Given that many members of the South Sudan police force are former soldiers, serious gaps remain in the concept of public security and the role of law enforcement in creating secure communities in South Sudan. Tensions remain between members of civil society organizations and the police stemming from confrontational approaches that both sides have adopted during the transition to democracy.
This program started in Juba and several other states in 2011 and established regular police-community dialogue series in local communities to help manage tensions and establish regular structured contact between security officials and civil society actors. In the upcoming year it will expand to other areas.
This project aims to enhance communication and trust between the police and civil society, which will be extremely valuable in preventing violence and promoting a peaceful transformation to democracy. USIP's local partners continue to institutionalize regular structured dialogues between police and civil society organizations influential in their communities. Facilitators are being identified in an attempt to cover as many of the ten states of South Sudan as possible. The project began with a joint three-day training workshop for facilitators that provided an introduction to the concept and methods of facilitated dialogue and will draw on lessons and examples from the 2011 dialogues. Facilitators then return to their local communities to begin the process of monthly dialogues with selected participants from the police and civil society. Subsequent meetings will focus on key community issues identified by consensus. Ultimately, these meetings aim to build trust and manage tension during times of particular social stress.
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