A member of the British Royal Family made a historic first royal visit to South Sudan to raise awareness around the issue of gender-based violence in the country.
A press statement released by the British Embassy in Juba stated that the Countess of Wessex visited South Sudan at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
“Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex visited South Sudan at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 3 to 6 March 2020, promote the rights of women and girls and understand the impact that conflict and displacement have had on their lives,” said a statement from British Embassy in Juba.
Sophie, The Countess, is a member of the British Royal Family who champions the Women Peace and Security agenda internationally.
Her recent visits to Africa include South Sudan, Kenya, and Sierra Leone.
During her visit to South Sudan, Sophie visited Malakal town in Upper Nile state, where she visited the Protection of Civilian site, and met survivors of gender-based violence, and heard about some of the many challenges they face.
“Her Royal Highness discussed the impact of the conflict and displacement on women and girls in Malakal, and heard about some of the many challenges they face, including insecurity, sexual violence, and domestic violence,” the statement said.
Sophie met with women political leaders and peacebuilders in Juba, and she delivered a speech at an event to celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday.
She also demonstrated UK support for Girls’ Education with a visit to a local school and learned about the challenges facing so many in the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Sophie also visited UK military personnel deployed in Malakal in support of the UN Peacekeeping Mission.
The British Embassy statement stated: “Over the four-year deployment the UK has supported the UN through the construction of two permanent hospitals and other necessary infrastructure to allow the UN keep citizens safe at Malakal Protection of Civilian site.”
Her Royal Highness met Her Excellency Rebecca Nyandeng Garang, congratulating her on her appointment as South Sudan’s first female vice president.
Sophie and Madam Rebecca discussed how more women in South Sudan can be involved in politics and decision-making throughout their communities.
“They agreed that this is critical, and all of the parties to the revitalized peace agreement need to do more if they are to meet
their commitment to ensuring at least thirty-five percent representation of women at the national and local levels” read the statement.
The British media described Sophie, Countess of Wessex as a trusted member of the Firm and much-loved by the Queen.
She is married to Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest son Prince Edward and regularly represents the Crown.
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