EES MPs Urged To Help Stop Girl-Child Compensation-Healthlink South Sudan

   Press Release                 Date: 15/ 10/20 14

EES MPs Urged To Help Stop Girl-Child Compensation
The state ministry of Gender and chiefs in Eastern Equatoria State (EES) have urged their state legislators to join them in the fight against girl-child compensation, a very common form of gender based violence (GBV) in the state.
Among the Lotuho tribe, when a person is killed in a fight, a young girl from the family of the killer would be given to the family of the deceased as compensation of the dead. This practice accordingly has caused more problems than solving. “Girl-child compensation is very inhumane. Girl-child compensation should be phased out gradually or by law,” said Hon. Jane Gama Surur, the state Director for Child Welfare.
“Women’s voices should be heard because they are the first teachers in the society. You cannot see your child languishing in pain when she is being taken as compensation. This is very painful.” Torit’s paramount chief Charles Odonu and the head of chiefs in Hiyala Payam Benjamin Ohide said they have tried to minimise girl-child compensation but they need support from lawmakers and other partners in order to stop it. 
“There is no love when a girl-child is given for the killing of another person. This practice has caused a lot of problems. We want it to stop,” said Ohide. The rampant cases of GBV are attributed to the deep rooted belief  in tradition, laxity in the implementation of laws (Child Act) and laxity of legislators to sensitise their electorate on the need to end such cruel practices.“Girls’ rights are never made clear; even majority of the women still don’t know their rights. As a child, a girl should be granted all her rights so that she goes to school, she lives happily and enjoys her privileges in this world as long as she lives,” Hon. Surur appealed.
Torit County Executive Director Hon. Cyprian Michael Oling has called for renewed, collective and rigorous efforts from all stakeholders including the state lawmakers in order to reduce GBV.
In a consultative meeting with a team of Health Link South Sudan (HLSS) staff, Torit Municipality’s Mayor Martin Odeki Ohuro also decried issues of rape in his area.“Three days ago, a seven year-old girl was raped by an old man. The case is at the police. We must increase sensitisation against all forms of GBV,” said Odeki. “Domestic violence is wide spread. Our people have a culture of violence. Any slight misunderstanding leads to a fight; some wives have become so used to being beaten by their husbands that when they are not beaten, they feel unloved.”
Nevertheless, HLSS with financial support from the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), in partnership with EES state authorities, has scaled up programmes such as awareness creation, through the radio, focused group discussions, trainings and dialogue with communities leaders aimed at reducing GBV. “HLSS is scaling up access to life-saving emergency medical services such as providing post exposure prophylaxis (PEP), emergency contraception, Hepatitis B vaccinations and information collection for early warning and rapid responses,” said Dorcas Acen, HLSS’ GBV coordinator.
HLSS is a national NGO, operating in Central, Eastern Equatoria and Lakes states, providing comprehensive primary health care services and humanitarian emergency assistance.
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