Jonglei State Commemorates International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Jonglei state has celebrated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women with calls for the society to respect human rights and use girl education as a tool for development.

Jonglei To Fight Violence Against Women
Jonglei State Gender and Social Welfare Minister Rachael Anok Omot addressing the residents in Jonglei. [Jacob Achiek Jok]

By Jacob Achiek Jok

BOR, 23 November 2012 [Gurtong] – Gender Minister Rachael Anok Omot said if someone wants to stop violence then he or she need to stop violence against women and the violence will immediately stop in families.

She urged the citizens to take education seriously as a way of ending violence against women in society.

“If you educate the man you have educated one person but if you educate a woman you educate a nation because the women are the backbone of the nation,” she said.

She urged the women to be involved in positive business like hotels and not be engaged in making and selling of alcohol as it makes some men turn violent and abusive.

“We women in Jonglei state here we are behind in term of women education and we are very few in our leadership,” Anok said.

She said some cultural practices like early marriages make the women and girls lag behind and prevents them from acquiring education which is critical in the development of the nation.

“This is a global campaign happening simultaneously not only here in Jonglei and south Sudan but in the entry world, the global campaign will start today in Jonglei state and officially in the rest of the world on the 25th of November and we will run up to the 10th of December for 15 days in total,” UNHCR representative Maria Ferrante said.

“She said the celebration is to raise the awareness and to fight gender based violence which also includes men.

Maria said there are two important days in the global campaign with 25th of November as the international day for the elimination of the gender based violence, and the 10th December being the international Human Rights Day.

She said the days are very importance and are very symbolic in human rights protection.

The celebrations in Jonglei were done early as the 25 November is a resting day in South Sudan.

South Sudan marks its second International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women since Independence.

This month, the media reported that a businessman in Juba had been sentenced to 18 years in prison for rape as he was found guilty for sexually abusing a 14 year old girl. Second Magistrate, Peter Kimbio, handed down the 18 year sentence and said it should serve as a lesson to the public against committing rape.

The British Embassy in Juba welcomes the sentence and hope that it should serve as a deterrent against committing violence and rape.

Sudanese women tell of domestic violence and gender-based violence in their communities are still problems, and work across communities and governments is needed to eliminate these acts, which devastate lives and undermine development prospects.

In a research carried out by Eve Organisation and South Women Lawyers Association this year, women in South Sudan still face challenges including retrogressive traditional roles (such as early marriages for girls), low women’s literacy and limited education opportunities for women, and insecure environments.

In some rural areas, women impose early an evening curfew upon themselves for fear of either being raped or violently attacked while outside.

Ms Juma, a Teaching Assistant from the University of Juba, said that violence against women is on increase in the country. Ms Juma suggested that the increase of violence against women was related to polygamy.

"Because of polygamy, which is common in South Sudan, cases of family separation have also increased" she added.

Ms Juma added that early marriage of young girls below the age of 18 was an act of violence against women. She urged her government to quickly enact laws that regulate the minimum age of marriage, and to give girls more chance of education.

The UK government is supporting the Government of South Sudan through its Ministry of General Education and Instruction’s policy to increase girls’ participation in primary and secondary education through a £60 million programme over 6 years to help 200,000 girls directly to complete primary and secondary education, reduce drop-out rates, and improve girls’ literacy and learning performance, confidence, self-esteem and opportunities for further education and better livelihoods.

South Sudan’s true potential will be realised through education, and the strong women leaders in South Sudan’s Government prove that girl’s education and protection of rights for women are an important area for attention, not just in Juba on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, but every day of the year, in every State and County and home.

The United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The UN invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designated to raise public awareness of the problem on this day as an international observance.

Women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence, and the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden.

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