UNDP Country Director Statement at the Official Launch of the Crime Statistics Report
Honourable General Alison Monani Magaya, Minister of Interior,
Honourable John Jok Luk Jok, Minister of Justice,
Honourable General Acuil Tito Madut, Inspector General of Police,
Mr. Fred Yiga, Police Commissioner, UNPOL,
Mr. Jimson Losuk, Director of the Crime Investigation Department,
Mr. Takeshi Akamatsu, Government of Japan,
Senior Government Officials,
Representatives of the International Community,
On behalf of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Toby Lanzer and UNDP, I am honoured to be here at the launch of this important knowledge product, detailing crime trends and statistics in the Republic of South Sudan.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Government, and in particular the South Sudan National Police Service and the Ministry of Interior, for their tremendous efforts leading up to the publication of these reports. These efforts demonstrate that, even with the challenges the new Republic has experienced in the first year of its Independence, there is a progress, commitment and determination to community security, rule of law and peace.
At a cursory glance, statistics may appear to be somewhat abstract, and may not seem like a critical priority for the Government at a time when there are so many pressing challenges. I cannot overemphasize, however, the importance that robust and credible statistical data plays in fostering the rule of law in South Sudan.
Reliable statistical information helps the development of the new nation in at least three crucial ways:
First, statistics provide a solid base of evidence on crime and living conditions across the country, which enables analysis of the key challenges people are facing, whether in terms of security, law enforcement, access to justice or the ability to live without fear. Statistics tell us, for instance, that crime has a disproportionate impact on women. They tell us that the rates of misappropriation, trespassing and kidnapping have increased by over 100% in the last six months, while murder and theft have declined. They also tell us where in the country risk is greatest, for example cattle raiding is highest in Jonglei state while overall crime is higher in the Equatorias and the Nile region, yet is quite low in the Bahr el Ghazal region.
Second, statistics provide a sound basis for dialogue on policies, decision making on the allocation of resources and the targeting of crime prevention and response mechanisms. They enable us to develop informed strategies and ensure that planning is based on evidence. They help us to determine what communities need most to live peacefully, and where our citizens require protection. In these times of austerity and limited resources, it is crucial for all of us to target scarce resources in the most effective way.
Third, statistics can, when appropriately managed over time, enable the Government and development partners to track the progress of our rule of law programmes and understand if crime prevention and response mechanisms are working to advance the safe and peaceful communities for the people of South Sudan. Evidence on impact is essential to ensure that Government and its development partners can be held accountable – both to the citizens of South Sudan, and to the citizens of donor countries.
Moreover, it is commendable that the Government is beginning this data collection and analysis early on. Having this type of information will enable the Government to protect its’ citizens and foster secure communities – you cannot have development or growth without peace. High crime and a lack of prevention or response mechanisms can influence socioeconomic tensions in society that will leave families and communities vulnerable to the culture of violence.
Honourable colleagues, I would like to recognize a number of partners, including the Minister of Interior, Honourable General Alison Monani Magaya for his strong commitment and vision. The leadership and guidance from Inspector General Acuil Tito Madut and the active participation of the state police commissioners was instrumental in the collection of these statistics. We must also acknowledge the presence of Mr. Takeshi Akamatsu, who is representing the Government of Japan; without their generous support this project would not have been possible. UNDP appreciates the guidance from our former colleague and current UNPOL commissioner, Dr. Fred Yiga. In addition, let me recognise our partner UNWOMEN, who has committed to assisting the Police Service in developing a Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) strategic framework for South Sudan to address the disproportionate impact of crime on women.
UNDP is committed to supporting the work of the Ministry of Interior and the South Sudan National Police Services in building a peaceful and safe South Sudan. We have supported MOI, the National Police Service and fellow law enforcement partners with infrastructure support, training for police officers, establishment of Special Protections Units, renovation of police and prison facilities, and the development of a strategic plan.
Our strategy has also included co-locating experienced, law enforcement advisors across the ten states to provide technical and strategic support. These law enforcement advisors, in partnership with the state police commissions worked to collect the data in a timely and reliable manner at the county, payam and boma levels. These crimes statistics reports reiterate UNDP’s commitment to MOI, MOJ and the SSNPS to ensure that our development, security and rule of law programmes are better targeted towards the pressing challenges being faced by the people of the new nation.
In closing, let me once again congratulate the Ministry of Interior and the South Sudan National Police Services for these notable achievements, and strongly encourage Government and development partners to use these products for planning, decision making, and monitoring of rule of law and community security programmes in South Sudan.
With shared commitment to doing so, we can ensure that these statistics will be translated into sound policies and programmes that will enable people to invest in their communities, live without fear and work together to building a peaceful, democratic, just and prosperous South Sudan. Thank you.