Nov 1st, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — the National Alliance of Women Lawyers (NAWL), a group of South Sudan Women’s Coalition, calls on the Government of South Sudan to end the auctioning of the girl child and stop forced Marriages in South Sudan
“While the country celebrates the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS). the National Alliance of Women Lawyers (NAWL). a member of the South Sudan Women’s Coalition (SSWC) would like to draw the attention of the Government and the general public on the heinous practice against the girl child in South Sudan” Read part of their statement.
The advocacy group was saddened to learn that a girl aged 17 was reportedly sold at an auction for 500 heads of cattle and expensive cars, a story that went viral and was shared by thousands of individuals on social media.
“We are aggrieved and saddened by the practice of auctioning the girl child for marriage. Elizabeth Nyalong. a girl believed to be under the age of 18 has been up for auction to the highest bidder in what became a social media debate and a mockery to the women of South Sudan.
The statement released by South Sudan Women’s Coalition slammed certain officials in the government saying, the worst part of this story was that some political post holders in the government were also seen competing over the highest best bidder.
“To our dismay, some of the bidders had been identified as men holding high profile constitutional posts in the current government of South Sudan. Lt’t’orts have been made to reach the family of Elizabeth Nyalong but unfortunately this has not yield any results. We understand that negotiations are underway and the family is expected to make a final conclusion on the best bid for this degrading marriage” they statement said.
The women’s group pointed out that the practice is a flagrant violation of girl child rights in South Sudan.
“This practice is a gross human rights violation and a violation of the rights of a child. It does not only deprive the girl child from [of] Education and limit her future opportunities in life, but also increases the risk of violence, jeopardize[s] her health, reduces the girl child to a property and deprives her from [of] the right to choose” the statement said.
Adding that, “The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. Article 17 and CEDAW Article 19 both condemn inhuman and degrading cultural and traditional practices against the girl child and women in general. This practice is also prohibited in the South Sudan Child Act (2008). the Convention on the right of Child (2013) and based on the above traineworks. the South Sudan Government has committed to abolish such negative traditional practices through its recently launched Strategic National Action Plan on ending child marriage and other negative cultural and traditional practices against the girl child”.
In the statement extended to Nyamilepedia, the National Alliance of Women Lawyers (NAWL), stated that, the case of this under aged girl serves as a real eye opener, that shows that, South Sudan’s young girls are going through one of the most startling situations.
“The case of Elizabeth Nyalong is not the only one, but a painful remainder of what the girl child is exposed to in South Sudan. As a women’s movement we are challenged beyond doubt that et en mth laws and legislations in place. we feel vulnerable and unprotected. 0f great concern is that time and again girls and women are being let down by the very actors who are expected to uphold and enforce the laws ofthis Country that are expected to protect their rights” they added
Finally, they group called on the government to put the following measures into perspective and take drastic measures against those who might involved in this auction
“We therefore call on the Government of the Republic of South Sudan to;
- Immediately take drastic measures against constitution post holders participating in the auction in the case of Elizabeth Nyalong and hold them to account;
- Ensure the implementation and enforcement of laws and legislature that protect the girl child country wide:
- Improve the Education Sector and ensure free access to Education for girls up to secondary school level:
- Engage community and tradition leaders to raise awareness and promote dialogue to change negative social norms and attitude towards the girl child:
- Partner with Women’s Organizations Groups and other development partners in scaling up interventions that are designed to address the challenges of the girl child in South Sudan.