ACI Africa.

“The training was a UNMISS and Human Rights Department sensitization workshop on SGBV in collaboration with the Diocese of Rumbek in Lakes state,” Fr. Luka Dor, a clergy of Rumbek diocese told ACI Africa in an interview Thursday, November 28.

“SGBV has been there since the beginning but no one was paying attention to it,” South Sudanese Fr. Dor who is the Parish Priest of the Holy Family Cathedral Parish in the township of Rumbek said, referencing the culture of holding women in subordination.

He added, “Some SGBV is part of the Sudanese culture and others are caused by war.”

It is for the reason that the practice is embedded in the culture, the cleric noted, that the workshop was undertaken by UNMISS as a civic education initiative, challenging outdated cultural practices that seem to continue obstructing access to justice for many victims and survivors of SGBV in the world’s youngest nation.


Celebrated under the theme “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape”, the 2019 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25 marked the beginning of 16 days of activism, spreading the message of preventing and ending violence against women in various contexts of the world, culminating on December 10, the International Human Rights Day.

Globally, violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfillment of women and girls’ human rights.

In a recent report by Refugees International, South Sudan is described as “one of the most difficult countries for women” with “some of the highest levels of sexual violence in the world.”

According to this report published October 17, “Even before the civil war officially ended in September 2018, women and girls experienced high levels of gender-based violence (GBV) and had limited ways to address these crimes.”

Recalling the November 20-23 workshop, Fr. Dor expressed appreciation for the knowledge and skills received during the training saying, “The knowledge of SGBV offered to us can help us.”

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Some of the topics covered included “Condemnation of SGBV, advocacy against SGBV in the Church platform, and condemning stigmatization of the survivors of SGBV” a South Sudanese UNMISS Official told ACI Africa.