You are here

Observatory Report on COVID-19 Pandemic.

LINKAGES BETWEEN COVID-19, HUMAN RIGHTS AND PEACEBUILDING  May, 2020

Abstract: This oversight observation report on the performance of the South Sudan National High level Taskforces in combating the COVID-19 pandemic is for the month of April, 2020. The third month of the national high level taskforces performance was observed as preforming up to reasonable expectations of the public. 

The national high level taskforces have done remarkable actions in creating public alerts and awareness through their regular daily communication to the public. Those communications of the national high level taskforces on daily basis have great positive impact on the public turning to observe the preventive measures for combating COVID-19 pandemic.

The most respected preventive measure among the measures by the public are hand washing and sanitizer, both borders domestic and international closure, surface disinfecting airplanes and materials in Juba international airport but social distancing was inadequate observed by the majority of the public across the country. It was observed that the slow release of state funds for the execution of the functions of the taskforce at both national and state is delaying responses such as purchase of masks and other Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for the health workers in the frontline of the fight against COVID-19.

Some private sector have played remarkable role in offering support to the national high level taskforce for accelerating execution of the functions of the national high level taskforce. The role played by the private sector was remarkable and it should continue. Finally, the current release of prison inmates with minor crimes across the country was an amazing act in line with the preventive measures of COVID-19  

  1. Observed Progress Made
  1. Regular communication to the public have increases public consciousness on the threat of COVID-19. This help extremely in making public to talk about and follow the declared preventive measures for COVID-19.
  2. The regular communications have attracted considerable assistance both financial and material to the national high level taskforce.
  3. Considerable level of transparency was observed based on the declaration of various donations received by the national high level taskforce and release of reports. More transparency is required on the utilization of public funds allocated for the combat of the COVID-19.
  4. Effectiveness observed in contacts tracing and testing of samples.
  5. The embracing production of local masks with full observation of ministry of health and World Health Organization recommended standards 
  6. Responsiveness to availed information about suspend was observed as remarkable
  7. Emphasizes with hard warnings on respect of declared preventive measures were observed as best strategy for drawing public attention   
  8. The closure of the domestic public movement among the states
  9. The release of inmates with minor crimes in the prisons across the country as preventive measure through decongestion of prisons is impressive  
  1. Shorting comes
  1. Enforcement of social distancing lacks consistency from the state authorities.
  2. Observation of the lockdown of internal travels yet requires more efforts from the state authorities
  3. Lack of declaring sites/physical locations where the four positive cases visited or have access of touching some items. This is essential for doing disaffection in the sites or location suspended of having some virus (COVID-19).
  4. State funding from central government is very slow for making the response to COVID-19 more effective and timely especially at the state levels.
  5. No availability of adequate personal protective equipment’s (PPE) to the health workers at state level
  6. The absence of political leadership at the state currently is undermining coordination efforts among state actors for effectiveness.
  7. Absence in speaking to the threat created by on-going communal and inter-communal violence across the country including some military confrontation between national Salvation Front verse Government army or SPLM-IO forces across Yei. 
  1. Urgent areas of attention
  1. Policy approach or strategy on mitigating the threat from the combination of COVID-19 restrictions, locust invasion and flood is required
  2. Act on adapting surface disinfections strategy beginning with the surface disinfections where the confirmed positive access has contact with 
  3. Central Government availing inadequate funding and especially financing states for timely and effective response to the prevention of COVID-19
  4. Urgent sharing of donations received by the central government from various good will wishers and the donor community with the states governments
  5. Enforcing and emphasizing on observation of social distancing and the night curfew need to continue till confirmation of no COVID-19 new cases    
  6. Funding the media for publication of information. If the private sector and donor community can help in cutting down funding gaps faced by printed media especially
  7. Especially consideration is requires for the vulnerable category of the social such as persons with disabilities and people living with HIV/AIDS
  8. Putting efforts for promotion of transparency in funds use and information reporting is essential
  9. There were observed isolate cases of interference by state authorities on public sensitization on COVID-19. This need to immediately stopped
  10. The national high level taskforce should urgently establish of state  website  for publication of accurate  data
  11. Armed forces in conflict should uphold the call of the United Nation Secretary General on Ceasefire currently since the society is battling with the threat of COVID-19
  12. The national high level taskforce should keep on stressing the risk of promoting hate speech, xenophobic attacks and stigmatization   
  1. The facts about the combination of COVID-19 restrictions, locust invasion and flood

