Juba, South Sudan, June 05, 2021 – The Minister of Gender and Social Welfare Aya Benjamin Warile has blamed some cultural values and societal norms for continuous gender-based violence in South Sudan.
Warile said some harmful cultural practices have continued to undermine women’s and girls’ rights to sexual and reproductive healthcare in the country.
Speaking at the state of the world population report 2021, an event organized by the United Nations Population Fund, Warile said lack of legislation on gender-based violence contributed negatively to the welfare of women and girls resulting in rampant forced and early marriage.
“I would like to note that, certain cultural practices are deeply rooted in the notion that keeps our girls and boys different and is harmful in every sense of the law. They have had a devastating impact on girls,” said Warile.
The event was organized by the United Nations Population Fund in collaboration with the University of Juba and Sabab-Le- Sabab on Friday at the Dambesh Hotel in Juba.
The state of world population report highlights protracted harmful practices that deny women and girls equal rights to self-determination under the theme “My body is my own”.
It aims at creating awareness to societies, government, and parents of the importance of girls’ autonomy and self-determination.
It also aims to prevent forced and girl child marriage, promote girls’ right to unhindered free sexual and reproductive healthcare that grants them opportunities to education and choose their own partners at maturity.
“This came at the right time when the national parliament prepares to embark on legislate laws and policies that will guarantee men and women the power to make choices,” the Minister added.
Mary Otieno, the UNPF Country Representative said the world was witnessing a widening gap in equal opportunities with only a few percent of the total world population of women share rights enjoyed by men.
“Only 55 percent of women are fully empowered to make choices over health care, contraception, and ability to say yes or no,” said Ms. Otieno.
Dr. Albino Bol, the Minister of Youths, Culture and Sports said efforts were underway to ensure women and girls of South Sudan have equal rights and be empowered to become self-reliant as deterrents to early and forced marriages.