9 March 2012

South Sudan: Girls Speak Out Against Forced Marriages

Photo: http://www.un.org
Women from all over Côte d'Ivoire gather to celebrate International Women's Day.

Wau, Hundreds of girls took part in peaceful demonstration in Wau capital of Western Bahr El Ghazal State yesterday to mark the Women Day.

Their representative on their behalf called on the government of South Sudan to propagate laws that will minimize what they called forced marriages, early marriages and high demand of dowry by their parents.

Many placards written with words against all forms of human rights violation against girl child were presented to the media house in the occasion. "I am God gift to you don't sell me" read one of the placards. The occasion was to mark the international women day for the elimination of violence against women.

Nyibol Kiir Majok urged all South Sudanese people and the government to work together to protect girls from ugly traditional practices that hamper opportunities to participate equally with boys in education.

Majok called upon the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare to initiate law that will protect the interest of girls in the country. She pointed that there are some cultures that bar equal participation of women in social activities together with men.

"We are badly affected by odd cultural activities, and the government should not sleep on that matter," she said. Majok further pointed that forced and early marriages across the country need tough measure to eradicate them.

Martha Chol one of the returnee girls said that they had spent one month in South Sudan since their arrival from Sudan but they already are faced by lack of education, clean water and piece of land to settle in.

The government of South Sudan and states should work hand in hand to normalize the lives of South Sudanese returnees from Sudan by availing employment opportunities to them and encouragement of Arabic as second language after English, said Chol.

Veronica Gasim, appreciated the government 25% as women's share but urged for representation to be fulfilled in spirit and letter because women are poorly represented in the executive.

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