An alert of a possible merging threats to human society, livestock and wildlife a results of triple shocks posed by COVID-19 restrictions, locust invasion and floods. The possible destruction will have grave impact on human society and livestock. Human society will be faced with food insecurity due to low agricultural harvest, insecurity as a results human competition over resources, health danger due to poor attention to other health priorities, and increase in crimes as results of limited opportunities for livelihood and livestock will dead from diseases. While wildlife will face threat from human need for food and income.

 The combination of COVID-19 restrictions, Locust invasion and flood requires urgent policy approach from political leadership of South Sudan. Any political leadership slow policy approach response for mitigating the threats posed by the combination of COVID-19 restrictions, locust invasion and floods will be a human, livestock and wildlife will be a disaster        

  1. Recommendations
  1. There is a need for the Juba City to provide free masks to all vegetable sellers in the markets across Juba City since the Juba City is collecting taxes from them on daily bases
  2. The private sector should continue their remarkable support for the efforts of fighting or combating COVID-19
  3. The national High Level taskforces should the importance of respecting human rights principles and standing firm on prevention of all forms of violence against women by all the actors engaged in the efforts for combating COVID-19.
  4. All the donations from external actors to the national high level taskforces should be share with the state governments
  5. There is a need to involve the persons with disabilities and people living with HIV/AIDS in the efforts for combating COVID-19
  6. There is a need for regular remainder of the public on observation of the preventive measures on COVID-19 by the taskforce
  7. High level of transparency in public fund use and reporting including fighting corrupt practices during the efforts for combating COVID-19 is required
  8. There is a need for South Sudan to take lead in calling for regional institutions (EAC, IGAD, AU) to adapt Regional Strategy for Mitigating the Combining Implication of COVID-19 Restrictions, Locust Invasion and Floods

CEPO’S ROLE 

CEPO will be amplifying the call for the National High Level Taskforce to take serious steps for observation of human rights priorities including standards for enhancement of transparency and anti-corruption during the efforts for combating COVID-19 pandemic across the country. CEPO was impressed by that the National High Level Taskforce consideration our past reports recommendations.  This is a remarkable action and a clear demonstration of counting the voices of the stakeholders and citizens. CEPO will be undertaking the following concrete actions;

  1. Advocacy for timely enactment of the proposed health bill by the national high level taskforce on COVID-19
  2. Championing call for development of national and Regional strategy for mitigating the implications of combined COVID-19 Restrictions, Locust Invasion and Flood
  3. Issue of oversight observation on state authorities and private sector compliance with transparent consideration during the efforts for combating COVID-19
  4. Advocating for development of holistic strategy for management post-COVID-19 restrictions  
  1. Conclusion

National and regional intervention strategy for mitigating the combined implications of COVID-19 restrictions, Locust Invasion and Flood is required urgently. The national high level taskforce is doing extremely commendable job on combating COVID-19 pandemic in South Sudan. More efforts are required to ensure that state political leadership is established for effective engagement on prevention of COVID-19 in the states level.

The national high level taskforces should really prioritizing funding the states level taskforces on prevention of COVID-19. In all communications of the national high level taskforce or state taskforce, it is essential to always remain the public about abolition of xenophobic attacks, hate speech, fake news or rumors mongering. Already an alarm was received on possible occurrence violation of human rights such as violence against women, domestic violence and increase in theft crimes.

This alarm should be taken serious by the national high level taskforce or state taskforce on combat of COVID-19. Finally, the national high level taskforce and state taskforce on combat of COVID-19 should exercise high level of transparency in their reporting and use of public funds.