Nonviolent campaigns sensitise Lakes State youth on their rights

Nonviolent campaigns sensitise Lakes State youth on their rights

Nonviolent campaigns on basic human rights in Rumbek Centre and East in Lakes State are helping young people and communities to advocate for their rights and tackle issues facing them through peaceful approaches.

In July 2022, the state governor revealed that the parliament enacted a law prohibiting early and forced marriage to promote girls’ education and ensure they do not fall victim to cultural practices.

Rumbek Youth and Sports Association (RYSA) had to embark on developing key messages essential to sensitising locals on their rights, hence becoming a catalyst for change in the vicinity. This motivates decision-makers to act on issues facing the communities.

As a result, the various campaigns dubbed #TitKoRot translates to “Let us protect ourselves” and #TiiŋkoBAAi also means “Let us be the watchdogs of our society and #HokAGoorNhomlau– that means “We need freedom”, the young people decided to shun violence and press peaceful options to ask for their rights.

For instance, young girls engaged in #TitKoRot crusade are influencing their peers to protect themselves from early and forced marriages.

Mary Alek Ater, an 18-year-old student at Savannah High School, confessed that the engagement was more than a lesson in the class, admitting that it has equipped her with tools to boost nonviolent campaigns.

“I am going to take the lead in defending these rights. It is high time to help our communities understand the importance of nonviolent action in claiming their basic rights in our settings,” she explained during a session in Rumbek.

“At our various household levels, we seem not to know the significance of human rights. So, I will always try to sit down with the family to mentor them.  There is no way someone should keep quiet when things are not moving well,” she added.

The equipped youngster praises the local advocacy group for standing tall to undertake such campaigns through students.

During #HokAGoorNhomlau right to freedom campaign, about four secondary schools in Rumbek attended the event at Savannah High School. This attracted about 300 students, with 180 being females and 120 as males. The targeted schools were; Mazalari Secondary, Rumbek Senior, Riakdor Secondary, and Savannah High School respectively.

To ensure sustainability, the association formed a human rights club in each school to continue the journey. The campaign was being funded by the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).

Abas Mayen Mayek, the Executive Director for the Association, said they had to roll out to schools in a bid to tackle violations and create a conducive environment for all in Lakes State.

“We wanted all the students to know their rights. This also allows them to promote values, beliefs, and attitudes that encourage all individuals to uphold these rights,” he said while encouraging students to be agents of transformation.

During the sessions, the learners were empowered to develop local solutions against vices within the areas.

Samuel Gum Matrimony, said through the campaign, they would be able to make the communities realize the negative consequences of rights violations.

“Indeed, many conflicts could arise from violating a certain basic rights component. So, to eradicate such depravities, these rights are here on our table to protect us from harmful practices,” he added.

The 19-old student believes the platform was an avenue to challenge barriers – bolstering a sense of stability within the communities.

“It is timely, and we are going to stand up against violations and we champion awareness,” he concluded.

The basic rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, status or social affiliation. They include the right to life and liberty, the right to education and health.

The campaign is expected to capacitate more residents in Rumbek Centre and East counties through learning and exchange engagements.