A new film from Young Voices in South Sudan
South Sudan is currently in the process of developing a new Constitution. Young Voices are campaigning hard to make sure that people with disabilities are included in the Constitution, and are involved in the constitutional review process. They had a very positive meeting with the Secretary General of the National Constitutional Review Commission. He has asked them to help mobilise people with disabilities so that they are involved in the process. He was very clear that disabled people would not be excluded from the Constitution.
A Young Voices member from South Sudan, William British, took part in the consultative forum on the review of the national constitution process in Eastern Equatoria State. William’s participation was particularly important as there were no other people with disabilities taking part in this consultation. The views gathered at the consultation will be used to inform the new constitution so it is vital that disability issues are raised to ensure the new constitution is inclusive of people with disabilities.
William actively participated in the discussions, and raised the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities sit on the constitutional review committee. He also requested that the new constitution stipulates a minimum percentage for the representation of people with disabilities in the South Sudan National and State Legislative Assemblies. The event was attended by a representative of South Sudan Judiciary, a representative of the State Assembly, community and religious leaders, civil society organisations and human rights activists.
The South Sudan Young Voices group plans to follow up with the organisers of the forum to ensure that William’s requests are implemented.
The UNCRPD, human rights, education, accessibility, employment, health –these are just some of the issues that South Sudan Young Voices members discuss in their regular radio talk shows. Broadcast four times a month on both private and government radio stations, the programmes continue to attract and educate audiences. Since the group was formed in 2009 they have broadcast over 170 programmes
Young Voices members in Juba, South Sudan helped to celebrate the country’s first birthday as an independent nation with a disability rights march. Heading out from a local organisation for people with visual impairments, they marched to the national celebrations in Freedom Square carrying two banners: “A Free Country for all Including the Disabled People” and “The Young Voices Congratulates the Government and the People of South Sudan for the First Celebration of the Independence Day”.
South Sudan officially separated from Sudan last year after decades of civil war. Young Voices in Juba was founded five years ago to campaign for the rights of people with disabilities during the formation and growth of the new nation.
The new minister for social development for Central Equatorial State in South Sudan promised to work with Young Voices to campaign for the rights of people with disabilities. This followed a meeting between the minister and two Young Voices members. In addition, another eight members spoke on radio programmes presented over three days to spread the message of inclusion.
The Al Musir Daily Arabic newspaper in South Sudan has given Young Voices member Raphael William Warigo a regular column in the newspaper on Wednesdays and Sundays. Planning to cover Young Voices’ activities and other issues concerning people with disabilities in the Republic of South Sudan, Raphael has published eight articles already.
Juba Young Voices has secured free airtime for the next six months, on the popular radio stations South Sudan Radio and in Junabna FM. They will use the programmes to raise awareness on disability in the community.
Human rights was the subject of training for Young Voices campaigners in Juba, South Sudan. Given by the UN Missions in Sudan, the training focused on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a unique process through which the human rights records of all UN member states are reviewed once every four years. After learning the UPR’s guidelines, the Young Voices campaigners will participate in the review process.
Young Voices groups in Liberia, Uganda, Sudan and Kenya will build their advocacy capacity with support from a grant of £80,000 over two years from Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd. The funding will support meetings, training sessions and the production of campaign materials to reach more decision makers and members of the public.