22 May 2019


Women Lawyers Petition Parliament Over Child Marriage

The National Alliance of Women Lawyers (NAWL) on Tuesday petitioned the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) demanding an end to child marriage in the country.

By Ojwe Lumara

JUBA, 22 November 2018[Gurtong]-
The National Alliance of Women Lawyers (NAWL) on Tuesday petitioned the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) demanding an end to child marriage in the country.

This comes after the women lawyers said a 17-year-old girl known as Nyalong Jalang Ngong Deng who wedded a businessman recently was auctioned by her parents.

The businessman allegedly offered over 500 cows, three V8 cars and unmentioned sum of money as dowry for the 17-yr-old girl after her family had received offers from different men prior to her give-away.

The story sparked heated debate over high bride price and child marriage in South Sudan.
“Some of the known offenders engaging in these acts of child marriage and bidding competition of girls are post holders, senior government officials and military generals across the country,” the Executive Director for NAWL Adhieu Monica said.

The Women Lawyers said despite the recently launched Strategic Action Plan to End Child Marriage in the country by 2030, South Sudan continuous to see public acts of child marriage, traditional and cultural practices against the rights of women.

The women organizations also appealed to State authorities, traditional leaders and religious leaders to implement the Strategic Action Plan to end child marriage in the country by 2030.
She said it was a disappointment to the women of South Sudan and the general public that such practices were still being practiced even when lawmakers are aware of the Child Act 2008, which deems child marriage illegal.

The First Deputy Speaker of the Transitional Legislative Assembly Timothy Tot Chol who received the petition said he was encouraged that the young women are fighting for their rights.
“I am really encouraged that at last our women are awakening because they have been used for a long time. We should go down to the communities to raise awareness,” he told the women lawyers.

He noted that the traditionalists are very strong and that they may defeat the Parliamentarians in fighting towards discouraging child marriage in the country.

The Chairperson of the Women Parliamentary Caucasus Dusman Joyce vowed that women will fight to set twenty as the legal marriage age for girls.

Dusman said the public should discourage acts which happened to Nyalong by enacting laws to sensitize citizens in the rural areas about rights of children and women.

“This is something that we condemn and we are going to stand in the parliament and make sure the marriageable age is 20 years. Girls need to go to school before marrying,” Hon Dusman said. “Men are the ones spoiling our young girls as young as their daughters. Girls are not assets but our future generation,” she added.

The women lawyers called on the Parliament, Ministry of Gender, Child and Welfare, and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to implement the existing laws and international treaties as well as punish the perpetrators of child marriage to urgently end the vice in the country.


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